Two players are playing singles. In the middle of the second mène (end, round), the score is 1-0. This happens.
A) Is the jack dead or alive?
B) Assuming the jack is dead, which player plays the next boule? Why?
C) Assuming the jack is alive, which player plays the next boule? Why?
This one is just for fun. There are 5 questions; two points per question. Ten points wins you bragging rights. Entries will be judged on correctness, completeness, and clarity. Submit your answers in a comment. This post will be edited to provide the correct answers and name the winners.
Quiz closes midnight, Wednesday April 28, 2021. The quiz is now closed. But if you would like to challenge yourself, you’re still free to take it. The answers are available HERE.
Raymond Ager is living in France now, and (obviously!) has been playing a lot of pétanque. Recently he gave me a great tip that he’s picked up while playing there.
During the agreement of points, the team that lost the end removes what they consider are the opponent’s scoring boules.
That way it’s perfectly clear that the losing team accepts those boules as scoring boules.
What often happens is that the winning team is eager to claim their points. They walk to the head, say something like “well, 3 points for sure”, and immediately remove their supposedly-scoring boules before the opponents have a chance to verify and agree. That’s when the arguments begin— “But you only had 2”, etc. etc. That’s why this tip is so useful. It forestalls that kind of debate.
It’s so useful, in fact, that I think it should be expanded into a general “best practices” recommendation—
At the agreement of points, when it is clear which team is the losing team, the losing team should be in charge of the agreement of points. That is, the losing team should be responsible for removing boules that they agree are scoring boules, and then should be responsible for measuring other boules that need measuring.
This rule needs a snappy name to make it easier to remember and use. Perhaps (in the spirit of “Mugs away!”) something like “Mugs measure!”
The basic subdivision of a game of petanque is a mène, pronounced like the English word “men”. Roughly speaking, a mène consists of three activities – placing the circle and throwing the jack, throwing the boules, and the agreement of points. A 1971 Canadian Petanque Federation rules booklet defines a mène this way–
When all of the players have played all of their boules, we say that they have played a mène. A game is composed of whatever number of mènes is necessary for one of the teams to score a winning number of points.
As a subdivision of a game, a mène is similar to an “end” in curling or lawn bowls (a traditional British boules-type game), a “frame” in American bowling, an “inning” in baseball, a “round” in boxing, or a “set” in tennis.
The English version of the FIPJP rules is a translation into British English, so it translates mène using the lawn bowls term “end“.
When Jean Bontemps made the first American English translation in the 1960s, he translated mène using the American baseball term “inning“.
American petanque players often refer to a mène as a “round“.
The most literal English translation of the ordinary French word mène is probably “direction“, as in “First we played in one direction, then we turned around and played in the other direction.”
In my opinion, in the context of the rules of petanque, mène should be treated as a game-specific technical term and simply adopted, not translated. Every sport has its own specialized terminology for the subdivisions of a game. Tennis has sets, baseball has innings, boxing has rounds, basketball has quarters, bowling has frames. Why shouldn’t petanque have mènes? In English we can make one concession to English-language spelling conventions— we can omit the accent and write simply “mene“.
One of the frequently-asked questions about menes is “When does a mene start and end?” Another way of asking the same question is: “What kinds of events mark the start, and the finish, of a mene?” You can find the answer to that question HERE.
 The French word mène, when used as a verb, means to lead, to go to, to take to, to conduct.
Cette porte mène à la cave.
This door leads to the cellar.
This door goes to the cellar.
This door takes you to the cellar.
When mène is used as a noun— la mène— the most literal English translation is probably “a direction”, as in “This door is the way to the cellar. This door is the direction to the cellar.”