DC Bocce League Rules

Click the links below to download the official rules. Rules vary by type of bocce. These rules apply at all times unless venue specific rules are mentioned below.

Some Bar Bocce Venues have specific house rules --

Frequently Asked Questions

Who Goes First?
In the regular season, you can flip a coin or play rock, paper, scissors to see who goes first.  The winner gets to throw the pallina out first.  In the playoffs, the highest seeded team goes first.  Ball color is selected by the team that does not throw the pallina out first.

How long is a game?
An outdoor bocce game lasts until one team reaches 16 points, or 1 hour has passed from the designated start time—whichever comes first. A bar bocce game is played to 14 points or 45 minutes. House rules may designate a different winning score. Matches are are never "win by two". If your game is going slowly, we will enforce the 1 hour time limit.  A game is considered official once one team reaches 7 points.

How do I know when I play?
The schedule for each week is posted on your division's Schedule page and available for download there as a PDF.  You will see games listed at various time slots, sometimes with court numbers listed designating the playing location at the venue.

Can I step inside the courts?
Yes.  For field play you should treat the cones as though they are the boundaries of a physical "walled" court.  You are allowed to take 2 steps into the court during the motion of your throw.

What happens if a balls goes outside of the court?
During field play, any ball that first hits the ground in-bounds is live no matter where is rolls.  A ball is considered dead only if it first hits the ground out of bounds or is knocked out of bounds by another live ball.  Any live ball that is contacted by a dead ball must be allowed to roll until it rests and is then to remain in its new location.  During court games, ANY ball that leaves the court is considered dead and out of play.

What happens if the pallina gets knocked out of bounds?
If the pallina gets knocked out then you restart the entire frame.  The team that threw the palina to start that frame will once again throw the pallina. You play the new frame from the opposite end.  This also applies if the pallina is knocked back into the front half of the court.  It does not apply if the pallina is knocked against the far wall or far fault line during court play.

What happens when the other team does not show up?
A team has 15 minutes past the start time to show up.  At least 2 players must be present for a team to be official (3 in the Playoffs).  If they do show up, you will not recieve any extra time to play and must complete your game in the time remaining.  If they do not show up, the result is a forfeit.  The team that shows up will win with the maximum score (14-0 or 16-0).

How close can the palina be to the side or the back?
During field play, the pallina must go past the midway line and be within 2 paces of the end of the court (please treat the "2 paces" rule loosely).  There is no restrictions on how close it can be to the sides.  During court play, the pallina must be between the midway line and the opposing back line (point line), and be 1 foot in from the side boards.

What happens if the closest ball of each team is equidistant from the pallina at the end of a frame?
If after the captains measure you still cannot tell which ball is closer, the frame restarts from the opposite end with the same team throwing out the pallina. No points are awarded.

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