How to play Péntanque
- The starting team places the throwing circle on the floor.
Every player will then have to throw from the circle during that round (in other words, this will be the starting point for all players).
- The first player throws the Jack (le cochonnet), which must land at least 15 feet away (otherwise it’s too easy / too hard and you need to throw the Jack again.)
- A player from the opposing team attempts their first throw, as close to the Jack as possible (since that is how you win the game!)
Both feet need to be within the circle and on the ground. (Therefore, there is no running before throwing the boule!)
The palm of your hand usually faces down (upper-hand throw), but this is not compulsory. However, throwing this way will allow you to get more control when giving your boule a slight spin.
- The opposing team also attempts one throw. This way, we can see who is “having the point”, i.e which team is leading thanks to having their throw closest to the Jack.
Sometimes, the throws can look at equal distance from the Jack and it can be really tricky to tell which team gets the point. We therefore use a meter, a piece of string or a compass to measure and find out. (In the official rules of petanque, using your feet to measure is forbidden, but many people do it anyway when playing informally.)
- The team who does not have the point throws next and continues to do so until they gain the point or run out of throws.
The players within one team can play in any order, depending on whether they require the skills of one of their “pointeurs” or “tireurs”!
- Pointer = to point (to throw so that it gets as close to the jack as possible)
- Un pointeur = a pétanque players whose task is to point / to aim at the jack.
- Tirer = to knock away an opponent’s throw – a good way to get rid of the throws of the opposing team that are close to the Jack (the cochonnet)! By the way, if the Jack (the cochonnet) is moved/knocked away by a ball, the game still goes on (but it’s not very ethical to do so deliberately!)
- Un tireur = a pétanque player who is skilled at knocking away the opponent’s throws.
6. At the end of an end, the team with the throw closest to the Jack scores one point for each of its throws that is closer than the opposing team’s closest throw.
Rules of pétanque : how to count the points (example)
Team B is winning this round, because the closest boule to the cochonnet is theirs. They only get one point though, because the second closest boule belongs to the opposing team. (who scores nothing for this round).
This time, team A wins the round, because the closest boule to the cochonnet is theirs. The second closest boule also belongs to them, but not the third closest. Team A therefore scores 2 points for this round (Team B scores nothing.)
The score at the end of these two rounds is:
A = 2 points
B = 1 point
- The starting circle for the next round is positioned where the Jack was on the round that just ended (so we have a new starting point).
- The game ends when one teams reaches 13 points.