Guide to Backyard Bocce Ball Rules

The party's nearly ready to kick off, but one of the guests has never played bocce ball. No problem! Explaining backyard bocce ball rules is as easy as tossing a ball. Use this quick guide to teach rules for this fun backyard game.

Teamwork on the Court
For the backyard version, at least two, but no more than four, players comprise a team. Two teams compete at a time. Clear a large area for the court. Typically, the court measures 12 feet wide by 76 feet long. In the backyard version, mark off a court that fits in the available space or play without a court.

Rules Worth Following

  • The game is played with eight large balls. Each ball is a specific color.
  • To open play, a team or player tosses a smaller ball known as the jack or pallino from one side of the court into an area that ends about two meters from the other end of the court.
  • If the jack misses the region, the team may try again. If the jack doesn't land in the region a second time, the other team can put the jack anywhere in the region.
  • Only underhand tosses are allowed.
  • The team that threw the pallino rolls first.
  • After the first bowl, the other team bowls.
  • From this point, the team whose team is farther from the jack bowls until one of the sides has used all four balls.
  • Now, the opposition bowls.
  • A team may elect to knock out an opponent's ball.
  • The team that lands a bocce ball near the jack scores points for that frame.
  • The game can be played to 11, 12 or 13 points. Usually, the score cap is determined by region.

An outdoor game of bocce ball is a fun addition to a party. Set up a court and teach your party guests to play by the rules.

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