Play Bocce Ball

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Bocce is a fun outdoor game.  I’m not quite ready to call it “one of the most exciting and enjoyable sports” as one website I read while fact-checking the rules claimed it was (to be fair, it was a website that sold bocce sets, so they clearly have a skewed view), but it is fun.

Best of all (for our purposes at least), it’s a game many will have played before in the past, so the rules may still be stored in long term memory.  If not, don’t worry.  The rules are pretty simple (and flexible) so it shouldn’t be too stressful to keep a game going even if it’s new or “new” to the person with memory loss.

There are many ways to play Bocce, but a common version is called “Backyard Bocce”.  To play:

1. Divide the Bocce balls (the large balls) evenly between the two teams.

2. Have someone throw the pallina (the smaller ball) forward.  T(his is where you will be aiming your bocce balls, so make sure it’s a least a little ways away from the players.  You don’t want to get a bocce ball to the foot!).

3.  One team throws  a bocce ball toward the pallina

4.  The second teams throws a bocce ball towards the pallina.  If they  succeed, play reverts to the first team.  If not,  land closer to the pallina than the opposing team’s ball, they continue to throw their bocce balls  until one is. This is referred to as bettering the point.

5. Play continues with each team taking turns to try and better the point.

6. The round ends when both teams have thrown all their balls.  A team is given a point for each ball that’s closer to the pallina than its opponents’

7.  The team that wins the round throws the palina and the first bocce the next round.  The game ends when a team reaches a predetermined number of points  (typically 14 or 16) or after a predetermined number of rounds (typically 8).

Note:  You CAN use your bocce ball to try and knock the opponents’ balls out of the way, or to knock your own ball closer to the pallina.

Also Note: My family just took turns throwing our bocce balls, not caring about who was closest to the pallina to guide our turns and then scored the round using the system above.  Turn taking may be easier for someone with memory loss who is new to the game.  However, for someone with memory loss who has played before and remembers the rules, I would recommend playing and scoring as they recall it.

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