Petanque SetPlaying petanque (pronounced “pay-tonk”) combines several skills to equal unequalled fun. Also known by the name of the balls, “boules,” (said like “tool”), the game is most often enjoyed outdoors. Now surging in popularity and gaining fans daily among Americans, especially younger players, petanque is all the rage, and as movie stars and celebrities take up boules, it draws more players. As a group social or family game, it cannot be matched.
What makes petanque or boules so enjoyable and flexible is that anyone can play it, almost anywhere. It requires a fairly flat surface of ground or grass, and can even be played on beaches where the sand is packed, not loose. Old players against young works, skilled pros with “newbies” (it involves a bit of luck as well as talent), and women against men. Wheelchair-bound or otherwise handicapped boules players also excel at the game worldwide.
The game of boules most closely resembles bowling, as it involves rolling hand-held boules (“balls” in French) from a designated area, to see who can get closest to a smaller ball, the “jack” (also called the “but” or “cochonnet” - “little pig” in French). There’s some horseshoes used, tossing the ball, as in boule Lyonnaise, and a tad of golf, using surface features. Closely resembling Italy’s “bocce,” petanque requires less set up and no markers or sideboards.
Two teams of up to three players (but usually “doublets” of two) alternate turns, trying to get their tossed balls closest to the jack, but using “pointer” throws to “kiss” the jack or “shooters” to literally blast their opponents’ better-placed boules further from the jack. The team with the three closest boules to the jack wins. The underhand throw of the ball provides backspin and allows accurate placement.
Petanque balls are made of several substances, but metal is the most popular. With forms of the game played in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, balls were likely made of stone. Early French players, adopting the game from Romans, used wood, which led to nail-studded wood and eventually to today’s boules, which are usually of completely metal composition.
To get quality boules sets, including superbly crafted chrome balls with sturdy 6mm-thick walls for years of aggressive play, buy from Jaques of London. They first introduced boules to the United Kingdom, just as they introduced croquet to England and the world.
Jaques boules sets come with either six or eight boules, enclosed in handsome Zip-Up Canvas Cases, Polished Pinewood Boxes with natural rope carry handles, or heavy duty Metal Storage Cases. All are packed to resist damage during shipping, and are superior to other boules on the market. Get the family and friends involved in the hottest new old game around, and…well, have a ball!