Playing somebody else’s boule

[updated: 2021-11-27]

When a player mistakenly plays somebody else’s boule, it is not considered to be a boule played contrary to the rules. Instead, Article 23 (“A player throwing a boule other than his own”) says—

The player who plays a boule other than his own receives a warning. The boule played is nevertheless valid but it must immediately be replaced…

somebody_elses_boule
The general idea behind this rule seems sensible. Unfortunately, this rule, like so many FIPJP rules, can be difficult to apply in specific situations. Let’s look at some of them.

Situation A
Bob still has unplayed boules of his own. By mistake, Bob picks up and throws a boule that belongs to another player. (The boule may belong to another member of his own team, or to a member of the opposing team).

This is the kind of situation that the rule was designed for. The resolution is clear. The boule that Bob played is picked up and replaced by one of Bob’s unplayed boules.

Situation B
Bob has no unplayed boules of his own, but other members of his team have unplayed boules. Bob mistakenly thinks that he still has one unplayed boule. He picks up and throws a boule that belongs to another player. (The boule may belong to another member of his own team, or to a member of the opposing team).

It is at this point that we realize that the rule doesn’t say WHAT we should use to replace the mistakenly-thrown boule. Fortunately, common sense can provide a reasonable answer. If the mistakenly-thrown boule belongs to the opposing team, it is replaced by a boule belonging to one of Bob’s team-mates. If the mistakenly-thrown boule belongs to one of Bob’s team-mates, it is simply left in place.

Situation C
Bob’s team has no unplayed boules. Bob mistakenly thinks that he still has one unplayed boule. He picks up a boule that belongs to a member of the opposing team and throws it.

Now we’re starting to run into trouble. Bob’s team has no unplayed boules, so the mistakenly-thrown boule can’t be replaced by a boule that belongs to anyone on Bob’s team. What should we do?

At his point we’re beyond the scope of Article 23. This is a case of a Category B boule thrown contrary to the rules. The offended team gets to use the Advantage Rule described in Article 24. They can choose to…

  1. Pick up the illegally-thrown boule. At the same time, they can put anything else that was moved and whose original location was marked back in its original location.
     
  2. Leave everything where it is and carry on with the game. They might want to do this if the illegally-thrown boule is one of their own, and is situated in an advantageous location.

3 thoughts on “Playing somebody else’s boule

  1. I would think most players (myself included) keep hold of their boules. However, I suppose it’s possible that boules picked up from a previous end may end up in the wrong hands.

    • Yup, that’s it. This post was prompted by a recent incident in my club that involved several first-time players. New players often have difficulty telling boules apart, and in this case two players had each picked up one of the other’s boules, and played them, before realizing the mistake. So then the question came up… “What do the rules say about a case like this?”

  2. I’d like to ask your opinion when this situation arises. Three players are playing against another three players. When the score is 7 against 8, one of the players receives a mobile telephone call that he has to leave the game (urgent personal family call) —- a valid reason. What will happen with his boules? How does the game proceed?

    Do you have a different answer if —
    1. the score is 1 against 11 (the player of the losing team has to leave)
    2. when the score is 11 each and a player leaves, always for a valid reason

    Thank you in advance for your guidance. You see, these things happen.


    Jules says—
    See https://petanquerules.wordpress.com/2016/03/19/when-a-player-must-leave/
    The current score is irrelevant. The answer is the same, regardless of what the score is.

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