It’s summertime and you’re packing up the RV for a fun weekend of camping. There’s always a lot to pack.
Camping chairs ✓
Hot dog roasting sticks ✓
S’mores fixins ✓
Lawn games _____
Fun lawn games are a MUST when camping. Just picture it: You get a roaring fire going, crack open some sodas and brewskis, and play a friendly game of lawn darts, cornhole, or hillbilly golf at your campsite. Games that pit parents against kids or put siblings on opposite teams are always great for a silly, lively competition. Another fun camping game is Bocce Ball.
Bocce Ball has been around since ancient Roman times, with people playing in churches, castles, and even in the city streets. It was originally played with rocks and even coconuts. It has evolved quite a bit since then and it is now played with metal or composite balls. The game consists of players or teams rolling their bocce balls down the court and trying to get as close as possible to the pallino (see below). Strategizing is a big part of Bocce Ball! It isn’t all about just giving your ball a toss down the court. You can aim at your opponent’s balls to try to knock them further from the pallino and to bounce yours off of theirs to redirect your roll toward the pallino.
Setting up a Bocce Ball court is easy. Just find a level area and create a court that measures about 13’ W x 90’ L. Use sticks, long pieces of wood, or even poles to create the boundaries of the rectangular court. The balls are rolled within this court. Mark a fault line outside of the court (on either end) that all players must stay behind when rolling their balls. Your court is ready! Let’s play Bocce Ball!
What You Need:
A Bocce Ball set that consists of:
8 colored balls (four balls in two different colors, or balls with one stripe vs. two stripes); regulation size has a diameter of 4.2” and a weight of about 2 lbs.
1 smaller ball (called the “pallino” or “jack”)
Bocce ball can be played by 2 single players (opponents) or by opposing teams of 2, 3, or 4. More than 4 players on a team means that not each player will get to throw a ball.
How to Play:
- Flip a coin to determine which player/team will roll out the pallino for the first round. Leave the pallino where it lands for the whole frame. Only other bocce balls can touch it.
- The player rolling the pallino must stand behind the fault line. The pallino must be rolled past the center (halfway mark) of the court in order for it to be good. If it isn’t rolled past the center of the court, the other player/team gets a chance to roll the pallino past the center mark. If you wish, you can set a regulator pin (an acorn, pine needles, or any other small things laying around your campsite) in the center of the court so that it is clearly marked.
- The player/team that rolls out the pallino will roll out the first bocce ball. Standing behind the fault line, the player tries to get their bocce ball as close to the pallino as possible. If it happens to roll outside of the court, they get another turn until it is successfully put into play. This is the only time that a ball can be re-thrown after it has left the court.
- A player from the other team now rolls out one of their bocce balls.
- Now there are 2 bocce balls on the court with the pallino (one from each team). The team whose bocce ball is further from the pallino will roll their 3 remaining balls (one at a time) down the court in hopes of getting as close to the pallino as possible.
- Once all 3 balls have been rolled by a player/team, the other player/team will roll their 3 remaining balls toward the pallino. At the end of the round, all 8 bocce balls should be on the court along with the pallino.
- Count up the points (see below).
- Once points have been tallied, start play for the next frame at the other end of the court. Play will go in the opposite direction on the court.
- Determine which player/team will roll out the pallino by flipping a coin.
- Repeat the above steps for playing another frame.
- Play continues until a team reaches 16 points. This can be adjusted to any point total (15 pts, 21 pts, etc.).
How to Keep Score:
- The player/team that has the closest ball to the pallino gets all the points. The other team doesn’t get any points for this frame.
- 1 point= for each bocce ball that is closer to the pallino than the opponent’s closest ball
- 2 points= for a bocce ball that is touching the pallino, sometimes called “kissing” or “baci” balls
- 0 points= for balls that are the same distance from the pallino as the opponent’s closest ball
- At the end of the frame, tally the points and write them down on a white board or piece of paper.