Petanque is played with steel balls, i.e. boules (boule in French means “ball”) which the contestants throw from a circle marked on the ground, trying to place it as close as possible to the target, i.e. the smaller wooden ball called the jack (also: cochonette).
The boule game is played in the following configurations:
singles (one to one)
doublets (two-person teams)
triplets (three-person teams)
In singles, the players have three balls each, in doublets and triplets the team has 6 balls altogether. The most frequent type of game are undoubtedly team games, triplets to be precise.
A match consists of several ends. An end is the period from throwing the jack to throwing the last boule by the players. The jack and the first ball in an end are thrown by the winner of the previous end (in the case of the first end – lots are drawn). Next, the boule is thrown by the party whose ball is closest to the jack at the time (commonly: does not “hold the point”, does not “sit”) until their ball is placed closest to the target. It is allowed, and even recommended, to shoot the opposing team’s balls and tactically move the jack towards their own balls.
The winner of an end is the team whose ball, after the end finishes, is closest to the jack. This team scores as many points as they have boules located closer to the jack than the opponent’s closest boule.
The winner draws another circle in the spot where the jack is and begins another end.
The winner of the match is the team that scores 13 points first.