BRIEF RULES OF PETANQUE or BOULES
1. Size of teams, number of boules
The game is played between two teams with one, two or three players on each side. With teams of one or two, each player has 3 boules to throw; with teams of three, each has 2 boules. The “cochonnet” (or “but”) is a small target ball made of wood or plastic.
The objective of the game is to get your boules nearer the target than your opponent’s boules.
2. Boule markings
Pairs of boules are engraved with different designs so players can tell which boules belong to them.
3. Marking where to stand
Toss a coin to choose which team plays first. A player from this team draws a circle on the ground in which all players must stand to throw their boules (on grass use a stick or piece of rope/string to stand behind). The circle should be about 0.5m in diameter and at least 1m from any obstacle (wall, tree, edge of playing area, etc).
4. Throwing the cochonnet
The same player stands in the circle and throws the cochonnet between 4m and 8m (6 to 10 paces) in any direction within the playing area. In practice the playing area is often a rectangle which largely dictates the direction of the throw. Distances can be shortened if playing with young children. The cochonnet must land at least 1m from any obstacle and be visible from the throwing place. If it isn’t, the same team gets 2 more attempts after which they forfeit and the opposing team gets to throw the cochonnet.
5. The first boule
Any player from the first team throws the first boule (not necessarily the player who threw the cochonnet, and even if the team forfeited the throwing of the cochonnet) aiming to get it as close as possible to the cochonnet. Both feet must stay on the ground and within the circle while throwing and until the boule has landed. Opposing players must not make a noise or interfere with the throwing player!
6. The second boule
A player from the other team then steps into the circle and tries to throw their boule closer to the cochonnet. Players must throw within 1 minute of their turn starting. The boule now nearest to the cochonnet is said to be “holding”. As well as simply landing a boule closer to the target, players can tactically “bomb” opposition boules out of the way or hit the cochonnet to achieve this objective. If the cochonnet goes out of bounds then the end is void and is replayed. Any boule going completely out of bounds, even if it rolls back in, is taken out of play. A boule lying against or on a boundary marker remains in play.
7. Subsequent order of play
Players in the team that is not “holding” throw and continue to play until they place a boule closest to the cochonnet. Then the other team throws until they get closest, and so on. Players on the same team can throw in any order, but each player must always play their own boules. If it can’t be decided which of two opposing boules lies closest to the cochonnet, the team which threw last continues to play unless they have no boules left.
8. When one team has no more boules
When a team has no more boules to play, the players of the other team throw their remaining boules and try to place them as close as possible to the cochonnet to score additional points.
9. Counting the points
When both teams have no more boules the points are counted for the “end”. The winning team scores one point for every boule nearer the cochonnet than the opposition’s closest boule.
10. Starting the next end
A player from the team that won the previous end throws the cochonnet from a new circle marked round the cochonnet’s last position, or another spot if both teams agree.
11. Winning the game
The winners are the first team to reach 13 points (or whatever total was decided in advance).