There are many ways to play 3-way games. Here are a few that we’ve tried and like.
Options for playing with three players
- Before starting the game, the players decide what the winning score will be— it can be 13 or anything you like.
- At the beginning of each mene, the order of play can be determined by each player’s score in the previous mene, or each player’s current total score.
- Using the same order of play for the whole mene can eliminate a lot of walking to the head in order to determine which player is “away”.
Cut-throat is simply singles played with three players. The player who is “away” (whose best boule is the farthest from the jack) plays next. Scoring is the same as in normal petanque.
1-2-3 is similar to cut-throat, but at the end of the mene, the closest boule scores 3 points, the second-closest boule scores 2 points, and the third-closest boule scores 1 point. Points accumulate rapidly, so we recommend playing to 21 or 35 points.
Two Jacks is similar to cut-throat, but it is played with two jacks. To start, a player throws TWO jacks, either separately or (as in this photo) simultaneously. We recommend using jacks of different colors, which makes it easier to talk about the situation on the ground. “Bill has one point on green and Jill has two points on yellow.”
After the jacks are thrown, the players are basically playing two games simultaneously. Each boule is capable of scoring against each jack. After all boules have been thrown, one jack is examined and one of the players is awarded points against that jack in the normal way. Then the other jack is examined and one of the players is awarded points against that jack in the normal way. In the photo (below) the player with gold boules scores two points against the yellow jack on the right. The player with the silver boule scores one point against the green jack on the left. The player with the black-striped boules scores nothing. Note that in Two Jacks it is possible for a player to score against both jacks, and it is possible for a boule to score against both jacks.
[slightly revised: 2021-10-16]