of the Federation International de Boules
(This unofficial summary of the F.I.B. regulations was prepared by the United States Bocce Federation. It is intended only to be an abbreviated guide to the most frequently used rules. Any questions must be resolved by using the complete text of the official F.I.B. regulations)
The aim of the game is to place one’s ball as close as possible to a target ball that is called the jack. The opponent, in turn, attempts to place their balls closer to the jack or move the balls that prevent them from doing so. The winning team is the one which first reaches the specified score within the maximum time allowed or has the higher score at the end of regular time.
Areas Of The Court
0.5m = 1’6″
2m = 6’5”
4m = 13’1″
5m = 16’4”
I. STARTING THE GAME
The right to toss the jack in the first end (frame) is decided by a coin flip. Subsequently, the team winning an end tosses the jack. Any member of a team may toss the jack without being obliged to play the first ball. The delivery is valid when the jack comes to rest in the 5m rectangle opposite the end from which it was tossed (between the B and C lines). If a team fails to validly toss the jack after two attempts, the opposing team places the jack where it wishes within the square, as long as it is at least 50 cm from all boundary lines of the square.
In any event, the team which tosses the jack must play the first ball. The opposing team plays until they take the point or play all their balls. If the first ball goes out of play or is annulled, the opponent must play. If their ball also goes out of play, the first team plays again, and so on. If no balls are left on the court after a valid roll or throw, the opposing team must play. If this last ball played goes out of play or is annulled, the other team must play again, and so on. When each team has a ball equidistant from the jack, the team that played last plays again. If the tie is not broken, the other team plays and so forth until the tie is broken. If a player plays someone else’s ball by mistake, simply replace it with the correct ball. An object is out of play if its central circumference passes beyond the outer limit of the line (side line Z, or third line D) or touches the side wall. The jack is also out of play if its central circumference does not reach past the first or B line.
II. ROLLING THE BALL
Every ball must be played within a maximum time of 45 seconds which starts from the time when:
a) the jack is correctly placed in the court;
b) it has been decided which team shall play;
c) the referee has made his decision;
d) the required replacements of displaced objects have been made.
In case of infringement the referee will at once annul the ball and it must not be played. If it is played it has no effect. A rolled delivery is regular when the ball:
a) does not go out of play;
b) reaches to at least 2 meters from the first line;
c) does not move any object more than 50 cm from its original position;
These three conditions must all be satisfied at the same time.
III. THE THROW
The player who wishes to throw (or shoot) must clearly designate the object which is the intended target. There can only be one target, and it may not be a ball of the player’s own team. A mark will be drawn by the opponents 50 centimeters in front of the designated object. This mark must be curved and from 15 to 20 cm in length. Every mark which is not challenged before the throw is valid for checking the point of landing. When the designated object is surrounded by other objects, the curved mark must extend in the necessary direction. Additional throw marks must be made in front of each object situated less than 50 cm from the designated object, providing that such marks are within a circle concentric to the external perimeter of the object and placed 50 cm away from the object.
A throw is regular when all three of the following conditions are met:
a) the point of landing is not more than 50 cm from the designated object;
b) the point of landing is not more than 50 cm from the object first struck;
c) the object first struck is not more than 50 cm from the designated object (measured from the maximum diameter of the objects in question);
The outer edge of the throw mark must not be modified or erased by the impression left on the court by the thrown ball at its point of landing. A throw is also regular when a ball strikes directly, i.e. without having first touched the court, an object positioned at not more than 50 cm from the designated object. However, in the case of a regular throw with a non-designated jack, the jack is compulsorily restored to its original position.
IV. THROW AT THE JACK
If, during an end, the two teams still have one or more balls to play, the jack may be designated once by each team. (This does not apply when balls still to be played belong to only one team.) If the declared jack is struck by a regular throw and there are still unplayed balls belonging to both teams, the end is nullified and will be played again in the same direction. In this case the jack is thrown by the team that had originally thrown it. A non-designated jack hit by a regular or irregular delivery is always replaced to its original position.
If only one team has balls remaining and a declared jack is struck after a regular throw, the throwing team receives one point for each ball that has not yet been played. There is no restriction on the number of throws which may be made on the jack in this situation, except that the last remaining ball may not be thrown at the jack.
V. ADVANTAGE RULE
All irregular deliveries are left to the discretion of the opposing team. It may:
a) accept the whole new situation thus created, and can either accept or annul the irregular ball;
b) demand the general replacement of all objects to their original positions with the compulsory annulment of the irregular ball.
VI. POSITION OF PLAYERS
In all cases, when not rolling or throwing the ball, all players must stand to the side of the square where the jack is positioned, one team on each side of the court, beyond the first line. At the moment of the throw, the players must stand still and not stare at or do anything to distract the thrower. If space permits all players will keep off the court, as near as possible and along the side line.