How to Play Petanque (Pay-tonk) Boules (Boolz)
The Place to Play
Petanque is also known as Boules and is
played outdoors on any reasonably firm surface: your yard, the park, a
field, a gravel parking lot, cinder running track, etc. Hard surfaces
like concrete or asphalt or very soft like a fine sand beach or long
grass are not recommended. The ideal surface is
hard packed earth with course sand or pea gravel approximately 1/8" -
¼" deep covering the surface. Find a place that is open and fairly
flat. If there are a few bumps and hollows that's fine and can even add
more challenge to the game.
up into two teams. You can play Singles with one player on each side,
Doubles with two players on each side, or Triples with three players on
each side. For leisure play a good way to choose teams is for one
person to take a boule from each player and throw them out all at the
same time. The owners of the boules that lie closest to the thrower
make up the first team.
Both teams select their boules. Each team's boules should have Groove Patterns that
distinguish them from the other side's boules: that way, they will be
easy to identify when counting up points. When playing Singles or
Doubles, each player uses three boules and for Triples each player uses
Decide Who Goes First
Toss a coin to see which side goes first.
Toss the Jack
team that wins the coin toss chooses the starting location and then
selects one of their players to throw out the jack. The starting
location is indicated by a circle that is 14 to 20 inches in diameter
and at least three feet from any obstacles. The circle can be drawn
with chalk, etched in the dirt with a stick, or made from a piece of
rope whatever works. Once the circle is drawn, the player then stands
with both feet inside the circle and throws the jack. The jack can be
thrown in any direction but must land within 20 to 30 feet of the
starting circle and three feet from any obstacle.
Throw the Boules
boules must be thrown from within the starting circle and with both
feet on the ground. The player attempts to throw the boule so that it
lands as close to the jack as possible it is okay to hit the jack. The
player must remain inside the circle until the boule has landed. A
player from the opposing team then steps into the circle and attempts
to land his boule closer to the jack even if it means knocking his
opponents out of the way. The boule closest to the jack leads or is
said to be "holding the point." The other team must continue throwing
boules until they take the lead or run out of boules. There is no order
that team members must follow when throwing their boules however, they
must only throw their own boules, and they must go one at a time from
within the starting circle. If they take the lead, the other team then
tries to recover by landing a lead boule.
Winning the Round
Once a team has usedall
its boules, the other side is allowed to throw the rest of its boules.
When all boules are thrown, the points are counted. The team that has
the boule closest to the jack wins the round. In addition, they also
receive a point for each boule that is closer to the jack than their
opponents closest boule. Only one team scores points during a round.
Beginning a New Round
Once the points
are counted, the next round begins with previous round's winners
drawing a new starting circle. This starting circle is drawn around the
final position of the jack in the previous round. The winning team then
selects a player to toss out the jack from this new starting circle and
then throw out the first boule.
Winning the Game
The first team to earn a total of 13 points wins the game. There is not a required number of rounds that must be played.