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Last update:

10 Mar 2006

General background: How to play Pétanque


This summary is based on the much more comprehensive Rules of pétanque and is meant only as an introduction to them and to the game.  If you take up the game at all seriously, its a good idea to read the proper rules (and play by them!).

Pétanque games are properly played between two teams of one (singles), two (doubles) or three (triples) players.  For singles and doubles, each player uses three boules, but only two each are used in triples games.  For non-competitive play, other formations can be used, but any “formal” game should meet these requirements.

“Competition” boules are hollow and are made of metal, weighing between 650 and 800 grammes, and having a diameter between 70.5 and 80 millimetres, and are indelibly stamped with the maker’s mark and the weight (and possibly other permissible markings).  There are other boules manufactured that do not reach this specification, sometimes known as “dog boules” or “leisure boules”.  These are fine for starting out and having fun, but are not permitted for use in any competition.  The jack (or cochonnet) should be made entirely of wood and have a diameter of 25mm to 30mm, and may be painted (jolly useful if the light is poor!).

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