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Bocce ball has gotten increasingly popular in recent years. And what better way to get into it with your friends than with the best bocce ball set. This easy to pick up backyard game is fun with friends and family of any age.
Each set is different when it comes to the types of balls, colors, and items included. So if you are looking for the best bocce ball set, you should pay attention to what you should be getting. The last thing you want is to spend more money for less.
What Is Bocce Ball?
In Canada, they have curling. But in the United States, and more so in Europe, there's bocce ball. But the goal behind both games is relatively the same, only in bocce, a small ball is a target.
This game involves you and up to eight people taking turns to try and get your ball as close to the target ball as possible. You win the game by reaching a score of 12 first. However, that score can be changed depending on how fast you want your game to go.
Bocce itself is a pretty simple game to play and is in line with other backyard games such as cornhole or horseshoes. You may often see it at outdoor parties, barbeques, and other get-togethers.
Because it's easy to pick up and even easier to set up a court, anyone can get into it with very little skill involved.
The most common home of bocce ball is in Italy, where you may see old retired Sicilians in the town square, playing an afternoon game. The game has been around for eons, and it doesn't seem to be going anywhere any time soon.
Brief history lesson
Bocce is old, really old. It's been around since before 5200 B.C.; however, that is the first official documentation of the people playing the game. The discovery of a painting of two boys playing the game was the finding of English scientist Sir Francis Patrial.
The name bocce stems from the Latin word, "Bottica," which is a direct root of the Italian word "Bocce." That Italian word translates to bowls, and the relation between bowls and bocce ball is unknown.
In 600 B.C., the Greeks picked up the game and passed it on to the Romans. By 1519, it became a public game, and countries like Flanders, Holland, and Belgium began to play it.
Over the years, bocce ball spread throughout the world until it eventually found its way to Italy, by means of the Greeks. The rich prohibited those of lesser wealth from playing bocce on several occasions. That was because many found that it was a distraction from the more essential trades.
Over the ages, the popularity of the game rose and fell and has till this day. But it wasn't until 1896, when Athens, Greece held the first Bocce Ball Olympiad that the game became solidified in society. By 1989, bocce got to the states and took California by storm.
Now, there are over 25 million bocce players and enthusiasts in the U.S., and it has also become a tournament sport.
How to play
Playing bocce ball is best done with the best bocce ball set. What you'll need are four to eight balls, a target ball or "pallino," a measuring tape, and a way to keep score. It also helps to have a designated court; however, one isn't entirely needed.
To play the game, you'll first have to toss a coin to see who goes first. Whoever wins gets to roll the pallino down the court, and then their first ball. Then the second team or player gets to throw two of their balls down the court.
The goal is to get your balls as close to the pallino as possible.
The round is over once both players have thrown all of their balls, two turns each. Then you both go down and see who is the closest. Only the team with the closest ball can score a point.
If any of your balls are closer than your opponents closest ball, you score one point for each ball. However, if any your balls and the other teams are of equal distance, they cancel out, and no one gets the point.
The measuring tape comes into play if the balls are too close to tell and you need to know for sure.
The game is very flexible and allows you to change the number of balls or the score limit however you wish. It helps in playing quick games or drawing out a long competition.
What Is a Bocce Ball Set?
To find the best bocce ball set, you should know what they usually include. Every collection will be different, whether it's the materials that make up the balls, the size or even the colors. But they all contain the same general items in every set.
In a general bocce ball set, you'll have about eight balls, of which four will be one color (usually green), and four will be another color (usually blue). You'll also get a target ball, called a pallino.
These are about the size of a golf ball, maybe smaller, but much smaller than the bocce balls themselves.
Most of the best bocce ball sets will also come with a measuring string that allows you to judge which ball is closer to score the point. And of course, everything comes in a carrying case, which will differ from brand to brand.
These sets allow you to conveniently keep everything you need for the game in a compact container. The only thing that they don't come with is the court itself. Playing bocce ball doesn't require a court, but it does, however, make the game more manageable.
A bocce ball court can be a piece of plywood or even string to distinguish the boundaries. But since the goal of the game is to get it as close to the pallino as you can, boundaries are kind of useless.
But if you have a full-fledged bocce court, it does make rolling the balls easier, as they will be on sand or turf.
What makes the best bocce ball set
To determine what makes the best set, you have to look at what you prefer. Some high-end sets are made from excellent quality materials and have extras included; however, they will run you a pretty penny. In all honesty, you can find the best bocce ball set for a budget-friendly price.
However, there are some things that we can recommend over others. For example, the make-up of the balls themselves will be different depending on the brand you get. For the best performance, you'll want to get a set of resin balls.
Resin can give you the best and most traditional feel over the poly-resin or even plastic sets. Sets of resin balls will also be more durable than plastic; however, they can be a bit more expensive.
More modern sets will be blends or just straight-up plastic, but personally, the resin sets look better overall.
But at the end of the day, the best bocce ball set is the one that fits your budget, and that you like the most. As long as it has all the basics, you'll be well off.
How We Review
The goal with this best bocce ball set guide is to help you make an educated decision, but it's also to be transparent with you.
We have not had the chance to personally test out every item on our best bocce ball set list. However, the information here, along with our recommendations, all comes from reputable sources, guides, and the Amazon marketplace.
These products may not be the most expensive sets on the market, but they do come highly rated on Amazon and by other expert reviews.
The Best Bocce Ball Sets
These Bocce ball sets are in no particular order; however, some rate higher than others. Each of the products below come with glowing customer reviews, and some have been featured on other reviews as well.
Whether the best Bocce ball set for you is on this list or not is entirely up to you.
Even if you do not find your new set today, you at least have a place to start from and compare others against.
Traditional, yet modern is the name of the game with the Play Platoon bocce ball set. This set features poly-resin balls that are crack and damage resistant as well as water-resistant. In the collection, there are two 90mm balls of each color -- red, green, blue, and yellow.
You can also go for the 100mm version if you want a bigger set of balls.
There is also a white pallino ball and a measuring rope so you can challenge your friends on who is closer. And everything comes in a convenient canvas carrying case for secure storage. Play Platoon backs the set with an automatic one year warranty, and an extendable life-time warranty you can get online.
In line with the traditional look of bocce ball, the Baden bocce ball set features eight balls in total, four red, and four green. Each of the balls is 90mm and has a poly-resin makeup for better strength on any playing surface.
The balls also feature unique patterns, which allows for up to eight players to join in on the fun.
Along with the eight balls, you'll get one white pallino ball and a fully extendable measuring tape. Everything fits easily in a free-standing canvas carrying case for easy transport. The set also comes with a risk-free 90-day satisfaction guarantee warranty by Baden.
The GoSports Backyard bocce ball set only features one size of balls, but they do have a rubber version available as well. Speaking on their classic set though, this features eight 90mm balls, 2 of each color -- red, green, blue, and yellow.
That makes it easy to bring more people into your game, but the unique designs on each also allow for smaller teams.
The GoSports set includes eight poly-resin balls, one white pallino, and a measuring rope for quick and easy judging. All kept together in an easy to store carrying case. The rubber balls feature a draw-string bag to store everything in.
GoSports is also proudly owned and operated in the U.S. with U.S. customer support. The GoSports Backyard bocce ball set has a 4.6 out of 5.0 star rating on Amazon.
Yup, Amazon has their hands in just about everything, including bocce ball. This set features eight 90mm poly-resin balls, 4 red, and 4 green. The balls also have separate designs which allow for more players per game.
A 100mm version is also available from AmazonBasics.
The entire set includes eight balls, one white pallino, and a fully extendable measuring tape, in the case that no one gets close to the target. You keep everything in a carrying case that sports the AmazonBasics name on the front.
Rally and Roar make sure that you know exactly how to play the game when they sell you their bocce ball set. Right on their product page, they have a full rundown of how to play the game and better, how to win.
But in the set itself, you get eight balls, one white pallino, a measuring rope, and a carrying case to store everything in.
While the balls seem to use high-quality materials, Rally and Roar don't mention what that material is. None of the customers have figured it out either, which leads us to believe that they are a non-resin material.
This bocce set possibly has the best carrying case we've seen on this best bocce ball set guide. The Harvil bocce set features 8 100mm balls, 4 green, and 4 red. Each of the balls come with separate markings for extra people to play, either circle cut or square.
The entire set gives you the eight balls, a white pallino, measuring rope, and a divided carrying case. This case has predetermined slots for each ball and a center space for the pallino and measuring string.
That makes for easy clean up as well as set up, all in a compact and slim square case.
On the more playful side of bocce, we have Playaboule's bocce set. The balls in this set look like they belong in a ball pit, but they are full regulation in accordance with the US Bocce Federation.
These 107mm balls come in 4 different colors, red, yellow, blue, and green, and feature a light that shines from the inside.
The full set includes 8 bocce balls, a white 50mm pallino, and a measuring tape with rope. You can store everything in a convenient carrying case, which contains instructions for how to replace the batteries in the lighted balls.
That set makes playing in the dark not only easy but fun!
Another play on the classic look, the ROPODA bocce set features eight balls, two of each color -- blue, red, green, and yellow. However, this is another case of unknown building material, as ROPODA doesn't mention it in their specs list.
They do say the balls use high-quality material and they do seem to hold up well, according to customers.
In the full set, you get eight balls, one white pallino, and a measuring rope, all kept secure in a durable carrying case. The set also comes with ROPODA's warranty, though there is no indication of how long that warranty is.
One of the more professional sets we have on our best bocce ball set guide. The EastPoint Sports bocce set also features one of the only pure resin made sets on our list as well. The 8 110mm bocce balls come in 2 colors, red and green, and are chip resistant.
These balls are also in line with Tournament standards, which makes them perfect for serious bocce ball competitions. EastPoint Sports also has a backyard set available as well, if that interests you more.
In this set, you get eight balls, one white pallino, and a measuring tape. There is also a high-quality, durable carry cady that the set includes.
Another professional grade Bocce ball set, the Triumph Sports set is also the only other set to have full resin balls. This Bocce ball set features 8 100mm balls, 4 of red, and 4 of black.
The complete resin build makes for truly durable and competition-ready balls.
In the set, you'll get eight balls, one white pallino, and a carrying case. However, this set curiously doesn't include a measuring tape or rope.
Bocce ball is an excellent game that anyone can pick up and play. But it's even better with the best bocce ball set you can buy. While the sets will be different in materials, size, and features, the best set is the one that you feel the most comfortable with.
Have you played bocce ball before? What does your set include? Let us know in the comments below!