Difference Between Bocce and Petanque

What is the Difference Between Bocce and Petanque? (Similarities & Differences)

These days, different amazing games help families catch fun, bond, interact with one another, exercise the body, and have a friendly feud.

Two of such games that are making the rounds are Bocce and Petanque. These two games are so similar that people use the names interchangeably, not knowing they are two different games.

They are both ball games that are played in a court whose dimensions are almost alike. The rules of Bocce and Petanque are pretty alike, but the significant differences are in the equipment used in playing the game and the way each game is played.

If you are new to the game and you are wondering “why the fuss about these games,” then come along with us and let us introduce you to the world of Bocce and Petanque games.

The Game Of Bocce Ball

Difference Between Bocce and Petanque

This game which has its roots in Ancient Egypt and modern-day history, is linked to Italy is a fun and relaxing game that is also reinvigorating if played strategically. Bocce is a game that is played by many and loved by much more.

With the influx of people from Italy to the US and other parts of the world at the beginning of the 20th century, this game has spread globally. 

The game is now played worldwide because it is a simple game that everyone can play.

The game aims to score points, and these points are scored by getting your bocce ball or those of your team closer to the target ball known as the Jack or Pallino ( this is a small ball that is tossed into the bocce ball court as the game begins)

A tournament is usually played with eight players with four people per team, but the number of players can be changed for social games, and the bills each person can toss increases. 

For example, if two people are playing in a team against two people in the other team, each team member gets two bocce balls.

The game begins with a coin toss to determine the team that will toss the target ball or the Pallino. The first team then tosses the Pallino and then rolls their ball as close as possible to the Pallino.

Next, the player from the opposing team rolls a ball to get better than the roll of the first team so that their ball can get closer to the target ball.

Points are awarded at the end of each throw frame to the team whose balls are closer to the Pallino than its opponents. So, at the end of each round, a team can score anything from 1 to 4 points. If the distance from the Pallino for the two teams in the same, then no point is awarded.

The team that won the first frame begins the next frame, and hence they are the ones to throw in the Pallino and the first toll of the ball. The game comes to an end when a team scores 12 points.

The Game Of Petanque

Difference Between Bocce and Petanque

Pétanque is a game that is played outdoor which started in France in the early 1990s. It is an exciting and captivating game played by two teams, and the goal of the game is to throw metallic balls called balls or boules as close as possible to a small wooden ball called a cochonnet.

This fame which started in the early 1900s, has spread globally as a game played mainly in the summer for recreational purposes.

Petanque is gaining popularity by the day because it is an exciting and fun game that everyone can play. 

It is common to find many people who participate are in wheelchairs, so it is a game for the young, old, and what have you.

Another thing going for the game is that it is relatively affordable and durable, which means you get good value for money. 

The petanque game kit comes with all you need to play the play, and they are pretty portable and convenient to transport and store.

The game of petanque is relatively easy to learn and play and does not require any special preparation for the playing surface. 

The game can be played anywhere on the beach, in camps, and anytime in the summer or winter.

The game is played by two teams of 1 to 4 people, and each player gets 2 or 3 boules depending on the number of people playing. The maximum number of boules a team plays with is 12.

The petanque court is a rectangular play area that is about 15m by 4m in dimension which is placed on a flat and stable surface that is free of obstructions. The game starts by drawing a circle, and the ball is thrown about 6 meters away from the circle.

The first team throws their boules to get pretty close to them, but the opposing team tries too to throw their close to them. A round of game ends when both teams have thrown all their boules.

A team is awarded points if they have one or more of their boules closer to the ball than their opponent’s boules. A team that gets a maximum of 13 points is declared the winner.

Similarities Between Bocce Ball And Petanque

If you watch petanque and Bocce ball games from a distance, you might not tell both of them apart because they look so similar. That is why both games are grouped as boules sport. Here are some of the things the two games have in common:


Both games are ball games that are rolled in bowling motions and tossed towards a target. The aim of the game is similar, which is trying to get your boules as close to the target as possible.

Players Number And Movement

For both petanque and Bocce ball games, you need at least two people competing against each other or two teams with a maximum of 4 people per team.

The players do not move a lot, especially when they throw or roll the ball into the court; the balls also tend to hit other balls as they are thrown.

Same Principle

These two games, which are seen as cousins, all seem to have similarities with Corn hole, horseshoes, and bowling because the players need to hit a target as they throw objects at it.

For both games, knocking away an opponent’s ball is accepted as a strategy for winning. Another similar principle for both games is that each player tosses their boules using a traditional under-arm throw.

The Difference Between Petanque and Bocce Ball

Difference Between Bocce and Petanque

There are quite some differences between petanque and Bocce ball games, and it is usually in terms of the equipment for playing the game. Here are some of the differences between the two games.

The Boules Material

The balls for playing petanque are made of steel, and the type used in competition and tournaments are hollow, while the ones for leisure are usually filled with sand.

On the other hand, Bocce balls are solid and not hollow, and they are usually made of wood, but some modern versions are made of epoxy resins that have been hardened.

The Boules Size and Weight.

The ball size of a petanque is smaller in size than a bocce ball. A petanque boule has about 73mm, while that of the Bocce Ball is 107mm.

Bocce balls are also heavier in weight. A bocce ball weighs roughly 920g, while a petanque ball weighs about 680g. 

Bocce balls come in two colors, one color for each team. Petanque boules on the hand are differentiated by the pattern of grooves on each team’s boules.

How The Boules Are Thrown

Bocce Balls are big relative to Petanque balls, and hence they are heavier too. Bocce Balls are rolled towards the target, and this is due to their weight; Petanque, on the other hand, is a throwing or tossing game because the balls are relatively smaller and so can be thrown.

The Court

Even though both Petanque and Bocce ball games are played on the court, Bocce ball is played on a dedicated court or lane, a smooth surface enclosed by sideboards. Petanque, on the other hand, can be played anywhere you find a flat surface.

The Petanque area is open and does not have boundaries. The Bocce ball court is significantly longer than the petanque court even though they are of the same width, 4m. While the latter is 15m long, a Bocce ball court is about 23m to 28m.


The bocce ball court is expensive and quite a task maintaining it; it is bigger, requires a smooth surface, and needs constant maintenance.

On the other hand, Petanque requires low maintenance and costs much less to build since a gravel pathway is enough to form a petanque court and can be played on a rough and uneven surface.

For these reasons, you cannot play petanque on a Bocce ball court because the court is too smooth for the game. Secondly, you might be damaging the Bocce Court.

How Long Do Bocce Ball And Petanque Game Take?

The length of time that the Bocce ball game is played for the regulation game is usually one hour, and the winner is a team that has gotten 16 points through the frames.

If, however, within this one-hour time frame, no team has gotten the 16 points, then an additional frame will be allowed as determined by the league, and any team that gets the maximum points is crowned a winner.

For the petanque, a team wins if they get 13 points, and this can take as long as possible to achieve the maximum point. Hence it is pretty common in a petanque torment for a game to finish in 45 minutes while others will drag on for hours because there is no regulation period.

Hence one of the problems encountered in the petanque game is she dying of may he’s because you can never tell when a game will end.


There are lots of fun games played for relaxation, and two of them making waves are the Bocce Ball game and Petanque. These are all great ball games that are similar in the way they are played.

However, there are a few differences between the two games if you take time to study the two games. These differences are mainly about the size, weight, and color of their balls, known as boules, and the length of their playing courts.

So if you are thinking of a way of relaxing with loved ones over a friendly competition that is captivating, then you can try your hands on a game or two of Bocce ball or petanque; it will indeed be worth it.

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We trust this article helped you determine the Difference Between Bocce and Petanque. You may also want to check out: The Best Wooden Bocce Ball Set 2021 – Review, Cost and How to Choose.

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