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Toss balls down the court and score points
Bocce is a precision sport closely related to bowls and pétanque with a common ancestry from ancient games played in the Roman Empire. Developed into its present form in Italy, it is played around Europe and also in overseas countries that have received Italian migrants, including the United States, Canada, Australia, Argentina and Brazil, initially amongst the migrants themselves but slowly becoming more popular with their descendants and the wider community.
Unlike bowls, bocce is played on dirt courts of approximately 20 to 30 metres in length and approximately 2.5 to 4 metres wide, and has wooden boards of approximately 15 centimetres in height surrounding the court. Bocce balls can be made of brass, compressed wood, or various kinds of plastic (including PhenoTech). Unlike lawn bowls, bocce balls are spherical and have no inbuilt bias (they will roll a straight course).
Like bowls, a game can be contested between two players, or two teams of two or four. A match is started by a randomly chosen side being given the opportunity to throw a smaller ball, the jack (called a pallino or boccino in some areas), from one end of the court into a zone near the other end of the court of about 5 metres in length, ending 2 metres from the end of the court. If they miss twice, the other team is awarded the opportunity to place the jack anywhere they choose within the zone.
The side that places the jack is given the opportunity to bowl the first bocce ball. Once the first bowl has taken place, the other side has the opportunity to bowl. From then on, the side which does not have the ball closest to the jack has a chance to bowl, up until one side or the other has used their four balls. At that point, the other side bowls its remaining bocce balls. Like lawn bowls, the team with the closest ball or balls to the jack is awarded one point for each ball that is closer to the jack than the other side's closest ball. The contest continues until one team scores 13 points (though this can vary regionally).
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