Time-limited games

[revised 2022-01-02]
All big competitions have the same problem. Even with a single-elimination format, many rounds of games must be played in order to reduce the field of competitors to the eight teams that will play in the quarter-finals. All of the games in a round must have finished before match-ups between the survivors can be arranged and the next round can begin. This means that if even one game in a round goes on for too long, the entire competition is brought to a halt, waiting for that game to finish. [But see the comment by Jac Verheul.]

The problem for big competitions, then, is to devise a way to play short-form games— games that can be played in a limited and predictable amount of time.

Short-form games

There are three ways that you can play a short-form game.

  • You can play to a winning score of less than 13.
  • You can limit the time allowed for the game.
  • You can limit the number of menes (ends) played.

In the last two cases, if the allotted amount of time or number of menes has completed and the score is tied, then an additional tie-breaker mene must be played to decide the winner.

Note that the idea of a tie-breaker mene isn’t as simple as it seems. Playing one additional mene can not guarantee that that the tie will be broken. In fact, it cannot guarantee that the game will ever finish. If the jack is shot out-of-bounds while both teams still have unplayed boules, the mene is scoreless— the tie remains unbroken and another mene must be played. In theory, it is possible for the two teams to play an infinite series of scoreless menes without breaking the tie.

In order to guarantee that a game will finish in a finite amount of time, it is necessary to invent the idea of (what I will call) a Guaranteed Tie-Breaker mene. This is a special kind of mene in which the jack is not allowed to go dead. If the jack is hit out-of-bounds, it is put back on the terrain and the game continues. (If it was marked, it is put back on the mark. Otherwise, it is put on the terrain near the spot where it crossed the dead-ball line.)

The competition organizer specifies the rules for short-form games

Short-form games are considered to be part of the way a competition is organized, so specifying the rules for short-form games is the responsibility of the competition organizer.

The CEP (Confédération Européenne de Pétanque) is the organizer of the Eurocup, and other competition organizers look to the Eurocup as a model for organizing their own competitions. The CEP’s choice for a short-form game is a time-limited format.

At first, when playing time-limited games, when the time-limit was announced (by a whistle, say), any mene in progress was played to its finish. At that point, if one of the teams was in the lead, then that team was the winner. If the score was tied, one additional tie-breaker mene was played. But there was a problem. As a game approached its time-limit, the team in the lead would often deliberately play slowly, “running out the clock” and limiting their opponents’ opportunities to score more points. The CEP apparently considered this tactic to be contrary to the spirit of the game. Mike Pegg reports

When timed games were first introduced, one more end was played after the whistle was blown. Teams would deliberately play slowly, taking a full minute etc., so that the opponent had no chance of winning or drawing with them. To prevent this sort of tactic, it was decided to allow for two extra ends.

In this new model, games are played to the normal winning score of 13. Any game that hasn’t finished when the time limit is reached, then switches to a limited-number of menes model. Basically, a “time-limited” game is a game in which reaching the time limit triggers a switch into a different mode of play.

  1. Games are played as they normally are. When one team achieves the winning score of 13, the game is declared to be finished and the team that achieved the winning score is declared the winner.
     
  2. For any game that is still in progress when the time-limit is reached, the teams finish playing the mene that is currently in progress. At that point, if neither team has achieved a winning score, the game switches to a limited-number of menes model in which the allowed number of menes is limited to two.

    Note that “the game is still in progress” means that neither team has reached the winning score (13 points) so the game has not yet finished.

    Note that any game that is still in progress, whether or not the score is tied, will go on to play two extra ends. The two extra ends, therefore, are not tie-breaker ends. They are meant to give the game a few more ends (rather than a little more time) in which to finish.
     
  3. If, after either of these two extra menes, one team achieves the winning score, the game is declared to be finished and the team that achieved the winning score is declared the winner.
     
  4. For any game that is still in progress after the two extra ends, if one team has a score that is higher than the other team’s score, the game is declared to be finished and the team with the higher score is declared the winner.
     
  5. For any game that is still in progress after the two extra ends, if the score is tied, the game plays a third, Guaranteed Tie-Breaker mene. After that mene, the game is declared to be finished and the team with the higher score is declared the winner.

Here’s how the CEP rules for timed, Swiss system games describe it.

[The time limit is 75 minutes for a triples game, 60 minutes for a doubles game, and 45 minutes for a singles game.]

[A]t the end of the time limit the current end should be completed plus two more ends. In the case of equal scores after the two additional ends, the teams will play one more end. During this extra end, the jack cannot become dead (out of play). If the jack goes out of the defined playing area it will be put back in its original position, or if that is not marked then in the nearest valid place to where it went out of play.


Here’s how the FIPJP competition rules for the world championships describe it, in Article 19 of Règlement des Championnats du Monde.

All games in the World Championships are played to 13 points, with the exception of games to which a time limit is applied. [For world championship games, the time limit is 75 minutes for a men’s triples game, 60 minutes for any other kind of triples game, 60 minutes for a doubles game, and 45 minutes for a singles game.] If neither team has reached 13 points before the end of the fixed time, it will be contested for up to two additional ends. In the event of a tie at the end of the extra ends there will be a final end in which the jack, if it can be moved, will never be dead.


A problem with the idea of a guaranteed tie-breaker

There is a problem with these rules for time-limited games. The “guaranteed” tie-breaker does not guarantee that the tie will be broken after the third mene. The fact that the jack cannot go dead does not mean that one team must score. There can be a null point at the end of the third mene (an equidistant boules situation, or an empty terrain situation), which means that neither team scores, and the two scores remain tied.

It may be argued that something that is so unlikely to happen is nothing to worry about. But as an ex-computer programmer, I know that if there is a loophole in a set of rules so that a problem CAN happen, it WILL happen. The only question is about how long it will be before it happens. This is true of computer programs, and it is true of the rules for time-limited games.

Some interesting, unintended consequences

In time-limited games, all boundary lines are dead-ball lines. Before 2020, that meant that a thrown jack had to be at least a meter (sometimes: at least half a meter) from a side dead-ball line. But in 2020 the rules changed. Now a jack can be thrown right next to a side dead-ball line. And that has introduced an interesting new tactic into time-limited games.

Now, at the start of an extra mene, it is common for a team with a higher score to throw the jack very close to the side string. And then, rather than pointing with their first boule, they shoot the jack out-of-bounds. This finishes the extra mene without changing the score and without affecting the team’s lead. With this tactic, a team that has a good shooter and is leading at the beginning of the first or second extra mene has virtually won the game.

Feet and hands inside the circle

A regular question on petanque forums is: What does “inside the circle” mean? But you never see the question put that way. Instead, you see questions about what a player is or is not permitted to do while throwing.

  1. Can the toe of a player’s shoe be above the front of the circle, as long as it doesn’t actually touch the circle?
  2. Can the heel of a squat pointer’s shoe be above the back of the circle, as long as it doesn’t actually touch the circle?
  3. Can a squat pointer balance himself by touching the ground inside the circle with his non-throwing hand?
  4. Can a squat pointer touch the ground inside the circle with a knee?

Article 6 (title: “Start of play and rules regarding the circle”) says—

The players’ feet must be entirely on the inside of the circle and not encroach on its perimeter …. No part of the body may touch the ground outside the circle.

This rule, at least with respect to our four questions, seems to me to be quite clear. Imagine that the inside edge of the circle projects an invisible wall upward into the sky, so that the player is in effect standing or squatting inside an invisible cylinder. Article 6 says, in effect, that (a) no part of the player’s feet may protrude out through that cylinder, and (b) no part of the player’s body may touch the ground outside that cylinder. (Note that this does allow a player’s arms, knees, and torso to extend outside of the cylinder during his backswing and throw. They will be outside of the cylinder, yes, but they will not be touching the ground outside of the cylinder.)

If you can visualize such a cylinder, it is easy to answer our four questions.

  1. Can the toe of a player’s shoe be above the front of the circle, as long as it doesn’t actually touch the circle? No. His toe (which is part of his foot) would be outside the cylinder.
  2. Can the heel of a squat pointer’s shoe be above the back of the circle, as long as it doesn’t actually touch the circle? No. His heel (which is part of his foot) would be outside the cylinder.
  3. Can a squat pointer balance himself by touching the ground inside the circle with his non-throwing hand? Yes. His non-throwing hand would not be touching the ground outside the cylinder.
  4. Can a squat pointer touch the ground inside the circle with a knee? Yes … if he can do so while both feet are inside the cylinder and touching the ground!

These answers seem clear and easy. And everybody agrees on the first answer.
Surprisingly, there is disagreement about the other three.

New Zealand Petanque disagrees with answer #2. For many years the NZP rules interpretation guidelines have said

When crouching in the circle to play a boule/jack, the players heel can encroach over the inside edge of the circle, provided it does not touch the circle. If the player stands up and onto the circle before the boule/jack has touched the ground, they have stood on the perimeter of the circle, and not had both feet entirely inside the circle as required. A warning (yellow card) will be given.

International umpire Mike Pegg disagrees with answers #3 and #4. Mike’s answer, in both cases, is NO. Mike maintains that the only parts of the player’s body that may touch the ground are his/her feet.

This leaves umpires and players in a quandary — Should we follow what the written rules say? Or what Mike Pegg says? Or what the New Zealand umpires committee says? Or what seems sensible to us?

I vote for following the written rules. I admit that there are some situations where applying the rules as written can be difficult or unfair. But these situations aren’t among them. With respect to these four questions, the answers provided by the rules are clear and fair.

With respect to question #2, I can understand NZP’s position. As a practical matter, it can be difficult for an umpire to judge whether a squat pointer’s raised heel has encroached on the circle. So except for the most egregious cases an umpire will not, and should not, penalize a player.

With respect to questions #3 and #4, I think that we have to be careful not to read into the rules things that aren’t actually there. We know that players have a tendency to invent mythical rules. You can’t fill a hole with your hand. You can’t wear gloves while throwing a boule. I think that Mike’s position is a product of that tendency. A squat pointer can’t balance himself by touching the ground inside the circle with his non-throwing hand, seems to me to be just another mythical rule. It has absolutely no basis in the written rules.

Mike’s position also seems to me somewhat contrary to the spirit of the game, which allows handicapped players quite a bit of latitude when it comes to standing inside the circle. A squat-pointing player is going to put a hand on the ground only if he absolutely must do so in order to maintain his balance. No completely able-bodied player is going to do it. It seems to me, therefore, that it is in keeping with the spirit of the game, as well as the letter of the law, to permit a squat-pointer to balance himself with a hand on the ground inside the circle.

 updated 2021-11-21

Is the Geologic red jack legal?


Is the Geologic “red jack” legal?

The short answer
NO.

The mid-length answer
MAYBE, DEPENDING ON THE CIRCUMSTANCES.

There are two ways to play. On the one hand there is play strictly according to the FIPJP rules. On the other hand there is friendly “social” play. The red jack is not approved for use in FIPJP-sanctioned competitions, so in that sense it is not legal. (See below for a discussion of the terms “legal” and “approved”.)

On the other hand, for friendly, social play you should feel free to use the red jack as long as the other players are agreeable. The red jack was designed to be a “leisure” or “recreational” jack, so if anybody in your group is playing with leisure boules, your group should have no problem using the red jack. The red jack does meet the size and weight requirements for jacks, just as leisure boules meet the size and weight requirements for boules.

The long answer
Let’s start with some information about the jack itself.

  • Decathlon was selling the red jack internationally as early as 2019, but it only appeared on the American Decathlon web store in the spring of 2021.
  • The distinctive feature of the red jack is that it is paramagnetic, that is, you can pick it up with a magnetic boule lifter.
  • Structurally, it is different from Obut’s “black jack”, which is made of hard epoxy resin mixed with iron filings. The Geologic red jack is made out of a different material (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) and it has a solid iron core which gives it 50% of its total weight.
  • The red jack is 29.5mm in diameter and weighs 17g.
  • The Decathlon webpage for the red jack clearly states— Use restriction: This jack cannot be used in official competitions.

The primary reason that the red jack cannot be used in FIPJP-sanctioned competitions is that synthetic jacks (i.e. non-wooden jacks, whether or not they are paramagnetic) are not allowed in FIPJP-sanctioned competitions unless they are FIPJP-approved. The red jack is not FIPJP-approved. Therefore it is not allowed in FIPJP-sanctioned competitions.

Another way of saying the same thing is that the red jack is deliberately designed to be a “leisure” or “recreational” jack, just as some boules are deliberately designed to be leisure boules. So, as I noted earlier, if anybody in your group is playing with leisure boules, there is no reason not to use the red jack.

“Legal” vs “approved”
The FIPJP requirements for jacks are contained in two documents. The first is the official FIPJP international rules for the sport of petanque, which determines whether or not a particular model of boule or jack is “legal” for competition play. The second is Fabricants de Boules: Labels des Boules et Buts agréés en compétition, which determines what models of boules and synthetic jacks are “approved” for competition play. In order for you to be allowed to use a boule or a synthetic jack in competition play, the boule or jack must be both “approved” and “legal”.
Note that it is possible for a synthetic jack to be “approved” but not “legal”. (Obut’s black jack, although approved, is not legal because it weighs more than the maximum allowed weight of 18g, as specified in the rules of the sport.) Petanque rules wonks are surely asking whether the red jack is “legal” in the sense of— Is the red jack (given its size and weight) acceptable under the rules for the sport of petanque? The answer to that question is YES. Just as leisure boules meet the size and weight requirements for boules, the red jack meets the size and weight requirements for jacks.

I will close with a bit of gossip. A few customers have complained (in customer reviews) that their magnetic boule lifters won’t pick up the red jack. A customer service rep has replied that “There is indeed a competitor’s boule lifter that doesn’t work very well with these jacks. We will fix that in a second version.” If this is something you experience, you can complain to Decathlon and get a refund. But my advice would be to get a better boule lifter or make your own.

Petanque rules quiz 001

Two players are playing singles.  In the middle of the second mène (end, round), the score is 1-0. This happens.
petanque_jack_on_boules
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.

We need guidelines as well as rules

If an organization issues a document Rules of the Sport of X, that organization should also issue another document— Guide to the Interpretation of the Rules of X. Here’s why.

In order to be effective, a set of rules governing any activity needs to be both concise and precise; both short and clear. Every sentence should be phrased carefully and be grammatically correct. Slang and verbosity, which may cause confusion, should be rigorously avoided. Every word should be the right word, every word should count, and two words should never be used where one would do. Technical terms should be introduced explicitly, defined carefully, and used consistently. No rule should be stated twice— especially if it is worded differently in different places.

With a novel or a newspaper or a magazine article we read along, get the general gist of things, and that is all we need. We’re not used to reading documents that are written in the tight, compressed, precise way that a good rules document is written. That is why, in addition to rules documents, we need rules guides.  The purpose of a rules guide is to translate the compressed language of a rules document into the kind of language that we normally use in everyday life, so that players can more easily understand the full meaning and implication of the rules.

A rules guide document is a collection of comments on the rules. One thing that a comment can do is to point out implications of a particular rule. For example, when a single word (“only if” rather than “if) has significant implications for the meaning of a rule, a comment can point that out. Sometimes the full significance of a rule can be seen only when it is placed in a wider historical or cultural context— comments can provide that wider context. In some situations there may seem to be no applicable rule, or multiple contradictory applicable rules— a rules guide can note the existence of such situations and explain how to deal with them.

A rules guide will almost certainly need to be revised more frequently than a rules document. With time, players will inevitably find new ways to be confused by the rules, and will come up with new questions about the rules. The rules (if they were well-written) won’t need to be revised, but the rules guide will need to be updated to deal with such new confusions and questions as they emerge.

Note that a rules guide is not the same thing as an umpire’s guide. A rules guide contains comments on the rules of the game. An umpire’s guide contains guidelines, advice, and instructions for umpires, telling them how to perform their roles as umpires. A petanque umpires’ guide, for instance, would help umpires in deciding when to impose penalties and which penalties to impose; how to reach a decision when teams offer conflicting stories about what happened; and so on.

Ideally we would have three separate documents— the rules, a rules guide, and an umpire’s guide. In the case of petanque what we actually have is only the FIPJP’s international rules in which umpire guidelines are intermixed with rules of the game. There is no separate FIPJP rules guide or umpire’s guide. Some national federations also issue a “rules interpretations guidelines for umpires” that contains rules guides and umpire’s guidelines.


Rules governing the jack (cochonnet, bouchon)

As of September 2018, the FIPJP rules governing the petanque jack (the little target ball, cochonnet, bouchon) are as follows. We will discuss synthetic and paramagnetic jacks later in this post.

  1. The jack must be made of wood.
  2. The jack must be 30mm, +/- 1mm in diameter.
  3. The jack must weigh between 10g and 18g.
  4. The jack may be unpainted or painted any color.
  5. A painted jack may not be painted with paramagnetic paint.

Table of Contents

  1. Documents containing the rules governing jacks
  2. A short history of changes to the rules governing jacks
  3. Synthetic jacks
  4. Paramagnetic jacks
  5. The weight of jacks
  6. The future of jacks


Continue reading

2016 rules – Article 35’s new rule about exceeding the 1-minute rule

Revised: 2021-05-04
When the FIPJP released a new version of the rules in December 2016, umpires and players discovered that two sentences (marked [a] and [b], below) had been inserted into Article 35.

For non-observation of the rules of the game the players incur the following penalties:
1) A warning, which is indicated officially by the showing by the umpire of a yellow card to the player at fault.
[a] However, a yellow card for exceeding the time limit is imposed on all the players of the offending team. [b] If one of these players has already been given a yellow card, he will be penalized by disqualification of a boule during the mene in progress or for the following mene if he has no more boules to play.
 

These two sentences caused an immense amount of confusion among players and umpires. In response, there were a number of attempts to clarify the two new sentences. Strangely enough, these attempts usually tried to relieve the confusion by introducing new, unfamiliar, and undefined terminology. On “Ask the Umpire”, Mike Pegg responded to questions with talk of “team” infractions, “team” penalties, and “team” yellow cards. The French National Umpires Committee issued memo in which it tried to alleviate the confusion with talk of “collective” infractions, “collective” penalties, and “collective” yellow cards.

These efforts were completely misguided. In petanque, there are no “collective” offenses or “team” penalties. There are only individual offenses and penalties. Article 35, for example, begins by saying that a warning is indicated “by the umpire showing a yellow card to the player at fault.” The two new sentences were added to the rules in 2016. Before that time—

  • If a player lingered too long in the circle and violated the 1-minute rule, that player would have been the player at fault, and would have been given a warning (yellow card).
     
  • If all three members of a team spent too much time discussing strategy together, each of the three players would have been at fault, and each would receive his own, individual warning (yellow card). Three yellow cards, total.

What the new sentences in Article 35 did was to add a new rule. (Note that this new rule is triggered only by a team’s first infraction of the 1-minute rule.)

  • The first time that any member of a team violates the 1-minute rule, the umpire will give an individual penalty to the player at fault. IN ADDITION the umpire will give an individual penalty to each of his team-mates, regardless of whether or not those team-mates were at fault in creating the violation.

Basically the new rule in Article 35 is this—

  • The first time that any player of a team violates the 1-minute rule, the umpire must penalize all members of the team— guilty and innocent alike.

As I’ve said, there are no “team” or “collective” penalties in petanque. When people use expressions such as “team yellow card” or “collective yellow card”, they are referring to a situation in which an umpire gives an individual yellow card to each of the members of a team, even though at least one member of the team was completely innocent of any wrong-doing.

When the new rule appeared, it provoked many questions about what effect it would have on the vague tradition of penalty escalation— the idea that repeated offenses should be punished with increasingly severe penalties. The unwritten rule-of-thumb for umpires is— First offense gets a warning; second offense gets a disqualified boule. So when the new rule was published, the question that was on the minds of many players was— What effects does the new rule have on the ways that penalties are escalated?

The answer is— None. Nada. Zip. All of the traditional rules of penalty escalation still operate the same way as they always have, unchanged. The first time that a player exceeds the time limit, the umpire gives each member of his team a yellow card; EXCEPT THAT the umpire gives an orange card to each player that already has a yellow card (for any offense); EXCEPT THAT the umpire gives a red card to any player that already has an orange card. Thereafter, if a player breaks a rule, the umpire gives him a yellow card; EXCEPT THAT if the player already has a yellow card, the umpire gives him an orange card; etc. etc.

In January 2017, the French National Umpires Committee released a memo that confirmed that the traditional rules of petanque escalation remain unchanged. (You can find the CNA’s memo HERE.) The memo lists several case descriptions and provides the approved decision in each case.

=======================================================
The following examples are for a team composed of three players A, B and C.
The term “individual infraction” means any infraction of the rules other than an infraction of the time-limit rule.

Case 1
No player has received a warning for any infraction of the rules.
Player A exceeds the time limit.
DECISION
The umpire gives a warning to each player: A, B, and C.

Case 2
Each of the players has been given a warning for exceeding the time limit.
Player A commits an individual infraction.
DECISION
The umpire disqualifies one of player A’s boules.

Case 3
Each of the players has been given a warning for exceeding the time limit.
Player A exceeds the time.
DECISION
The umpire disqualifies one of player A’s boules.

Case 4
Player C commits an infraction of a rule other than the time-limit rule.
Player B exceeds the time.
DECISION
The umpire gives a warning to players A and B.
The umpire disqualifies one of player C’s boules.

Case 5
Player A commits an individual infraction.
Player B commits an individual infraction.
Player C exceeds the time.
DECISION
The umpire disqualifies one of player A’s boules.
The umpire disqualifies one of player B’s boules.
The umpire gives a warning to player C.

Case 6
Player A commits an individual infraction.
Player B commits an individual infraction.
Player C commits an individual infraction.
Player A exceeds the time.
DECISION
The umpire disqualifies one of player A’s boules.
The umpire disqualifies one of player B’s boules.
The umpire disqualifies one of player C’s boules.
=======================================================
Case 7
Each of the players has been given a warning for exceeding the time limit.
The team exceeds the time limit for a second time, by conferring among themselves as a group for more than a minute.
DECISION
The umpire disqualifies one of the team’s boules.
=======================================================

Actually, there are only 6 cases on the CNA’s list— Case 7 is my own addition. It is remarkable that Case 7 is not on the CNA’s list, because it is the most controversial case of all.

In Case 7, all three players are what the CNA calls “direct authors” of the second infraction— each player personally participates in the act that breaks the rule. In my opinion, in Case 7 an umpire who honestly tries to follow the letter of the law will disqualify one boule for each of the offending players— three boules in total. But that might seem like a “team penalty” for a second infraction of the 1-minute rule, which Article 35 does NOT support. So an umpire won’t do that; he will disqualify just one of the team’s boules (see international umpire Mike Pegg’s ruling HERE). At this point, players will of course ask: “Which boule does the umpire disqualify?” For the answer to that question, see our post on What does it mean to “disqualify a boule”?

Three players exceeding the time limit as they discuss what to do next


An alternate set of rules for friendly games of petanque

The FIPJP rules of petanque are designed for use in FIPJP-sanctioned competitions supervised by FIPJP-certified umpires. In addition to being unclear and sometimes unfair when strictly interpreted, the FIPJP rules are dependent on the presence of an umpire to the extent that, under some circumstance, they are useless in friendly games. By “friendly games” I mean games played outside of an organized competition, without an umpire.

In response to these problems, the Petanque Libre Project has developed an alternate set of rules for the game of petanque. The Petanque Libre rules are designed with friendly games in mind; they are designed so that ordinary players can understand, interpret, and apply them in games played outside of an organized competition, without an umpire.

You can read more about the project, and download a copy of the rules for Petanque Libre, at the Petanque Libre Project website. The project has also issued a Request for Comments on the rules.


2016 petanque rules changes

Here is a list of the important changes to the rules of petanque made by the FIPJP in 2016. The 2016 FIPJP rules of petanque are available on the FIPJP web site and the Rules of Petanque web site.

  1. Article 10a has been renamed to be Article 11, and all subsequent articles renumbered. So the rules now have 41 articles, rather than 40.
     
  2. Article 3: The weight of the jack must be between 10 and 18 grams. (This means that synthetic jacks, which weigh 22g, are no longer permitted.)
     
  3. Article 5: The opening sentence has been changed from “Petanque is played on all terrains,” to “Petanque is played on all surfaces.”
     
  4. Article 6: Folding circles (cercles pliables) are permitted but only if they are of a model and rigidity approved by the FIPJP. (Folding circles that are approved by the FIPJP will be marked “Agréé FIPJP”.)
  5. Article 6: The throwing circle must be marked before the jack is thrown.
     
  6. Article 6: If a player picks up the circle when there are boules still to be played, the circle is replaced but only the opponents are allowed to play their boules.
     
  7. Article 7: The team winning the toss or the previous end will have ONE and only one attempt to throw a valid jack. If the thrown jack is not valid, the jack is given to the opposing team which then places the jack in any valid location on the designated terrain.
     
  8. Article 7: The throwing circle must now be placed at least two meters from any other active circle.
     
  9. Article 7: During time-limited games only, for a thrown jack, the required minimum distance from a SIDE dead-ball line (not from an END dead-ball line) is reduced to 50cm.
     
  10. Article 8 contains the following sentence: “Before the jack is given to the opposing team for them to place it, both teams must have recognized that the throw was not valid or the Umpire must have decided it to be so. If any team proceeds differently, it loses the right to throw the jack.” The words have not changed, but the second sentence must be given a new interpretation in light of the changes to the rules for the throw of the jack.

     
    If Team A throws a jack that appears to Team B to be long, and Team B picks the jack up before Team A agrees that it actually was long, an umpire may rule that Team B has lost the right to place the jack, and give the jack to Team A, which will then place (not throw) it. It is likely that the second sentence will be revised in the next version of the rules.

  11. Article 10: “Sweeping” (the ground with a foot) in front of a boule to be shot is now specifically mentioned as a violation of the rule against changing the terrain. (This is a clarification of, rather than a change to, the existing rule.)
     
  12. Article 24: The following clause was inserted before the beginning of the rule: “Except for cases in which these rules provide specific and graduated penalties as outlined in Article 35,…” [DISCUSS]
     
  13. Article 26: Players must stand at least two meters away from an umpire while he is measuring.
     
  14. Article 27: If a player picks up his boules from the playing area while his partners have boules remaining, they will not be allowed to play them. [DISCUSS]
     
  15. Article 31: It is now no longer the responsibility of each team to check and verify the opposing team’s licenses, boules, qualifications to play in the competition, etc.
     
  16. Article 33: A mene is considered to start when the jack is thrown, regardless of whether or not the throw was valid.
     
  17. Article 35: In order to simplify the penalties, the penalty of disqualification of TWO boules has been eliminated.
     
  18. Article 35: The rules now officially recognize the use of colored signal cards.
     
  19. Article 35: The discussion of warnings has two new provisions. (1) A yellow card for exceeding the time limit will be imposed on ALL of the players of the offending team. (2) If one of these players has already been given a yellow card, that player will be penalised by disqualification of a boule.

     
    These new provisions are poorly written and it will probably be some time before umpires agree on how to interpret them. One likely outcome is this— In the past, umpires usually treated a time-violation as an individual offense. Thus, if player A on Team T exceeded the time limit, the umpire would give A a warning. Later, if player B on Team T exceeded the time limit, the umpire would give B a warning. Now, with these new provisions, it seems likely that if player A on Team T exceeds the time limit, the umpire will give Team T a warning. Later, if player B on Team T exceeds the time limit, the umpire will penalize Team T by disqualifying one of the team’s boules.

  20. Article 39: Correct dress is required of the players, specifically: (a) it is forbidden to play without a top (i.e. with a bare torso) and (b) for safety reasons, the players must wear fully enclosed shoes. In addition, it is forbidden to smoke (or use an e-cigarette) and to use a mobile phone during a game.
     

American players should note that the FPUSA rules have changed in another way.
Following a new policy, the FPUSA has adopted the 2016 international rules “as written” as its national rules.

Adopting the international rules “as written” means doing away with the italicized modifications and addendums added to the FPUSA version over the years. Doing so also means our players will learn to play per the international rules, nothing more, nothing less. [Mike] Pegg’s advice to the FPUSA is to publish the rules as adopted in December 2016 by the FIPJP and separately publish clarification for the more ambiguous and broadly interpreted aspects of the rules or for issues unique to the FPUSA. We agree with Mike and are already in the process of updating the “2015 Interpretation’s” currently in use by the federation.

Previous versions of the FPUSA rules also differed from the FIPJP rules in the wording of the Puddle Rule in Article 9. With the adoption of the FIPJP rules “as written”, that difference no longer exists.


Disqualifying a boule & excluding a player

[revised 2020-11-27]
One of the penalties described in Article 35 is “disqualification” of a boule.

Si l’un de ces joueurs a déjà un carton jaune il lui sera infligé la suppression d’une boule pour la mène en cours ou pour la mène suivante s’il n’a plus de boule à jouer.

Correct translation
If one of these players has already been given a yellow card, he will be penalized by disqualification of a boule during the mene in progress or for the following mene if he has no more boules to play.

Incorrect translation (See FIPJP English version, 2016 and 2020)
If one of these players has already been given a yellow card, they will be penalised by disqualification of the boule played or to be played.
[The expression “the boule played or to be played” was carried forward from the translation of the 2010 rules, where it was correct.]

What does it mean to “disqualify a boule”?

  • Disqualifying a boule that has already been played means declaring it to be dead and removing it from the terrain. Note that disqualifying an already-thrown boule does not include restoring to their original locations any balls (jack or boules) that the disqualified boule may have moved. They stay where they are.
     
  • Disqualifying a boule to be played in the future means reducing the number of boules that a penalized player will be allowed to play in the future.

Which boule is disqualified?

When an umpire disqualifies a boule, how does he decide whether to disqualify a boule that has already been played, or a boule to be played in the future? The answer is— It depends on the situation.

Disqualifying an already-played boule

When a boule has been thrown contrary to the rules it is clear that that boule is the one that should be disqualified. Suppose that Bob has already received one warning for a foot fault, and the umpire is watching him closely. When the umpire sees Bob foot-fault a second time, he shows Bob an orange card and disqualifies the boule that Bob just played.

Disqualifying a future boule

Suppose that Bob has already received one warning for a foot fault. When his team violates the 1-minute rule, the other players get warnings (yellow cards). But because this is Bob’s second offense, the umpire is going to show Bob an orange card and disqualify one of his boules. In this case, the umpire can’t point to a boule that Bob has just played and say “That is the boule to be disqualified.” What does the umpire do?

If Bob still has unplayed boules, the umpire reduces the number of boules that Bob, the penalized player, is allowed to play in the future. If Bob has two unplayed boules, he will be allowed to play only one of them.

If Bob has no unplayed boules, the umpire reduces the number of boules that Bob will be allowed to play in the next mene. In the next mene, if Bob would normally play two boules, he will be allowed to play only one.

In a competition, in theory, if Bob has no unplayed boules in the last mene of the game— in the first mene of the next game in the competition the number of boules that Bob will be allowed to play will be reduced by one.

Excluding a player

An umpire also has the option of excluding a player from the rest of the game. The procedures for excluding a player are similar to the procedures for disqualifying a boule.

The umpire may exclude a specific player from the rest of the game, or may penalize a team by reducing the number of its players that may play during the remainder of the game. Note that if one of a team’s players is excluded, his place cannot be filled with the team’s alternate/substitute player. The team must soldier on with a reduced number of players and boules.

Closeup of a petanque boule disqualified in the previous mene.

Closeup of a petanque boule disqualified in the previous mene.