Bocce is a game that could have been invented for picnics. Petanque is played in much the same way and both games are similar to lawn bowls. The balls are thrown instead of rolled which means that the playing surface does not have to be as smooth.
They are ideal games to play on rougher ground you find in many picnic spots.
Not only can you play them just about anywhere but anyone can play whether you are fit or not, young and old everyone can join in.
Many parks have courts laid out ready to play on but if you are not near any of these you can easily set out your own court on a piece of flat ground.
The average size of a bocce ball is 100mm in diameter. They come in a set of eight in four different colours with a small white ball called a pallina.
Each player uses balls that are a different colour from the other balls in play. It is useful to be able to distinguish your bocce balls from those of other players.
Traditionally bocce is played on a court 30 x 4 metres but at a picnic there is no court.
The game can be played with 2, 4, or 8 players.
You can divide the players into teams or play as individuals.
Divide the balls evenly between the players.
The purpose of the game is to get your ball as close to the pallina as possible. Players must throw from behind a line drawn on the ground.
They can move their feet and run up to play as long as they stay behind the line.
A player from the first team throws the pallina forward.
The same player starts the game throwing his ball as close as he can to the pallina.
A player from the other team then throws his first ball, trying to land closer to the pallina than his opponent.
If a player's ball does not land closer to the pallina than the opposing team's ball members of the team continue to play until they succeed or they have all thrown.
The play then reverts to the first team.
Players are allowed to use their balls to knock the pallina closer to other bocce balls, or to knock balls out of the way.
The team who finishes the round with their balls closest to the pallina wins a point for each ball nearer to the pallina than the opposing team up to a maximum of four points.
If its a close thing you may need a tape measure to be sure which ball is closest.
Start another round with a new player throwing the pallina and the first ball.
Play as many rounds as you need for a team to reach 13 points.
Petanque is very easy to play.
Petanque is similar to Bocce but you are not allowed to move your feet when throwing.
This makes it ideal for less able players. you can even play sitting down or in a wheelchair.
Pentaque balls are made of metal about 80mm in diameter.They come in sets of six or eight with a small ball or jack. Sizes and weights can vary depending on your own size, skill level and preference.No court is needed. Any flatish surface will do, although it is best to avoid really hard surfaces like concrete or asphalt.
Draw a circle at one end of a strip of firm ground.
Players must stand or sit inside the circle and are not allowed to move their feet while throwing.
Balls are thrown with the palm down so they spin before they touch the ground and can roll in any direction.
The first player tosses the jack. It can be thrown in any direction that suits the thrower.
This player then throws his petanque ball as close to the jack as possible. Other players follow throwing their balls as close as possible to the jack. They are allowed to hit the jack away from their opponants ball or hit their own ball closer to the jack.
When all the balls have been thrown the player with the ball closest to
the jack wins a point for each ball closer than their opponents.
For the next round draw a another circle around the jack
and continue as before.
When one player reaches 13 points the game is over and the winner declared.
No score is decided until the last player throws the very last ball in a round.
You can be in front one minute and losing the next,if another player throws a ball near the jack or knocks an opponents ball out of the way,
Your score can change very quickly which makes the game really exciting.
Don't forget to take your Bocce or Petanque Set with you on your picnic.