Bocce Ball for Backyards

Bocce Ball for Backyard Fun

Usually Bocce ball is played on a designated area that is 60 feet by 12 feet. However, since we are playing in the backyard, we will go through the rules and you can adjust according to your space available. This is a great lawn game for any age.

A Bocce ball set will have 8 balls and one smaller ball called a pallina or jack ball. The game will be played with two teams and the number of balls per player will be determined by how many players make up a team. For instance, if you have one player per team, they will have four balls to roll, if there are two players per team they will each have two balls and if they play teams of four members, they each get one ball to roll.


The object of the game is to roll your team’s bocce balls to end up closest to the pallina ball. Flip a coin or play rock-paper-scissors to determine who will go first. The winner of the coin flip or R-P-S, will throw or roll the pallina ball and then have honors to roll one of their bocce balls first. Since they are considered to be closest after they roll their first ball, the next team rolls their bocce ball(s) until they are closer to the pallina ball than the first team. Once closer to the pallina ball they stop rolling their bocce balls and the first team to roll goes until they have rolled one closer than their opponent or are out of bocce balls . This continues until all bocce balls have been rolled.

It is legal to hit an opponent’s ball or the pallina ball while rolling your ball, in fact that tends to make the game more interesting. It is also required that the bocce balls be rolled underhand.


Scoring is added up when all the bocce balls have been rolled. Only one team will get points per frame. The team’s bocce ball closest to the pallina or jack ball will get one point for each of their bocce ball(s) that is closer than the opponents the closest ball. The team that had the point(s) will then start the next frame by throwing the pallina ball and being the first to roll a bocce ball.

The game is played to 16 points or whatever score the teams agree on before the start of the game.


Some variations to the game may include playing with a foul line, a minimum or maximum distance that the pallina ball must travel. You may want to have a tournament and each team will get to play against other teams.


If you can win the coin toss or rock-paper-scissors, you have the advantage of rolling the first bocce ball, which allows you to use only one ball to be the closest. If you find the opponent closer to the pallina ball you may want to aim for knocking them out of the way with your next roll or you can make an aggressive roll and try to hit the pallina ball towards a ball that you previously rolled that had gone beyond the target.


Bocce ball sets can vary greatly in the cost and quality. Some sets are made of poly-resin and tend to be lighter weight and of a less quality than those made out of resin. It is nice to check out the carrying case so that you have a sturdy, long-lasting one, and may even be water resistant. The cost may range from about $25 up to a $200. Of course the higher cost is going to be of high quality and designed for legal play. The price will usually indicate what you will get for your money, so if you want it to last longer you may want to find a set that is priced at least between $40-$60.




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