2020 rules booklet

Many players and umpires like to carry a rules booklet in their boule bag. Here is our booklet of the FIPJP’s British English translation of the 2020 rules. Our American English translation is still under development. Download and print on 8.5″x11″ paper or A4 paper.

FIPJP British English booklet    pdf    docx

The 2020 rules, in French and English, in other formats can be found on our RULES ARCHIVE page.

This is what the booklet looks like when assembled.
[updated 2021-01-12: Thanks to Gary Jones for catching a FAQ that hadn't been updated for the 2020 rules.]

2020 rules – placing the jack

The 2020 version of the FIPJP rules contains new rules about throwing the jack. Naturally, this means that players have new questions. Here is one that was recently posted on Ask the Umpire.

Must the thrown jack be 100% inside the side line of the lane? Or can it touch the side line (like the validity of the jack or a boule during the game)?

This question was prompted by the 2020 rules revision, but Article 6 has always said that the jack must be thrown on the assigned terrain. So the real question is— What does it mean to say “on the assigned terrain“?   A hit jack straddling a dead-ball line is considered to be live. Is a thrown jack straddling a side guide line considered to be “on the assigned terrain”?

Mike Pegg’s answer was NO… “The jack can be thrown up to the side line, but not on or over it.” Mike’s opinion is that in order to be “on the assigned terrain” the thrown jack must be COMPLETELY inside the guide lines of the lane; it must not be straddling or even touching a guide line.

The editors of boulistenaute.com disagree. This diagram from boulistenaute.com clearly shows a valid thrown jack straddling a side line.

History and earlier versions of the FIPJP rules don’t really offer any insight, because this issue simply never came up. In the past, if the adjoining lanes were dead ground, the jack always had to be at least 50cm away from the sidelines. If the adjoining lanes were live ground, there was no reason to care very much about whether or not the thrown jack was straddling a guideline. I think that if you travelled back in time to, say, 2016 and asked around, most umpires would probably say YES: a thrown jack straddling a guide line between two live terrains is valid.

The bottom line is that the written rules do not define “on the assigned terrain“. The rules do clearly say that a boule or a hit jack is still alive if it is straddling a dead-ball line. Reasoning by analogy naturally leads to the conclusion that a thrown jack is valid if it is straddling a guide line.

If you’re playing in a competition and this situation comes up, what kind of decision can you expect from the umpire? Well… who knows?


[This post was revised 2021-01-02 after further thought and research led me to change my opinions on this topic. I've deleted or edited comments on the first version of this post that refer to opinions that no longer appear in this post.]

2020 rules – new constraints when placing the circle and the jack

The FIPJP rules have changed. With the 2020 version of the rules comes an almost completely different set of constraints on how far the circle or the thrown jack must be from obstacles, dead-ball lines, and jacks and circles in neighboring lanes. The new rules are in Article 7.

With respect to circles or jacks in neighboring games:

  • When placing the circle or the jack, the placed circle or jack must be at least 1.5 meters from any jack or circle in a game on a neighboring terrain.

With respect to obstacles:

  • The circle must be at least 1 meter from any obstacle.
  • The jack must be at least 50 cm from any obstacle.

With respect to dead-ball lines:

  • The jack must be at least 50cm from any end dead-ball line.

When throwing the jack, note that:

  • There is no requirement for a minimum distance between the jack and a side dead-ball line. This constraint was abolished.
  • Mike Pegg says that “The jack can be thrown up to the side line, but not on or over it.” This means that a thrown jack is not like a hit jack, which can straddle a dead-ball line and still be good.
  • The minimum distance between a thrown jack and a pointing obstacle has been reduced from 1 meter to 50 cm.

To help me remember these new rules, I diagrammed the “landing strip” for the jack (the area where a player is permitted to place the jack) and I did the same for the circle.


The landing strip for the circle
The area where you are allowed to place the circle is shown in pink. Note the areas cut out of the landing strip by constraints from a jack, from another circle, and from a throwing obstacle (a tree). I’ve shown the circle in the neighboring lane as located just across the end dead-ball line— this seems to me the most likely scenario for that particular constraint. (The diagram is drawn to scale; the lane is 4 meters wide.)


The landing strip for the jack
The area where you are allowed to throw or place the jack is shown in pink. Note the areas cut out of the landing strip by constraints from another jack, from end dead-ball lines, from another circle, and from a pointing obstacle (a tree). Note that the minimum distance between a thrown jack and a pointing obstacle (such as a tree) has been reduced from 1 meter to 50 cm. (The diagram is drawn to scale; the lane is 4 meters wide.)


The worst-case scenario for throwing the jack
With these new rules in place, assuming competition conditions (no obstacles), when are your options for throwing the jack most limited? It is in a time-limited game on a 3-meter-wide terrain with the circle 10 meters from the far dead-ball line. The full width of the terrain is available only if you throw the jack to 6-7 meters. There is no place on the terrain where you can throw the jack to 8.5 meters. (The diagram is drawn to scale; the lane is 3 meters wide.)

This one gets my vote for the worst-case scenario. The problematic jacks aren’t opposite each other. The size of the largest contiguous area is smaller than in the previous diagram and there is virtually no place where the full width of the terrain is available.

UPDATES TO THE ORIGINAL POST
[2020-12-28] An error in the English translation of Article 7.3 was discovered, and then correctd. The post is now based on the French version of the rules.]
[2020-12-29] Fixed a mistake in the diagrams. 1.5m distances were being shown as only 1.25m.
[2020-12-29] Added two diagrams of the worst-case scenario.

2020 rules – new FIPJP rules for 2021

The FIPJP has just released a new/revised version of the international rules of petanque. You can download a copy of the 2020 version of the rules (in pdf format) from the FIPJP or CEP web sites. You can also download a copy of the new version (in pdf or docx format) from our archives page. Our archives page also has files generated by Microsoft Word showing the differences between the 2016 rules and the 2020 rules. There is also a link to a quick online reference page where you can easily read the rules on your smart phone.

Our American English translation of the 2020 rules is in development and should be ready in January or February 2021.

Here is an overview of the changes in the 2020 rules. First I list some minor changes to the rules, then I list the more substantial changes.


Minor changes to the rules

1. A few paragraphs have been moved to slightly different places.  In a few places, the wording of the rules has been slightly improved.  In the French rules, the word for a singles game (tête-à-tête) has been replaced by the word individuel.    In Article 20, the expression terrain jouable has been changed to terrain autorisé.   References to the “penalties” specified in Article 35 have been changed to references to the “sanctions” specified there. References to “the umpire” have been replaced by “an umpire”.

2. In Article 22, a boule moved by a boule in the game is no longer “valid”; now it “remains in its new position.” But in Article 12, a jack moved by a boule in the game is still “valid”.

3. Errors left in the text after the 2016 revision have been corrected. In Article 8, the sentence “If any team proceeds differently, it loses the benefit of the throwing of the jack” has been removed.   The incorrect reference to the “second paragraph of Article 8″ in Article 16, was corrected to “third paragraph”. 

4. Over the years, the umpires have tried to specify— everywhere in the rules— that an illegally-moved boule or jack could be put it back in its original location, provided it was marked.  Now they’ve fixed a few places that they’d missed earlier. [Article 22, Article 23] 

5. Now: the rules explicitly state that boules must be hollow (creuse).  [Article 2]

6. Now: if a disabled player plays with only one foot inside the circle, “the other foot must not be in front of it.

7. Now: no-one, as a test, may throw their boules during a game including away from the lane where they are playing. 

Substantive changes to the rules

1. [Article 6] [Article 12]

Formerly Article 12 said: “To avoid any argument, the players must mark the jack’s position. No claim can be accepted regarding boules or jack whose positions have not been marked.”  This was widely, although not universally, interpreted as a hypothetical imperative— “If you want to avoid arguments, then you must mark the jack’s position.” This rule has been REMOVED from Article 12.

It has been REPLACED by a new rule in Article 6: “The players must mark the position of the jack initially and after each time it is moved. No claims will be allowed for an unmarked jack and the umpire will rule only on the position of the jack on the terrain.” This rule is clearly a requirement, not a hypothetical imperative.  Players must mark the position of the thrown-or-placed jack, and must mark the jack’s location again every time it is subsequently moved. Mike Pegg says that it is the responsibility of the player that threw or placed or moved the jack to mark it. I think that in practice it will be acceptable for the jack to be marked by whichever player is closest to the jack at the time, but if there is ever a problem because the jack wasn’t marked, the player that threw or placed or moved the jack will be held responsible and he/she will be given a warning (shown a yellow card).

2. [Article 7] Throw away all of your old rules about how far the circle or the thrown jack must be from… whatever. The new rules are different.

With respect to circles or jacks in neighboring games:

  • When placing the circle or the jack, the placed circle or jack must be at least 1.5 meters from any jack or circle in a game on a neighboring terrain.

With respect to obstacles:

  • The circle must be at least 1 meter from any obstacle.
  • The jack must be at least 50 cm from any obstacle.

With respect to dead-ball lines:

  • The jack must be at least 50cm from any end dead-ball line.
  • Note that there is no requirement for a minimum distance between the jack and a side dead-ball line.

You can find a helpful explanation of the current state of Article 7, complete with colorful diagrams, HERE.

Why 1.5m?   I think it must be because 3m is the minimum width of a terrain in regional competitions. Half that width is just about the right distance to be effective and workable on a 3m-wide terrain.

Formerly the rule was that a thrown jack must be 1 meter away from a side dead-ball line in normal games, and 50 cm in time-limited games. Mike Pegg says that the reason for changing the rule was to provide “more room to play and a uniform distance for timed and not timed games.”

He also says that “The jack can be thrown up to the side line, but not on or over it.” If that is true, it means that a thrown jack is not like a hit jack, which can straddle a dead-ball line and still be good.

3. [Article 8] If Team A fails to throw a valid jack, the opponents must place it on the terrain at a valid position.  ADDED: “If the jack is not placed in a valid position by the second team, the player who placed it shall be subject to the penalties outlined in article 35. In the event of a repeat offence, a new card will be issued to the whole team, in addition to any cards previously received.”

This change addresses a frequently-asked question about the 2016 rules: “If Albert, on Team A, fails to place the jack in a valid location, should he (or Team A) be penalized, or merely instructed to place it properly?”   The rules now answer that question— he should be penalized.

In fact the 2020 rules provide a remarkably detailed account of how the penalty must be imposed. Suppose that Albert fails to place a valid jack. The umpire gives him a warning (yellow card). Then, if any player on Albert’s team fails to place a valid jack (a repeat of the same offense), a yellow card (warning) will be imposed on Albert and on each of his teammates.

4. [Article 16] REMOVED: “It is forbidden to moisten the boules or the jack.”   Mike Pegg says that the rule was removed “because it is extremely difficult if not impossible for the umpire to enforce/check that each and every player is not using a damp cloth.”

5. [Article 28] The phrase “or disturbs” was added to the first sentence, like this: “The team, whose player displaces or disturbs the jack or one of the contested boules, while effecting a measurement, loses the point. If, during the measurement of a point, the Umpire disturbs or displaces the jack or a boule…” This was probably added in order to increase the parallelism between the two sentences.  But it is problematic.   Up to now a player who gently bumps a boule (it rocks in place but doesn’t change location) has been held not to have displaced it. Now I wonder whether or not bumping but not moving a boule counts as “disturbing” it. Mike Pegg says that merely touching a boule counts as disturbing it.

6. [Article 32] [Article 33] Formerly a team was eliminated from the competition if it was late by more than an hour; now they will be eliminated if they are more than 30 minutes late.

7. [Article 33, Late arrival of players] ADDED: After the first end of a game… “the following ends are considered to have started as soon as the last boule from the previous end has stopped.”  For a long time it has been the standard practice in time-limited games to deem one end to have finished, and the next end to have started, when the last boule thrown in the end comes to rest.  Now this same criterion has been adopted by the FIPJP rules for the purposes of determining when a late-arriving player may join a game.

Notes on the English translation

In a few places the English translation was wrong and has been corrected.   For example, in Article 5 the teams may now be “required” (not “asked”) to play on marked terrains.

However, in several important places, the FIPJP English translation is still incorrect.

► Article 16 still mistranslates point nul as “dead end” rather than “null point”.

► Article 29 still mistranslates une mene nulle as an end that is “dead” or “null and void”, rather than “scoreless”.

► In a number of cases, the English rules mistranslate terrain autorisé as “authorised terrain”, rather than “the in-bounds area” of a game.

 

Moving a boule while measuring

A rule that regularly provokes questions from players occurs in Article 28.

The point is lost by a team if one of its players, while making a measurement, displaces the jack or one of the contested boules.

Much of the confusion is caused by the phrase “the point is lost…” and the sloppy way in which players, umpires, and the FIPJP rules often use the expression “to have the point” when they mean “is closer than”.   It would have been much better if the rule had been written this way.

If a player, while making a measurement, displaces the jack or one of the contested boules, then the offending team’s boule is considered to be farther from the jack than the offended team’s boule.

If the rule had been written that way, there would be far fewer questions about what the rule means and how to apply it. 

I call this the Frozen Triangle Rule.  The Frozen Triangle Rule assumes that we’re dealing with a simple case involving two contested boules, A2 and B2, and the jack.  A measurement is being made in order to answer the question— Which boule is closer to the jack?

Suppose that Albert (a player from Team A) is doing the measuring.  While measuring, Albert accidentally moves one of the boules or the jack.  Instantly:

  • The relationships between the contested boules and the jack become frozen, in effect forming a triangle.
  • In this frozen triangle, the boule belonging to the offended team (in this case, Team B) is considered to be closer to the jack than the boule belonging to the offending team.  B2 is “frozen” closer to the jack than A2.

Since B2 is closer to the jack than A2, Team B has the point; Team A must play the next boule. 

The frozen triangle can be broken or unfrozen if later in the game the jack or one of the contested boules is moved.  But as long as none of the balls in the triangle is moved, the triangle remains frozen and the offended team’s boule is considered to be closer to the jack than the offending team’s boule.  This is true during subsequent measurements to determine which team plays next, and it is true during the agreement of points.

As soon as a player accidentally moves a ball, regardless of whether it is his or the opponent’s ball, he loses the benefit of the measure.  The point, concerning this measure, remains with the opposing team until something has moved. This is why when instructing umpires we tell them to stay on the spot until something has changed.  If he was measuring the boules closest to the jack, his team must play next.  [Mike Pegg]

The players should carefully mark each of the boules that were being contested, and the jack, in order to determine if they are subsequently moved during the round. If they remain unmoved at the end of the round, the opponents of the team who made the measuring error are declared to hold the point between the two boules that were being contested, even if their boule would no longer measure as closer.  On the other hand, if either boule or the jack is subsequently moved during play, the declaration described above is rescinded, and each boule stands on its own merit via the normal measuring procedure. [FPUSA umpire’s guide, 2015 edition]

In the quote from Mike Pegg, the last sentence is important.  If [the player] was measuring the boules closest to the jack, his team must play next.  In our first diagram (above), A2 and B2 are indeed the boules closest to the jack.  So in that situation, as Mike points out, Team A plays next.

But consider a different situation. In this situation A1 is closest to the jack, so Team A has the point. Albert is measuring A2 and B2 in order to determine which boule is second-closest.  As before, Albert bumps a ball.  Instantly A2, B2 and the jack are frozen into a triangle, with B2 closer than A2. Now the boules (in order of their distance from the jack) are A1, B2, and A2.  Team A still has the point and so (unlike the previous situation) Team B plays the next boule.

As I noted earlier, much of the confusion surrounding this rule is the result of sloppy writing in the FIPJP rules, and specifically in the way that Article 28 says that “the team loses the point”. What Article 28 should say is that the team’s contested boule is considered to be farther from the jack. In our second situation, when Albert moved a contested ball his team did NOT lose the point.  A1 is still closest to the jack, so Team A still has the point. Team B plays the next boule.


What does “between the jack and the throwing circle” mean?

The Dead Ground Rule in Article 9 says that “The jack is dead … when an out-of-bounds area [terrain interdit, dead ground] is situated between the jack and the throwing circle.” What does “between the jack and the throwing circle” mean?

Consider this diagram. (Note that it is not drawn to scale.) A game is being played on an L-shaped terrain. The jack has been knocked to a place where it is almost, but not completely, “around the corner” from the circle. Or, to put it another way, an area of dead ground is protruding into the terrain; it may possibly be blocking the line of play between the circle and the jack.

The players are uncertain what to do; they are asking questions: Is the jack alive or dead? Is there dead ground between jack and the circle?

What does “between the jack and the circle” mean?

The answer is that “between the jack and the circle” means “between the jack and any part of the circle”.

Suppose you draw lines from the jack to all of the parts of the circle, as in this diagram. If any of those lines crosses dead ground, then there is dead ground between the jack and the circle, and the jack is dead.

Mike Pegg described the rule this way on “Ask the Umpire”.

Imagine two lines extending from the two sides of the circle to the jack. If there is any dead ground between those two lines, the jack is dead.

Visual inspection should be enough to resolve the situation, but if it isn’t, you can take a long tape measure and pull it tight between the jack and various random points on the circle. If in any of those positions the tape crosses dead ground, there is dead ground between the jack and the circle, and the jack is dead.

Is a wooden sideboard a throwing obstacle?

Players sometimes ask— Is a wooden sideboard an obstacle? What they mean is— If the circle is close to a sideboard, should we move it? The question comes up because there is a concern that a squat pointer or a player in a wheelchair might hit a hand on the sideboard when throwing.

On “Ask the Umpire” Mike Pegg has given different anwers to this question at different times. First he ruled that a sideboard is not an obstacle— a concerned squat pointer must stand, not squat, when pointing. Later he stated that a sideboard higher than 20cm is an obstacle because “at this height or higher it may impede a player.” Still later he stated that a board of 25cm is an obstacle.

The problem here is that the FIPJP rules never define the word “obstacle”, so it’s an open question whether any particular thing (such as a sideboard) is a throwing obstacle. So we need to begin by defining “throwing obstacle”. I propose this— something that might prevent a player from throwing with his normal throwing form, or something that might cause injury to a player if he plays with his normal throwing form.

Once we’ve defined our terms, the answer to the question depends on the particular circumstances. In normal circumstances a wooden sideboard is not considered an obstacle. But in a situation where it might prevent a player from throwing with his normal throwing form, or might cause injury to a player if he plays with his normal throwing form, then it should be considered an obstacle and the circle should be moved away from it. So the answer to the question is:

Normally a wooden sideboard is not considered to be a throwing obstacle, but in some cases it is.

Moving the circle away from a throwing obstacle is something that should be done before the jack is thrown. That means that if one of your team’s players is a squat pointer or in a wheelchair, and you’re concerned about the wooden surround, don’t hesitate— SPEAK UP! Don’t wait until after the jack has been thrown to voice your concerns, because by then it is too late.

See also our post on What is an obstacle?

Which team throws next?

[revised: 2020-12-16]
Here is a quick review.

If the point is decided, the team that does not have the point plays next. If the point is null, the teams play alternately until the point is decided, starting with the team that created the null point.
 

Some background concepts

  1. Assuming that both teams still have unplayed boules, there can be one of two situations on the ground.
    • One team has the point: the point is decided (attribué).
    • Neither team has the point: the point is null (un point nul).

     
    So—

    • If the point is decided, the team that does NOT have the point throws next.
    • If the point is null, the teams throw alternately until the point is decided, starting with the team that threw the ball that created the null point.

     

  2. The point is null in two situations.
    • The best boules of the two teams are the same distance from the jack (an equidistant boules situation).
    • There are no boules on the terrain (an empty terrain situation).

     

  3. There are two ways for a team to create an empty terrain situation.
    • The team throws the jack to start a mene. Throwing out the jack creates an empty terrain situation, so the team that threw the jack starts alternating play by throwing the first boule.
       
    • The team throws a boule that knocks out all of the boules on the terrain and then itself rolls out-of-bounds, leaving the terrain empty. When that happens, the team starts alternating play by throwing the next boule.

These procedures are described in Article 16 and Article 29 of the FIPJP rules (see below for the text of those articles). Unfortunately, those articles don’t describe them clearly, so players are often unsure about how to apply them in unusual situations. Let’s look at some unusual situations and see how they should handled.

(A) The opening boules keep going out-of-bounds.
What if the first boule thrown goes out-of-bounds?
What if the first boule and the second boule go out-of-bounds?

Team A creates a null point by throwing the jack. It then starts alternating play by throwing its first boule, A1. If A1 goes out-of-bounds, then Team A has failed to decide the point (the terrain is still empty), so Team B continues alternating play by throwing its first boule, B1. If B1 goes out-of-bounds, then Team B has also failed to decide the point (the terrain is still empty), so Team A continues alternating play by throwing its next boule, A2. And so on. In an extreme situation, if each of the first four boules (A1, B1, A2, B2) goes out of bounds, play looks like this.

  • Team A throws the jack (creating an empty terrain situation).
  • Team A throws boule A1 (to start alternating play).
  • Team B throws B1 (continues alternating play).
  • Team A throws A2 (continues alternating play).
  • Team B throws B2 (continues alternating play).
  • Team A throws A3.


(B) An equidistant boules situation comes back from the dead.
Team A points boule A1, Team B points boule B1, and B1 comes to rest at the same distance from the jack as A1. (left, below) Because Team B has created an equidistant boules situation, Team B starts alternating play by throwing boule B2.

  • B2 gains the point. (center)
  • Team A throws A2, which hits away B2. Now A1 and B1 are again in an equidistant boules situation. (right)

Players sometimes think of this as “bringing back” the original equidistant boules situation. This is a mistake. What has happened is that another equidistant boules situation has been created. Equidistant boules situations are like solar eclipses. They can happen over and over again, sometimes involving the same objects in the same arrangement, but each episode is a different event. The throw of B1 created an equidistant boules situation (left) that lasted until it was ended by the throw of B2 (center). The throw of A2 removed B2 and created another equidistant boules situation (right). The situation on the right is similar to, but different, from the situation on the left, just as this year’s solar eclipse is is similar to, but different, from last year’s solar eclipse. Team A has created a second equidistant boules situation, so it starts alternating play by throwing its next boule, A3.


(C) One of the equidistant boules is exactly replaced.
Suppose that Team A points boule A1. Team B points boule B1, which comes to rest at exactly the same distance from the jack as A1. Team B starts alternating play; they throw boule B2, trying to shoot A1. But the shot misses! B2 knocks away B1 away and exactly replaces it. Now, A1 and B2 are equidistant.

Players sometimes think this has created “a new null point” (“c’est un nouveau point nul“) “because it is a different boule that is now equidistant from the jack.” This is a mistake. While it is true that the boules involved have changed (and in this sense there is “a new situation”), the relevant fact is that the point was not decided. Alternating play therefore continues. Since Team B was the last to play, Team A throws next.


(D) An equidistant boules situation is converted into an empty terrain situation.
Suppose that Team A throws boule A1. Team B throws boule B1, which ends up exactly equidistant from the jack. Team B starts alternating play by throwing next. Team B wants to use boule B2 to shoot A1, but misses. B2 knocks both boules on the terrain out-of-bounds and then itself rolls out of bounds. There are no boules left on the terrain.

Players sometimes think that this creates “a new null point” because an equidistant boules situation was changed into an empty terrain situation. This is a mistake. As I said in connection with the previous situation: while it is true that the situation has changed, the relevant fact is that the point was not decided. Alternating play therefore continues. Since Team B was the last to play, Team A throws next.


The relevant articles in the FIPJP rules of petanque.

Article 16
If the first boule played goes into an out-of-bounds area, it is for the opponent to play, then alternately as long as there are no boules in the in-bounds area. If no boule is left in the in-bounds area after a shooting throw or a pointing throw, apply the provisions of Article 29 concerning a null point (point nul).

Article 29 – Boules equidistant from the jack
When the two boules closest to the jack belong to different teams and are at an equal distance from it… If both teams still have boules, the team that played the last boule plays again, then the opposing team, and so on alternately until the point belongs to one of them.

How do you say the score in petanque?

How do you say the score in petanque?

Before we look at the question of how to say or report the score in a game of petanque, let’s look at the general question of how to report the score of a game in any sport. Suppose that you are a spectator watching a game between Team A which has 3 points and Team B which has 4 points. Team A is the host (“home”) team; Team B is the visiting (“away”) team. You turn to your companion and say “Now the score is…”

  • If you are in the USA, you probably say the highest score first, e.g. “4-3” or “4-3 in favor of Team B”. In most American sports this is the customary practice during the game, and the almost universal practice after the game is over and the winner is known: the winner’s score is given first, followed by the loser’s score: “9-8, Team B”.
     
  • You may say the score of the home team first (“3-4”) or the score of the visiting team first (“4-3”). Giving the score of the visiting team first seems to be an American custom, originating with American baseball. The rest of the world does the reverse, typically giving the score of the home team first. That’s the difference between American football and soccer.
     
  • In some sports, games have rounds or “innings” in which the teams play different roles— in an “inning”, one team is “in” (e.g. batting) while the other team is “out” (e.g. fielding). During an inning in these games the traditional practice is often to report the score of the “in” team first. During a set in tennis, for example, one player “serves” and the other player “receives service”. In this context the standard practice is to say the score of the server first.

With petanque, at least in the USA, after a game has finished the standard practice seems to be to report the score of the winning team first. The question that most interests me is how we talk about the score during the game, after the agreement of points at the end of each mène.

  • (A) In the USA, perhaps the most common technique is to use the highest-score-first technique— “4-3” or “4-3, in favor of us (or you).”
     
  • (B) Another approach is to copy tennis’s practice of saying the score of the server (or in this case, the serving team) first. In petanque the “serving” team (the team that throws out the jack for the next mène) is the team that won the last mène. So you first say the score of the team that won the last mène. If you know that the score is 3-4, and you know that it was your team that won the last mène, you know that your team’s score is 3.
     
  • (C) There is another approach, also inspired by tennis. In tennis, before serving, the server calls out the score, saying his/her own score first. In petanque, after the agreement of points, the winning team verbally reports the score from its viewpoint (“3-4”), to which the opposing team responds by verbally reporting the score from its viewpoint (“4-3”). This produces a “call and response” exchange (an “affirm and confirm” exchange”?) which usefully confirms and finalizes the two teams’ agreement on the score.

I think that each of these techniques is probably used by some group, somewhere, in the USA or in France or elsewhere. What I don’t know, and would like to know, is:

  1. Is there a group that uses a different technique than the ones I’ve mentioned here?
  2. Is there one particular method that is more widely used than the others?