Lake Tahoe Petanque Club

About Petanque

Petanque vs. Bocce

Petanque (Pron. pay-tonk or peh-tank) or Boules (Rhymes with fool) are not the same as Bocce Ball, but similar

Bocce Ball is of Italian descent and is more of a bowling game.  The French game of Petanque is more of a tossing game. Petanque is what we play at our Lake Tahoe Club.

Bocce balls are rolled palm up whereas Petanque balls or boules are thrown palm down to get a backspin. Petanque boules are about the size of an orange and always made of metal. Bocce balls are the size of a grapefruit and made of resin or wood.

The Game of Petanque 

Petanque can be enjoyed at any level. Each country has its own governing body and there is club, regional, national and international competitions, with an annual World Championship.

Triples teams are usually made up of a pointer, shooter and middle player, who can point or shoot. Doubles teams are a pointer and a shooter. Single players can do both.

In France, Petanque is traditionally played on an uneven, unprepared terrain that could have tree roots, stones and gullies where the rainwater runs. Reading the terrain is a part of the game.

In the USA, many terrains are smoother and some clubs rake the terrain to remove debris. Try to play on all types of terrain to improve your pointing skills. When you have the jack or cochonnet (literally "piglet") you choose where to play to your own advantage and the other team’s disadvantage.

Petanque is tactical game. Where to place the jack is the first concern. Throwing the jack is an important part of the game that needs to be practiced. Selecting a good landing spot for the jack is the important for good pointing. You are looking for a landing spot that’s flat and free from rocks. The rules allow for the team about to play to fill in any one hole. You are not allowed to smooth over the terrain or prepare a landing spot during a game.

Choose the correct size, weight and hardness of boule that fits your hand. The permitted weights are 650 - 800g and sizes are 70.5 - 80mm.

The different shots are pointing and shooting. Pointing is trying to get a boule near the jack. Shooting is trying to hit the opponent’s boule out of the way.

There are three main pointing shots:

Rolling: The boule lands close to the player and rolls most of the way to the jack
Half Lob: The boule lands about halfway between the circle and the jack and then rolls.
High Lob: The boule is thrown high with a lot of backspin. It descends nearly vertically and lands near the jack.

The classic shooting shot is a direct boule to boule hit, also called au fer. The alternative is a rolling shot, also called à la rafle, where the boule rolls along the ground before hitting the target boule.

Throwing the first boule should be considered.  A boule in front of the jack is better than one behind or by the side. If a boule is too close to the jack a good team will shoot it out of the way.

Throw a pointing boule if you think you can beat the opponent’s boule, otherwise shoot.

However, think about:

The score and how many points you need
The ability of the players
The risk of a shot going wrong!

A special feat is a Carreau, where a shooter knocks the opponent's boule out of the way while leaving his boule at or very near the point of impact.

To do the bec means targeting one of your boules already in play and knocking it toward the jack.

If you beat an opponent 13 to 0 it is called to Fanny or Mettre Fanny. It’s traditional in France for the losing player or team to kiss the butt of a girl called Fanny. As there’s seldom a cooperative Fanny's butt handy, there is more often than not a picture, woodcarving or pottery so that Fanny’s bottom is available! Nowadays, the team that made “fanny” offers to buy the winning team a drink.

Frequently Asked Questions:

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How to play:

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Official Rules

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Federation of Petanque USA

Petanque America - THE Source for Boules and Accessories. The only store in America dedicated to petanque, the fastest growing outdoor bowling game in the world.

playaboule - Since 1996 the #1 Store for Petanque Products in North America

All About Petanque - What Americans want to know about petanque

PetanqueTube - Connects players around the world The online petanque and boule community

The Obut shop - No. 1 manufacturer of petanque boules

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