“We’ll take the point”

[revised: 2018-08-18]

The score was tied at 12-12. Robert and I had the point, and Robert had one unplayed boule. Our opponents threw their last boule, but failed to gain the point; we had won! I was ready to declare victory, but Robert insisted that the game wasn’t over until all boules had been thrown. So we waited while Robert went to the circle and threw away his last boule. THEN we declared victory. Was Robert right?


Team B is out of boules; Team A still has one unplayed boule. There are many boules close to the jack. Team A believes that they have the point, and they are afraid that if they play their remaining boule they might mess up things around the head and lose the point that they have. So the captain of Team A says “we’ll take the point” and walks to the head for the agreement of points.

The teams measure, and they discover that Team A actually does NOT have the point. So the captain of Team A says, “Well, in that case we will play our remaining boule.” Team B protests and says that Team A, by saying “we’ll take the point” has given up the right to play any more boules. Who is right? Can team A play their remaining boules?

In some clubs there is a custom of saying “we’ll take the point” rather than simply dropping the team’s remaining unplayed boules. This is NOT part of the FIPJP rules. The FIPJP rules generally do not recognize verbal actions. So if a team says “we’ll take the point” and then wants to retract that statement, they can do so (because in the eyes of the FIPJP rules, they never said anything in the first place). (Compare verbally accepting a thrown jack and then challenging it.) An FIPJP umpire’s answer to Question 2 will be: YES, team A can play their remaining boules.

Note that there is a dissenting opinion from the Dutch petanque federation (NJBB).

“When a team chooses to say “we’ll take the point” they are in effect saying “Consider all of my boule(s) as thrown: Let’s determine the final score”. That is, by saying “we’ll take the point” they are giving up the right to play their remaining unplayed boules.They are in effect VIRTUALLY throwing away their last boules. By analogy with the rule that you may not re-throw a boule once it has been thrown, a boule that has been thrown (even if it was thrown virtually and not actually) can’t be thrown again.”

I agree with the FIPJP position. Team B was not harmed in any way when team A said “we’ll take the point”, and it will not be harmed in any way by allowing team A to retract that statement. No harm, no foul.

The FIPJP position means that teams should never say “we’ll take the point”, and should never accept it from an opposing team. Teams should always play all of their boules, and insist that the other team does so also, even if that means simply tossing unplayed boules aside. The one reasonable exception to this rule occurs at the end of a game. If it is clear that a team has won the game, there is no reason for them to throw away any remaining unplayed boules. Robert, in Question 1, didn’t recognize this exception, which is why he insisted on throwing his last boule. I don’t think that that was absolutely necessary, but Robert’s insisting on it wasn’t crazy either.


One thought on ““We’ll take the point”

  1. Ernesto Santos left some interesting comments on Facebook. I’ve copied them here, with a bit of editing. —Jules

    A related issue is when (in singles, say) a player is left to play his last boule when the opponent does not even have a boule in the terrain. It is customary just to allow that last point without the player actually throwing his boule. But umpires expect the point to be played even if all that’s required is to drop the boule anywhere in-bounds to gain the point. So in an umpired game a player just drops his last boule in front of his feet.

    Your [original] post suggested that “we’ll take the point” might be more common among European players than American players. I don’t think this is a strictly European vs America thing. It’s just common sense. You can find many videos that show instances of teams not playing last boules. And more interestingly: instances when a team gives up the game before the last boule is thrown. It’s the opposite side of the same coin.

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