Throwing balls toward a target is
the oldest game known to mankind. As early as 5000 B.C. the Egyptians
played a form of bocce with polished rocks. From Egypt the game made
its way to Greece around 800 B.C. The Romans learned the game from the
Greeks, then introduced it throughout their empire.
Different versions of this Roman game
evolved over the centuries. In France, the game became known as boules.
In Italy the game evolved into bocce or boccia. A different form of the
sport became known in England as lawn bowls. It was thanks to European
immigrants that bocce, lawn bowling and to a lesser extent boules came
to flourish in North America during the twentieth century.
Although many variations of this game
exist, 4 distinct styles are most common today: Volo (Lyonnaise),
Petanque, Lawn Bowls, and Raffa (Punto, Raffa e Volo). It is Raffa that
Canadians and Americans most often associate with the game of bocce.
When we speak of bocce we are referring to an open style of Raffa.
Due to its long history and
international appeal there are endless variations of how the game of
bocce is played. Some of the notable variations include:
- Surface: Grass, Clay, Sand, Snow
- Court Layout: w/ Backboard vs. w/o
Backboard vs. No Court
- Court Size
- Points in a Game
- Size and Weight of the Ball
- Ball Composition: Metal vs. Resin
- Styles of Throwing
Each of the 4 main styles that have
developed has its own international association with formal rules on
how tournament play is to be conducted. International regulation Raffa
rules are very stringent and require a specific style of court.
As the vast majority of Canadian and
American players enjoy bocce as a recreational game, we think it makes
sense to promote it as such. We therefore invite you to take a look at
the Bocce.ca rules as we think they offer a more flexible and fun
approach to the game.
Calling the Shot:
For a ‘trick’ shot, the thrower of the pallino (small white
ball) MUST call the shot. Example: ‘the ball must go off the
obstacle (tree) or it must go over the obstacle (log).’ All the
following balls must use the same route. However if the player throwing
the pallino does not call the shot the following players may use any
route to get their balls closest.
Turns of Play:
- After the first player throws the
pallino and their first ball, they step aside and his team does not
roll again until the opposing team has either gotten one of its bocce
balls closer to the pallino or has thrown all of its balls.
- The team that scores last throws
the pallino to begin the next frame.
- Each player must play 2 balls each
(no specified order).
- Only the "inside" team scores.
- One point is given for each ball
of the inside team that is closer to the pallino than any ball of the
opposing team and a 2 point bonus is given for any balls TOUCHING the
- The team who is first to reach 12
points wins the game.
All measurements should be made from the inside dimensions of the bocce
ball to the inside dimension of the pallino.
Boccistica Internazionale (Raffa-Bocce)
United States Bocce Federation
(Raffa-Bocce)Federation Internationale de Boules (Volo)
Federation International de
Petanque et Jeu Provencal (Petanque)