Pétanque in Two Minutes Quick Start Guide – v3.5


  • Equipment: 12 boules, target jack and tape measure
  • Pétanque means “anchored feet” Unlike the run-up of Bocce and Lawn Bowling, the Pétanque thrower stands in a 50cm circle and neither foot may be lifted until the thrown boule hits the terrain.
  • The Target Jack is the “bull’s-eye”. Initially it is tossed six to ten meters from the edge of the throwing circle.
  • Holding the Point The team with the boule closest to the jack is “holding the point”. The opposing team must throw until they are either: a) holding the point or b) are out of boules.

Four Ways to Hold the Point

Throw a boule that:

  1. Stops closer to the target jack than the opponent’s best boule
  2. Strikes the opponent’s best boule driving it away; leaving one of your boules closest to the jack
  3. Strikes a teammate’s boule moving it closest to the jack
  4. Hits and moves the target jack to a location where one of your boules is closest

Number of Boules and Throwing Order

  • In doubles each player throws three boules & in triples each player throws only two boules.
  • There is no predefined throwing order. Any player on the team which is not holding the point may throw next; however, each player may only throw their allocated number of boules ( 2 or 3)

Winning the Game: The first team to accumulate 13 points (or after a predetermined number of ends)


Only one team scores at the completion of each end. The team with the closest boule to the jack is awarded one point for every boule which is closer than the opponent’s best boule. One to six points are allocated. In relatively rare occasions (equidistant best boules or out-of-bounds jack) an end is declared “null” and no points are awarded.

To Start a Game:

  1. Pick teams
  2. Flip a coin
  3. The toss winner places the rond, tosses the jack and throws first.

Repeat These Five Steps to Start a New End

  1. A member of the winning team steps into the rond and throws the jack 6m to 10m from the rond’s edge and at least 1m from any obstacle (tree, bench, fountain, etc.) After one failure to throw the jack properly the opposition may drop the jack at any legal location. However, the winning team always makes the first throw.
  2. A player from the winning team places both feet completely in the rond and throws a boule attempting to make it stop near the target jack. That team is now holding the point.
  3. A player from the other team steps into the rond and throws, attempting to hold the point.
  4. The team not holding the point continues to throw until they are holding or have run out of boules.
  5. When all 12 boules have been thrown the end is complete and points are allocated.

If neither team has accumulated 13 points, a new end is started. The team which won the previous end drops the rond around the jack’s current location and play resumes at Step 1)