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  • Writer's picturePhil Boarder

Petanque a Simple guide to the Rules

As people enjoy the sunshine the clink of boule against boule can be heard across the parks of the land. So how do you play?

A Summary of the Rules

The game of Petanque is played between two teams of 1, 2 or 3 players. In singles or doubles each player uses 3 boules. In triples each player use's 2 Boule. The game begins by tossing a coin to decide who should be first to play and so have the right to place the small target ball, the 'but' or 'jack' as it is known. The first team then traces on the ground a circle large enough to stand in (35 cm - 50 cm diameter is the approved legal size) or uses an approved circle and throws the 'jack' forward, a distance between 6 and 10 metres and at least 50 cm from any obstruction or boundary. If he/she throws the jack outside these distances or too close to the boundary the opposing team can place the jack into a legal position. The first player of the team, who won the toss, or the preceding end, throws their first Boule, as near the 'jack' as possible, they must be careful to keep his/her feet inside the circle and on the ground until the Boule he or she has thrown touches the ground. As soon as the Boule has stopped rolling, the first player of the opposing team throws his/her first Boule from the same circle and must try to place his/her Boule nearer to the 'jack' than the opponent. The act of trying to put one's Boule as near as possible to the jack is called 'pointing' he/she can also try, it he/she wishes, to knock the opponent's Boule out of contention and this is called 'shooting'. If he/she succeeds in placing his/her Boule nearer to the jack than the first player, it is then the turn of the opposing team to throw a Boule to try to place one of their boule nearest to the jack. As long as a team has one of their Boule nearest to the jack the players of the other team must try to get a better boule by 'pointing' or 'shooting' their Boule. When they have no more Boule to play, it is the turn of the other team to throw their Boule. When all the Boule have been played, the team who has the Boule nearest to the jack counts one point for each Boule nearer the jack than his opponent's nearest Boule. Another 'end' then commences in the same way as before, a player of the winning team traces or places a circle, throws the jack and starts to play. The game continues until one team has reached 13 points. When the jack has been thrown, no obstacle, even the smallest stone, may be removed between the circle and the jack. A Boule once played may not be moved unless it has passed over the boundary of the game or touched surrounding dead areas. It may happen that two Boule touch the jack or are at equal distance from it; then the players of each team play alternately until the point is won by one of the two teams.

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