THE OFFICIAL RULES OF BOCCE
There are 13 sections to the rules. To view any section, simply double click on the section name.
A. Beginning the Round
2. Selecting Throwing Team and Starting End for the First Round. The loser of the Morra (or toss) chooses the starting end for throwing and designates the team that has the right to throw the Pallino for the first Giro.
3. Selecting Bocci Colors, Throwing Team and Starting End After The First Round. When two teams of unequal Round records meet, the team with the weaker record has the first choice of Bocce colors, starting end for throwing, and designates the team that has the right to throw the Pallino first. (Note: This rule is intended to display the compassionate side of Bocce in which the underdog is given every opportunity for advantage. Of course, any of these rights may be graciously transferred to the opposing team.)
2. Winning A Giro. In each Giro, one point is counted for each team Bocce closer to the Pallino than any Bocce of the opposing team. A Bocce leaning on the Pallino (a Baci) is scored 2 points. Two Bocci of opposing teams equal distance from the Pallino cancel each other out and no additional points are scored for Bocci beyond them.
C. Bocce Court Parameters
2. Boundary Lines Defined. Boundary lines are marked as follows (see Attachment #1): Sidelines are approximately one foot in from the Boards on each side of the court; Back lines are across each court end approximately one foot from the Boards; Pitch lines and Volo lines cross the court from side to side up to the Boards.
3. Line Requirements for Throwers. The pitch line is the line behind which a player must throw the Pallino and Bocce for Punto and Raffa shots. Volo throws must be executed behind the Volo line. Players may stand in the out-of-bounds area to throw as long as their feet are inside the Boards and completely behind the respective throwing lines.
4. The Inbounds Area Defined. The area inside the sidelines and back lines define the court’s perimeter. The rectangle defined on each end of the court by the back line, side lines and Pitch line define the “inbounds” area of play (see Attachment #1). Points are only scored by Bocci legally seated in this area. All Bocci not so seated are immediately removed. The Pallino must be seated inbounds.
5. Inbounds/Out-of-Bounds Bocce.
a. When Throwing A Bocce. The movement of a Bocce through an out-of-bounds area is legal; but if it touches the boards or is not seated in the “inbounds” area, it is removed (lost).
b. Displaced Bocce – Legal Throw. All Bocce displaced by a legal throw and seated out of bounds or that have touched the Boards are lost. All Bocci seated in the inbounds area are left in place.
c. Displaced Bocce – Illegal Throw. All Bocci displaced by an illegal throw, regardless of where they are seated or whether they have struck the boards, are returned to their marked location. (But see the Rule of Advantage, Section I, for an exception.) Any such Bocci not marked are lost.
d. Bocce Striking The Boards. If a Bocce strikes the Boards, it is lost immediately and any subsequent ball movement is disregarded.
e. Inbounds Limit. If any part of a Bocce is inside the boundary line, the Bocce is considered inbounds.
6. Inbounds/Out-of-Bounds Pallino.
a. When Throwing the Pallino. The boundary rules for throwing the Pallino are covered in Section D.1.b.
b. Displaced Pallino – Legal Bocce Throw. When the Pallino is displaced during a legal Bocce throw, if it is seated inbounds, even if first knocked out-of-bounds or into the Boards, it is left in place. If it is seated out-of-bounds, it is restored to its marked place. (But see the Special Volo Rule, Section E.4.e. for an exception).
c. Displaced Pallino – Illegal Bocce Throw. If the Pallino is displaced during an illegal Bocce throw, and is seated out-of-bounds, it is restored to its marked place. If it is seated inbounds, even if first knocked out-of-bounds or into the Boards, it is restored to its marked place unless The Rule of Advantage (Section I) is invoked.
d. Inbounds Limit. If any part of a Pallino is inside the boundary line, the Pallino is considered inbounds.
D. The Giro
a. For the first Giro, a member of the throwing team as chosen in Section A. above throws the Pallino. For each succeeding Giro, the team earning points is the winner and the opposing team becomes the throwing team for the next Giro.
b. The Pallino must be thrown from behind the Pitch Line. The Pallino can move through an out-of-bounds area, but, to be legal, it must not strike the Boards en route and must stop within the inbounds rectangle.
c. If the throwing team fails to legally seat the Pallino, the opposing team becomes the throwing team. If this team also fails, the Pallino is turned over to the Referee who will seat the Pallino. The original throwing team then resumes its standing and throws the first Bocce.
d. Team members must alternate in the throw of the Pallino and the team member seating the Pallino must throw the first Bocce.
2. Order of Throwing
a. The player successfully seating the Pallino throws the first Bocce. The failure of the first Bocce to stop inbounds gives the next throw to the opposing team, and so on in rotation until a Bocce stops inbounds. This Bocce becomes the “point” Bocce.
b. Once a team establishes a point Bocce, it is “in,” and the opposing team becomes the throwing team. This team throws its Bocci until it makes the point (seats a Bocce closer to the Pallino than any Bocce of the “in” team) or uses up all of its Bocci.
c. If the throwing team knocks all Bocci out of bounds, the opposing team becomes the throwing team.
d. Each team member must throw two Bocci, but the order of play is the choice of the team and is variable for each Giro.
e. In any two succeeding Giro, each member of a team must throw two Bocci within the same Giro (i.e., no switching ends during a Round).
E. Rules For Bocce Throws
2. Punto – Thrower is trying to make the point.
a. The Bocce must be directed toward the Pallino with the objective of scoring a point.
b. The Bocce must strike the ground before the Volo line closest to the Pallino.
c. The thrower is not required to strike any Bocce but, if he does, rules E.2.d. and E.2.e. apply.
d. If the Pallino is struck first, the throw is legal, and the Pallino or any other Bocce can be displaced any distance.
e. If a Bocce is struck first, the throw is legal provided no Bocce and/or the Pallino is displaced more than a “stick” length (15 inches) from its previous seat.
3. Raffa – A throw aimed at a particular target Bocce.
a. The target Bocce can be that of the thrower’s or the opposing team and must be called. The thrown Bocce must be directed toward the target Bocce and must strike the ground before the Volo line closest to the target.
b. The thrower is not required to strike any Bocce or the Pallino, but if he does, rules E.3.c. and E.3.d. apply.
c. If the target Bocce is struck first, the throw is legal and the Pallino or any Bocce can be displaced any distance.
d. If a non-target Bocce is struck first, the throw is legal provided no Bocce is displaced more than a stick length (15 inches) and the Pallino is not displaced directly or indirectly.
4. Volo – An aerial throw aimed at any target ball.
a. The target can be a Bocce of the thrower’s or the opposing team or the Pallino; the target must be called. The thrower’s Bocce must be directed at the target and must strike the ground beyond the Volo line closest to the target.
b. A Volo must strike the target ball first, or make its mark within one stick length (15 inches) of the target. If the Volo meets this requirement but lands out of bounds, the throw is legal as long as the Volo does not hit the boards before making its mark.
c. A Volo is not required to strike any Bocce or the Pallino.
d. If the throw is legal, any Bocce and/or the Pallino can be displaced any distance.
e. Special Volo Rule. The specific provisions of this rule supersede any conflicting rules and apply when the Volo target is a Bocce seated within 15 inches of the Pallino (as measured from the edge of the Pallino to the edge of the target Bocce). If the target is not struck, and the Volo throw is legal, the thrower has the option of (i) leaving the Pallino in place (if it was not displaced) (ii) placing the Pallino in its previous location (if it was displaced), (iii) leaving the Pallino in its new legally seated location (see C.6.b.), or (iv) placing the Pallino in the location of the target, which is then removed.
5. Intentional Grounding. Thrower must throw every Bocce with the objective of scoring or improving the team’s position in that Giro. Intentional grounding is a foul.
In a risk situation (such as when the throwing team can win or lose the Giro on the basis of the throw), a Bocce that never goes inbounds, or the incurrence of a foul resulting in the forfeiture of the thrower’s Bocce, is presumed to be Intentional Grounding unless a convincing argument is made to the Referee.
The Referee has the final say in an intentional grounding call and, in making this judgment, he will evaluate the quality of the throw compared to the player’s previous performance.
6. Foot Fault. A foot fault occurs when the thrower’s foot is beyond the legal throwing line (Pitch line or Volo Line) when the Bocce leaves his hand.
F. Making Bocce and Pallino
G. Delay of the Game and Timeouts
2. Throwing Time Limit. An individual player has 30 seconds to throw. A delay beyond this time limit causes the Bocce about to be thrown to be forfeited unless the Referee allows the team to take one of its timeouts for the Round.
3. Timeouts. A team may call a “timeout” at any time during a Giro. Each team is entitled to three timeouts of two minutes each in every Round. The Referee keeps time. The Referee can call timeouts at any time.
H. Fouls and Related Penalties
2. Delay of Game – Exceeding Timeout Limit. See Section G.3.
Penalty: Offending team loses its Bocce closest to the Pallino at the end of the then-active Giro. This penalty is repeated for each succeeding violation within the Round.
3. Disorderly Conduct. Penalty: Referee discretion.
4. Foot Fault. See Section E.6. P: The thrower’s Bocce is forfeited and the throw is illegal. (Referee can waive this penalty on a first violation, especially with a Rookie.)
5. Intentional Grounding. See Section E.5. Penalty: Removal of the team’s Bocce closest to the Pallino.
6. Marking Failure – Bocci. Failure to mark or inadequate marking of a Bocce that has to be restored to its seat. See Section F. Penalty: Bocce from unmarked seat is lost.
7. Marking Failure – Pallino. Failure to mark or inadequate marking of a Pallino that has to be restored to its seat. See Section F. Penalty: Pallino is replaced by the opposing team using their best judgment as to the approximate previous location.
8. Psychological Interference. Players must remain still during a throw and not disturb the thrower.
Penalty: Referee may call a foul and designate an appropriate penalty at any time on this matter.
9. Physical Interference. Bocce strikes a player or is moved or touched illegally by a player. Penalty: Referee discretion.
10. Illegal Throws. This involves a violation of The Rules of Bocce Throws defined in Section E, Subsections 1 through 4. Penalty: All marked Bocci and the Pallino are returned to their previously marked positions and the thrower’s Bocce is lost.
11. Throwing Bocce Out of Order. See Section D.2. Penalty: All marked Bocci and the Pallino are returned to their previously marked positions and the thrower’s Bocce is lost.
12. Throwing The Pallino Out of Order. See Section D.1.
A. If the incorrect individual within the proper throwing team throws the Pallino, to incur a penalty the foul must be recognized by the Referee prior to the opposing team throwing their first Bocce.
Penalty: Right to throw the Pallino moves to the opposing team.
B. If the incorrect team throws the Pallino, to incur a penalty the foul must be recognized by the referee prior to the team with the right to throw the Pallino throwing their first Bocce.
Penalty: Team committing the foul loses one point and the correct team throws the Pallino.
13. Throwing the Wrong Color Bocce. Penalty: Throw is illegal. The Bocce is returned to the opposing team, and the thrower’s team forfeits a Bocce. Referee decides which Bocce is lost.
I. The Advantage Rule
All Bocci remain as positioned after the error, including Bocci knocked out-of-bounds or having struck the boards, which are lost.
A Pallino seated out-of-bounds is replaced into its previously marked location.
A Pallino seated inbounds, even if previously knocked out-of-bounds and off the Boards, is left in place.
(NOTE: If this rule is invoked after a Bocce of the wrong color is thrown, the Bocci in play are presumed to belong to the team of appropriate color.)
J. Referee Prerogatives
1. A warning to the player or team.
2. An admonishment of the player or team.
3. An annulment of one or more Bocci.
4. An annulment of the right to pitch the Pallino.
5. An annulment of the Giro in progress.
6. A definitive expulsion of one or more players.
K. Administrative Rules
2. Warm-Up and Practice. Between Rounds, only players changing courts and playing the next Round may warm up, and this warm up is limited to one practice Giro for each team.
3. Measurements. Measurements for “Points” are taken from the center of the Pallino to the edge of the Bocce being measured. All other measurements are taken from the center of each ball (center of the mark).
4. Substitution of Players. Once the competing teams are constituted, substitution of players is not permitted. Replacement of a player is permitted for illness or injury certified by the Bocce Doc. If approved, the replacement player must be chosen by the team.
5. Artificial Aids. Use of artificial aids (manmade) to assist the players is not permitted without the advance approval of the Bocce Doc.
L. Supplemental Rules for a Five-Man Team
1. Duties of the Coach. When a team has a fifth member, one member shall be the coach. His duties will be established by the team members and may be as follows:
a. Designate the player for the Morra.
b. Call the strategy of the Giro and the proper throw. L. 1.
c. Call the order of play during the Giro.
d. Interface with the referee and the opposing team coach on any disputes.
e. Speak for the team on any official releases.
f. Replace a player who is ill or injured.
a. The Bocce may be thrown at any time before the end of each Giro, but is not required to be thrown at all.
b. Rules governing all other Bocce throws apply.
c. If the Fifth Ball is not thrown in a Giro, it is lost for that Giro only.
d. Only four Bocci for each team may be used for scoring.
e. The Referee may deny the use of the fifth Bocce as a penalty for an infraction of any of the rules of The Tournament.
3. Replacing The Coach. If, because of injury or other justified reason, a team is short a coach, the team captain may designate one of the players to be coach with all the attendant rights, duties and responsibilities. In the event a coach becomes a replacement player, he also retains his rights, duties, and responsibilities as coach.
M. The Full Team Giro
<strong>1. A Giro in which each player on the competing teams throw only one Bocce.
2. Four Bocce must be thrown and the coach is not permitted to throw.
3. Order of play is determined in accordance with Section A.3.
4. The coach seats the Pallino.
5. All other official rules apply.</strong>