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.
Divide 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 two.
Decide Who Goes First
Toss a coin to see which side goes first.
Toss the Jack
The 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
All 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.