This is for the 2016 version of the rules. For the 2010 version go HERE.
From the Preface of “A Guide to the Rules of Petanque”
When I started playing petanque, I decided that if I was going to play the game I should know its rules. So I started studying the rules.
It quickly became clear that the rules were a mess, and that there were many confusions and controversies about how they should be interpreted. At that time, there were no guides to the interpretation of the rules, not even for umpires. In short, in order to learn and understand the rules of petanque, I needed to do my own research. So I did. As I did it, I kept notes about what I found. Eventually those notes evolved into this guide.
As I studied, I kept finding problems in the official FIPJP English translation of the French rules. I had downloaded electronic copies of both the French original and the English translation, so I copied them into a Microsoft WORD document and formatted them so that the French and English texts were arranged in columns, side-by-side. When I found a problem with the FIPJP translation I would revise the text on the English side. When I made a revision, I also made a note about the reason for the revision. Eventually I ended up with essentially a new English translation of the rules, and a set of notes explaining the rationale for the places where my new translation differed from the official FIPJP translation. My new translation and my notes on the translation are included in this guide. Together, I believe they constitute the best available English translation of the FIPJP rules of petanque.
Table of Contents (2016-10-16)
Preface 9 About this book 9 Sources and references 10 Some terminology and abbreviations 11
About the rules 12 Who makes the rules? 12 Problems with the rules 14 Subjects NOT covered in this guide 15 Why do we need a better English translation? 15
Some basic concepts 16 The petanque playing area - Five fundamental concepts 16 The two games known as "petanque" 20
Some thoughts about the rules 21 The biggest problem— how to undo an illegal event 22 Illegal events 22 Options for dealing with illegal events 22 Social vs umpired play 23 Approximately is good enough 24 Playing social petanque, even when there is an umpire (part 1) 24 Playing social petanque, even when there is an umpire (part 2) 24 Teams are not required to call the umpire 25 Verbal actions 26 General principles for applying the rules 27 If I was King of the Rules 28
Notes on individual rules 29 Article 2 – The boules 30 About the certification of boules 30 Stuffing the boules 30 Stamping the boules 31 The weight of the boules 32 Coloring the boules 33 Cooking the boules 34 The hardness of a boule 35 Elasticity 35 Scratch resistance 36 Is there any correlation between elasticity and scratch resistance? 36 Boules that are both hard and soft 37 Article 3 – The jack 38 The material of the jack 39 The magnetic properties of the jack 41 The weight of the jack 43 Article 5 – The playing area 44 Petanque is played on all terrains 44 Guide lines and dead-ball lines 44 Barriers and sideboards 45 Articles 6 and 7 – The circle 47 The size of a drawn circle and redrawing the circle 47 What is a rigid circle? 48 Clearing the circle 49 The circle is not out-of-bounds 50 Does the jack have to be in the exact center of the circle? 50 Feet inside the circle 51 When the circle is picked up too soon 52 Marking the circle 52 About “stepping back” to move the circle 53 Questions about the Stepping Back Rule 55 Placing the circle after the jack has died or left the terrain 59 Article 7 –Throwing the jack to 10 meters 60 Articles 7 & 9 & 11 – The jack must be visible from the circle 61 Visible to whom? 61 Visible when? (part 1) 62 Visible when? (part 2) 62 If the jack is not visible after the last boule is thrown 63 If the jack is hidden by leaves 64 If a boule pushes around some part of the terrain, hiding the jack 65 Article 8 - Challenging the jack 66 Can team B challenge the jack after verbally accepting it? 66 Can team A challenge the jack after throwing its first boule? 67 Can team B challenge a jack pushed by the first boule, if the jack's location was measured? 67 Can team B challenge a jack pushed by the first boule, if the jack's location was marked? 67 Can team B challenge a jack pushed by the first boule, if the jack's location was neither marked nor measured? (The Pushed Jack Question) 67 An unusual challenge to the jack 69 Article 9 – 70 The Dead Ground Rule 70 The puddle rule and the floating jack 71 The puddle rule – standard interpretation 71 The puddle rule – American (FPUSA) interpretation 71 The puddle rule – conclusion 72 Articles 9 & 18 – Boule or jack goes out-of-bounds 73 A boule or jack not dead until it completely crosses the dead-ball line 73 If a boule or jack "completely crosses" a neighboring lane 75 The string is not the boundary line 75 Jack within 3 meters of the circle 77 Article 10 – When a boule or jack breaks 78 Article 14 – If a hit jack is stopped or deviated 79 Article 15 – 79 When the terrain is empty 79 When the first boule played goes out-of-bounds 79 Can a player "help himself" in [this way]? 80 Can a player wear gloves? 81 About marking boules and jack 81 Article 16 – Where to stand 82 Article 18 – A dead boule rebounds onto the terrain 84 Some terminology for discussing zombie boules 84 When should a zombie boule be picked up? 85 Which team should pick up a zombie boule? 86 Can the opposing team remove a zombie boule? 86 If a zombie boule moves other balls on the terrain, can we put them back? 87 What happens to a zombie boule if it isn't picked up? 87 Articles 19 and 14 – If a jack or boule is stopped or deviated 88 The extension of a line 89 Article 14— Place the jack on the extension of a line... 90 Article 19— Place the boule on the extension of a line... 90 Articles 21 & 26 – Picking up an unmarked boule too soon 91 Before all boules have been thrown (Article 21) 91 After all boules have been thrown (Article 26) 91 Article 22 – Playing somebody else’s boule 92 Article 23 – Boules thrown contrary to the rules 93 Article 24 – Marking the location of a boule when you plan to remove it temporarily for measuring 94 Article 25 – Who should measure? 95 Three reasons for measuring— tactical, practical, scoring 95 Frequently-asked questions about tactical measurement 95 Article 27 – A boule or jack moved during measurement 97 Article 28 – An undecided point – Who plays next 99 All of the equidistant boules are knocked out, leaving the terrain empty 100 One of the equidistant boules is exactly replaced 100 Reverting to an earlier equidistant boules situation 100 Article 31 - Consulting with the team coach 102
Special rules for time-limited games 103 Rules for Timed Games at the 2015 CEP European Championship 103
Frequently-asked questions about the rules 105 How are points scored? 106 Is there any rule about the order in which members of the same team play? 106 When does a mene start and end? 106 A late-arriving player joins the game 106 The time-limit signal is sounded in a time-limited game 106 The "one-minute rule" for throwing the jack 107 The “landing strip” for a thrown jack 108 What is an obstacle? 110 Articles 6 and 7 – throwing obstacles 110 Articles 10, 18, 24 – obstacles as inconvenient objects 111 If a thrown boule or jack hits something ABOVE the terrain, is it dead? 112 The jack is dead – what do we do now? 113 Q1. Which team scores? 113 Q2. Which team throws the jack at the beginning of the next mene? 113 Q3. Where do we place the circle at the beginning of the next mene? 114 Never pick up another player's boule 115 Can I wear sandals while playing? 116 Why is it forbidden to smoke while playing? 118 Who has the point—the team or the boule? 118 Boules thrown out of turn 119 Boules thrown out of turn 119 Dealing with a forgotten boule 121 The boule advantage and the forgotten boule 122 Is it OK to leave unplayed boules on the ground? 124 How many unplayed boules does the opposing team have? 125 How and when to mark locations of boules and jack 126 How to mark a boule when you plan to pick it up while measuring 126 How to mark when you want simply to record a location 126 How NOT to mark the location of a boule or jack 127 Marking the location of the thrown jack 127 Marking the location of a jack that has been knocked into a neighboring terrain 127 Marking the location of everything, all the time 128 The Advantage Rule 129 When you can't tell which jack belongs to which game 129 Colored penalty cards 130
Mythical rules 133 About mythical rules 133 You can’t wear gloves while playing 134 You are not allowed to throw underarm (underhand, palm up). 134 All of a player’s boules must be from the same set. 134 Coloring of boules is prohibited 134 You can’t fix a divot with your hand. 134 You can’t fix a divot before throwing the first boule in a game. 135 You can’t fix a divot if you’re going to shoot. 135 You can groom the terrain during a game, if you do it between menes 136 You can't remove anything from the terrain, even man-made trash 136 If you don't put your points on the scoreboard, you lose them. 136 You can’t throw a jack to less than 2 meters from another jack. 137 You can’t place a circle less than 2 meters from another circle. 137 You can't place the circle right next to a dead-ball line. 138 A player can’t throw more than two boules in a row. 138 Opponents have a right to play to a jack at 6 to 10 meters 138
Notes on the English translation of the rules 139 About this English translation 140 The translation is into American English 140 Paragraph divisions 140 Text in square brackets 140 About the word "mene" 140 Translating French to English terminology 141 Persons and groups mentioned in the rules 141 The playing area, boundary lines, out-of-bounds areas 142 The game process 145 Things dead, null, and invalid 148 Miscellaneous terminology 149
OFFICIAL RULES OF THE GAME OF PÉTANQUE 151 GENERAL PROVISIONS 151 Article 1 – Composition of teams 151 Article 2 – Characteristics of approved boules 152 Article 2a – Penalties for non-conforming boules 153 Article 3 – Approved jacks 153 Article 4 – Membership cards 154 PLAY 154 Article 5 – Playing areas and regulation terrains 154 Article 6 – Start of play – Rules concerning the circle 155 Article 7 – Regulation distances for the throw of the jack 156 Article 8 – For the thrown jack to be still alive 158 Article 9 – Dead Jack during a mene 159 Article 10 – Displacement of obstacles 160 Article 10a – Changing of jack or boule 160 THE JACK 161 Article 11 – Jack masked or displaced 161 Article 12 – Jack displaced into another game 161 Article 13 – Rules to apply if the jack is dead 162 Article 14 – Positioning the jack after being stopped 162 BOULES 163 Article 15 – Throw of the first and following boules 163 Article 16 – Behavior of players and spectators during a game 164 Article 17 – Throwing of the boules and boules going outside the terrain 165 Article 18 – Dead boules 165 Article 19 – Stopped boules 166 Article 20 – Time allowed to play 167 Article 21 – Displaced boules 167 Article 22 – A player throwing a boule other than his own 168 Article 23 – Boules thrown contrary to the rules 168 Article 24 – Temporary removal of boules 168 Article 25 – Measuring of points 169 Article 26 – Picked-up Boules 169 Article 27 – Displacement of boules or jack 169 Article 28 – Boules equidistant from the jack 170 Article 29 – Foreign bodies adhering to the boules or jack 170 DISCIPLINE 170 Article 30 – Complaints 171 Article 31 – Penalties for absent teams or players 171 Article 32 – Late arrival of players 172 Article 33 – Replacement of a player 172 Article 34 – Penalties 173 Article 35 – Bad weather 173 Article 36 – New phase of play 173 Article 37 – Lack of Sportsmanship 174 Article 38 – Bad behavior 174 Article 39 – Duties of the Umpires 175 Article 40 – Composition and decisions of the Jury 175