Camping Game - Extreme Bocce

Extreme Bocce is a very simple game that can be played on any camping trip with up to 4 people (or 8 if you can keep track of two balls of the same colour). Much like regular Bocce, extreme Bocce involves a small white ball (which can be replaced with a golf ball when you eventually lose it), and 8 larger balls of four different colours. What makes this version of the game extreme is the fact that you may be playing on some incredibly rough terrain. A good game of Extreme Bocce will include bushwhacking through dense forest, fishing balls out of a lake, and possibly rappelling down a cliff or two. It really depends a lot on where you are. Similar to regular Bocce, the game works like this: One player throws the white ball, and then all players take turns throwing their own coloured balls to see who can get closest to the white one. The person with the ball closest to the white ball gets a point. If that person has multiple balls closer to the white ball than anyone else’s ball, then they get that many points.

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Here is how the game is played, step by step:

1 – Someone throws the white ball into the woods.

Since the idea behind the game is to make it as extreme as possible, it’s a good idea to throw the ball far, and to throw it somewhere where you alone have an advantage. If you think long shots over fallen trees and through dense forest is a good move, go for it!

2 – No one sees exactly where the white ball goes. A search is initiated

Since it’s almost impossible to see where a tiny white ball goes in dense forest, someone may have to go and look for it. This involves going off-trail and usually bushwhacking through the woods. Cuts and scrapes are common, and this can take upwards of half an hour if the throw was good. A good strategy is to send the best player out, in order to even out the playing field. It is recommended that you leave and go have lunch during this time.

3 – The white ball is found

Once the white ball is found, everyone can come back to the starting point (where you threw the white ball). At this point, most people are still somewhat enthusiastic about the game, but others who have already had to bushwhack through dense wet forest (and who have missed lunch) are getting upset. Good. Use this to your advantage!

4 – Each player takes turns throwing their ball in the general direction of where they think the white ball is

Since the white ball is still probably hidden under the underbrush, throw your larger coloured balls in the general area. If the white ball is on rocks or by the water, it’s very possible that your balls will end up in a lake or over a cliff. This, presumably, is part of the fun. Given that no one is really sure where the white ball is, it is not uncommon for people to throw their balls in all directions in the hope of catching a lucky break and winning.

5 – Figure out what happened

The next half hour is dedicated mostly to retrieving lost balls, and determine who (if anyone) is closest to the white ball. If the game is played correctly, there is a very strong chance that you can win by not throwing the ball at all, and just standing still.

6 – The owner of the Bocce set refuses to let anyone stop playing until their balls are found

As the day winds down and several balls are still missing, possibly lost to the sea, the owner the Bocce set will usually take this time to remind the other players that they bought the set, and that they are friendship-bound to stay on and help find them.

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7 – Night descends

As darkness falls and headlamps come out, the search becomes more and more dangerous. A draw is declared among those who seem to have thrown their balls in the correct general direction, and everyone goes off to sleep hungry, knowing that they’ll need to continue searching tomorrow.

8 – End of Game

The following morning as you’re packing up to leave, you discover the missing ball sitting in a wide-open clearing. You and your battered and bruised friends share a polite laugh and decide never to speak of Extreme Bocce again.