Basic Rules

(Adapted from the Scottish Petanque Association, available at )

Purpose of the game

To place your boules nearer the jack than your opponents.

The game is played by two teams of one, two, three players.

Singles and Pairs

In teams of one and two, each player plays with three boules.


In teams of three each player plays with two boules.

Starting the game.

The first team is chosen by tossing a coin. Any player in this team chooses the starting place and draws a circle on the ground in which to stand. The circle should be between 35cm and 50cm across. Sometimes plastic circles are used instead. These are always 50cm across.

Delivering the Jack

A player from the same team now throws the jack so that it rests between 6m and 10m away and not nearer than 1m from any obstacle (wall, tree, etc).

Foot position

Both of the throwers feet must remain on the ground inside the circle until the jack has hit the ground.

The Lead

Any player from this team then throws the first boule trying to place near the jack. The player’s feet must again remain on the ground inside the circle.

A player in the second team comes into the circle and tries to throw his boule even nearer to the jack or knock away the leading boule placed there by the other team. The boule nearest to the jack is the scoring boule at this time..

it is then up to players in the team not leading (i.e. the team who is not closest to the jack) to throw as many boules as are necessary so that their team has the leading boule. A player from the other team tries to get the leading boule and so on.

Remaining boules.

When one team has no more boules left to play, the players of the other team throw their remaining boules and try to place them closer to the jack than their opponent’s closest boule.

Conclusion of an end.

An end is over when each team has thrown all its boules.

Scoring an end.

The winning teams get as many points as it has boules which are closer to the jack than the best placed boule of the losing team.

Determining the shot

Use a tape measure when the distance between boules and the jack cannot be judged by eye.

Starting the next end

A new end is started by a player of the team which won the previous end, who throws the jack from the point where the previous end finished. A throwing circle is drawn, and the game continues.

Conclusion of the game.

The game concludes when a team has scored 13 points or more.