OFFICIAL ATL Bocce RULES
Everyone has their own unique way of playing bocce. Read below to learn ATLBocce's rules.
Highlighted parts indicate changes effective as of summer 2023.
How Many People on a Team?
Teams need a minimum of 4 players on the roster. A minimum of 2 players per team must be present each week to play.
The object in each frame of the game is to get as many of your team’s bocce balls closer to the pallino than the opposing team’s closest bocce ball.
Playing the Game
Each frame is played with one smaller target ball (pallino) and eight larger balls (bocce) – four for each team. Determine who goes first by playing rock, paper, scissors between the two captains. The winner determines the end from which play will start, has the first toss of the pallino, and chooses the color of their team’s bocce balls. In the playoffs, the higher seeded team has those privileges.
Depending on the location, players may or may not be allowed to step into the court to throw.
The starting player of each frame may toss the pallino any distance so long as the pallino passes the center line, is at least 1-foot from the side boards and 2-feet from the back wall on the opposite side, although it may be bounced off the sideboards.
If the initial bocce ball hits the back wall on the opposite side, that team must roll again. Otherwise he/she steps aside and their 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 whose bocce balls are closest to the pallino is called "inside" and the opposing team "outside." Whenever a team gets inside, it steps aside and lets the outside team roll. The team outside throws until it beats (not ties) the opposing ball. This continues until both teams have used all their bocce balls (a total of 8, 4 from each team). The team that scores last throws the pallino to begin the next frame.
The pallino may be knocked anywhere on the court but not out of the court, in which case the frame would end and play would restart from the opposite side. Any ball knocked out of the court is considered dead.
Consecutive or alternating throws by teammates, when permissible, shall be at the option of the players.
Fouls and Dead Balls
If a player's bocce ball makes contact with the back board without being thrown and first touching the pallino, the bocce ball is considered a dead ball on impact and is removed from play until the end of the frame.
If a dead ball strikes a stationary bocce ball after hitting the backboard, that stationary bocce shall be replaced in its original position. The thrown ball is removed from play.
If the thrown ball comes to rest on the pallino or another ball that is touching the back wall, that thrown ball remains in play. The ball touching the back wall is removed from play. If the pallino is touching the back wall it remains in play.
When all balls have been played, this concludes the frame and one team is awarded a single point for each of its balls which is closer to the pallino than the closest opposing team's ball. Thus, a team may score up to four points per frame. If the closest ball of each team is equal in distance from the pallino, the team with the next closest ball gets a single point.
For example, if at the end of a frame there are 2 green balls closer to the pallino than the next closest red ball, the green team receives 2 points. The team that scores in a frame starts the next frame by throwing out the pallino and playing their first ball. Play continues until a team wins by reaching a score of fifteen points.
No team can score more than 15 points in a match. A forfeited match results in a score of 15-5. If both teams fail to show up by the designated start time, the result will be a tie score of 0-0.
Disputes and Measurements
The teams playing will referee their own game. Any dispute which cannot be resolved by the team captains shall be decided by a League Referee. Upon his/her decision the game shall continue. All measurements should be made from the inside dimensions of the bocce ball to the top of the pallino.
If both teams agree on which team has the point and it is later determined that a mistake has been made, all balls played are valid. If both teams have balls remaining, the team that does not have the closest ball to the pallino rolls again. If all balls have been played, points are awarded based on the balls that are actually closest to the pallino in accord with the "Scoring" rule.
Teams will consist of a minimum of 4 players. A minimum of 2 players per team must be present to play a game (3 players for end of season All-City Tournament). A match will be forfeited if a team fails to have 2 players present within 15 minutes past the designated start of the match.
A regulation game lasts 45 minutes from the designated start time or until one team reaches 15 points. If no team has reached 15 within the allotted time, the team with the higher score wins. If the two teams are tied after regulation, one additional frame will be played to determine the winner.
A game is official once one team reaches 7 points.
At the end of the match, captains must submit their game score to a League Representative. A record will be kept of all the scores to determine the overall league standings and eventual playoff seeding, all posted on www.atlbocce.com.
The top 8 teams from the regular season will compete during a one-night, single elimination tournament at their league location. A playoff schedule will be determined after the final week of regulation play and posted on the website.
qualifying for state tournament
Each first place team from the regular season will automatically qualify for the State Tournament. The finalists from the location playoff will receive an invite to the State Tournament. If the first place team from the regular season is a finalist in the playoffs, the third place team will receive the invite. Third place will be awarded to the team that competes and loses in the semi-final round at the location playoffs but holds the highest seeding in the regular season standings between the two semi-final round losing teams.
All players must be 21 years of age or older.
All players must be properly registered through the Atlanta Bocce League website, www.atlbocce.com. All players must agree to a player release waiver.