The Rules of Boules


To play, a team requires three players, six boules and one jack. The three players must play throughout one game. Different players may be used for different games but those players may only represent one team.

The basics

Teams take it in turns to throw their boules toward the jack. The aim is to place your boules nearer the jack than your opponents, which may be achieved by either knocking your opponents’ boules away or ‘nudging the jack’.

Order of play

During a game, players from opposing teams do not play alternately as is often assumed. A player or team continues to throw until they gain the advantage. It is up to the 'throwing' team whether a team member throws all their boules consecutively or they alternate shots within the team.

How to win

The winning team scores as many points as it has boules better placed than the best boule of the losing team. A new ‘end’ is then started with the jack being thrown by the winners of the previous end. The winners of the previous end must go first. The game is repeated until a team scores nine points. The finals are played to 11.

Tournament progression

The tournament begins with all teams split in to eight groups. The teams within each group play each other. The team in each group that records the greatest number of wins will qualify for the quarter finals. If there is a tie, the team with the lowest points scored against, will qualify.

‘In play’ and ‘out of play’

Boules that hit or bounce on the side of the pistes are still in play. If the boules rest on the side of the pistes, they are taken out. If a boule hits or rests against the back sleepers, the boule is out. If the jack ball is knocked out of play, the end must be played again.

The referee’s decision

…is final, naturally.