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Objective: The game of pétanque was adapted from boules. The cochonnet (also known as the jack, the target ball) is thrown to a spot within the playing area, then both teams try to get their boules as close to it as possible.

After the first boule has been thrown by a member of the starting team, the second team plays until at least one of its boules is closer to the cochonnet than their opponents boules. If they manage to do this before they run out of boules, the other team resumes play until their boules are closer or until they have run out of boules.

This sequence continues until both teams have played all their boules. This is called an 'end'. The team which finishes the end with their boule(s) closer to the cochonnet wins, and receive one point for every boule which is closer to the cochonnet than the opponents.

The maximum score for each end is six points. The game ends when one team has 13 points.


A toss decides which team will choose the terrain and throw the cochonnet first. A member of the team winning the toss chooses the starting point and then traces a circle large enough for both feet to stay inside. It must measure between 35 and 50 centimetres (14 and 20 inches) in diameter.

The circle must be at least 1 metre (3 feet) from all obstacles, and also the boundary of the playing area. The player throws the cochonnet while within the circle.

The game may be played on any terrain, but if a marked area is required, its dimensions must be 15 by 4 metres (49 by 13 feet) for national and international competitions. Variations down to 12 by 3 metres (39 by 10 feet) may apply for other competitions.

Teams may consist of three players against three (triples), two players against two (doubles), or one player against one (singles). In triples, each player uses two boules, and in doubles and singles, each player uses three.

Playing the game

Boules must not be tampered with in any way. Boules or the cochonnet must not be changed during a game except when lost or broken.

It is acceptable to try and knock opponents boules away from the cochonnet.

If the cochonnet is moved, the game continues, as long as it does not roll beyond an agreed boundary, and that it remains visible from the circle. If it goes outside the boundary or is not visible, it is declared 'dead' and the end is cancelled and restarted.

If the cochonnet is knocked out of play when one team has thrown all its boules and the other team still has boules to play, the team with the boules gets one point for every boule left to play.

Once the cochonnet has been thrown, players have a maximum of one minute to play their boule. Both feet must be inside the circle, and must remain so until the boule has his the ground. No other part of the body may touch the ground outside the circle, and all throws must be made from the same circle for the whole end.


There are three main kinds of shot in pétanque:



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