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Bocce Ball League Rules

Last updated:  2022 Feburary

    Updated Rules:

  • 2/1/2022 SUB RULE CHANGE = Any team using a sub for EOS playoffs/tournaments will not be allowed to advance beyond their initially scheduled game; their opponent will automatically advance regardless of the games results
 - BSR conditionally allows subs to play; if your team needs a sub one night be sure to read rules below in the rules  



Traditional bocce ball is a social activity—so have fun! These rules are not set in stone. If both teams can agree on tweaking a rule during the regular season, go for it. For example, if your team can’t find a legal team for any reason, your opponent can choose to let your team play anyway, instead of forfeiting.   The goal is to have fun and socialize!


Participating players

  • Each team must have at least 2 players in the game at a time; players arriving late can only join in at the start of a new frame.
  • If a team’s opponent isn’t able to come up with a legal team of 2 players at the start of the game, the complete team will be awarded a win every 17 minutes after the scheduled start time until the other team is complete and ready to play. (Max 3 wins, resulting in 9 points)



  • You can have as many players as you want on your roster, but the minimum number of players is 6.
  • Additional players, including players who register as free agents, can be added to the roster anytime until the third week of the season.
  • Captains are responsible for the conduct of teams. This means they’ll need to make sure all players are legal and conform to league play standards.
  • Teams caught with illegal players or subs will lose all games for that night.
    • If this happens twice, that team will be excluded from the playoffs.
  • All players must meet league player requirements. (FAQ - League Information - Player Requirements)
  • All players must wear their league tshirts to participate. (FAQ - League Information - What if I paid late and have not received a league tshirt or forget my league tshirt one night?)
  • From time to time for various reasons players may become upset and curse, complain, and more.  When this occurs, our staff will respond and take actions from issuing a warning, to taking a time out, up to ejecting a player form the game.  For more info reference our FAQ. (FAQ - League Information - Ejections)
  • Team captains can request the referee for a roster check on thier opponents.  The roster check must be requested before the game begins.  Exception: a player who showed up and joined in after the game began, in this case the team captain needs to request the check when that new player first enters the game.





















When playing





* BSR recommends playing 4 players per game (2 on each side; each throwing 2 balls)


Equipment & Field Setup

  • All equipment will be provided by Be Social Richmond
  • Each game, you’ll be given a pallino ball, 8 colored bocce balls, tape measures, and score sheets.
    • Pallino ball: the little white ball tossed first to start the game and the object all other balls are rolled toward.
    • Each team will be provided 4 balls of a single color.


League Scoring, Standings, and Seeding


Regular season

  • Each season will last 7 weeks, PLUS playoffs.
  • During the regular season, teams will play 3 games with each game capped at 17 minutes; each game played to 10+ points.  (a 2 minute warning will be given 15 minutes into the games)
  • Game wins = points  (Teams are awarded 3 points for a win, 1 point for a tie, and 0 points for a loss)
  • Seeding details this multi-game per night sport can be found in the FAQ (FAQ - League Information - How are standings calculated for the regular season?)


  • Teams will play 3 frames. (The third frame is only played if the first 2 frames are split.)
  • If your team has multiple forfeits or is caught using players that are not on your roster, you may be excluded from playoffs.
  • Playoff brackets are customized each season, and typically follow single elimination.


Game Rules

  • Team captains can choose to either negotiate which team tosses the pallino first, or they can flip a coin.
    • In the playoffs, the team with the higher seed gets their first choice.
  • Teams will alternate which team tosses the pallino at the beginning of a frame. Teams should also alternate which end of the field the pallino is tossed from.
  • Players for each team on each side of the Bocce pit must throw in the same order each game and must throw the same number of balls for that game
    EXAMPLE:  a team starts 3 players on one side.  If the 1st player throws 1 ball, the 2nd player throws 1 ball, and the 3rd player throws 2 balls; that order and # of balls must remain for that game but can change for future games.
  • No one is to be on the court except the individual throwing the bocce or pallino.
  • Players on the throwing side shall not pass the white throwing line until all 8 balls have been thrown.
  • Players on the non-throwing side may not walk in the field of play until all 8 balls have been thrown, but they are allowed to walk on the sides and provide guidance to their teammates.
  • A ball thrown out of order that doesn't hit any other ball will be picked up and removed from that round.  (not rethrown)
  • A ball thrown out of turn that hits any other ball will result in that round being over and 3 points awarded to the other team.

* Both team should agree on the points scored that round before any of the balls are moved.


Game Play and Pit

  • For each frame, the pallino and all 8 balls will be thrown.
  • To win, you need to get more of your team’s balls closer to the pallino than the other team.
  • Only one team can score per frame.
    • If the closest ball from both teams is the same distance from the pallino, then no team will score any points for that frame.

Example: if at the end of a frame there are 3 balls for team A closer to the pallino than the closest ball for team B, then Team A receives 3 points.  A maximum of 4 points are possible per frame.

  • A team is awarded a win when one team accumulates 10+ points.
  • Each game will start with the pallino being tossed. It must land between the halfway point and two paces from the end line of the field in order to be played.
  • Teams may not defer throwing the pallino
  • After the pallino is thrown, teams should alternate throwing 1 ball at a time.
    • The same player who threw the pallino will throw their ball first.
    • Then, a player on the opposing team will throw one of his or her own balls.


Dead Balls & Fouls

  • Dead balls: any ball that leaves the field of play
    • If the pallino is knocked out of the pit anytime during play, except during initial throw, that frame is over and all the ball are transfer to the other side of the court.
    • A ball hitting the backboard without first touching the pallino or another bocce ball is a dead ball and is removed from play.
    • Any ball hit by the dead ball should remain where it’s landed.
  • Fouls: if the first team fails to throw the pallino between the half-court line and the back foul line in 2 consecutive attempts per frame, the other team gets to throw the pallino.
  • The team that first attempts to throw the pallino will throw their ball first even if the other team ended up throwing the pallino because the first team double faulted.

All rules are subject to change when and as needed by BSR staff.