While some sports are commonly called boules (such as Pétanque and Bocce), it is actually a general term for a category of sports, where the aim is to throw or roll a ball to get it as close as possible to a target.
Traditional boules-type games are popular in many European countries. Boules games are usually played in town squares and parks, typically large, level, rectangular courts made of flattened earth or gravel.
Depending on the version being played, the balls are either thrown or rolled towards a target ball. The throwing techniques may vary. Points are usually scored for getting your ball closest to the target. Sometimes a run-up is allowed. The balls can be made of wood, metal or leather, and vary in size and weight.
Related sports are bowling sports, in which a player rolls or throws a ball towards a set of pins or other objects, trying to knock down as many as possible.
- Bocce — is part of the boules sport family, similar to bowls and pétanque a ball is thrown as close as possible to a smaller 'jack'.
- Bocce Volo (flight bocce) — a variation of bocce, in which metal balls are thrown overhand (palm down) with a run-up, the Italian version of Jeu Provençal / Boule Lyonnaise.
- Raffa Bocce — a variation of bocce played on carpet, plastic balls are rolled or thrown towards a target smaller ball.
- Boccia — a ball sport similar to bocce, bowls, and pentanque for athletes with physical disabilities.
- Jeu Provençal (Boule Lyonnaise) — a popular French form of boules, where the objective is to throw a set of hollow metal balls as close as possible to a target ball.
- Bolas Criollas — a traditional Venezuelan team sport like bocce and pétanque in which players throw a set of balls as close as possible to the small target ball.
- Pétanque — a type of boules from France in which the objective is to throw hollow metal balls towards a small wooden target ball.
- Lawn Bowling — the objective is to roll biased balls so that they stop close to a smaller ball called a "jack" or "kitty".
- Carpet Bowls — a variant of lawn bowls played indoors.
- Feather Bowling — rolling wooden balls shaped like cheese wheels towards a feather in the ground
- Varpa — an old outdoor game dating back to the Viking Age. It is similar to boules but played with a flat and heavy thrower known as "varpa" instead of balls, once made of shaped stones but nowadays aluminum is more popular.
- Tejo (Argentina) — a sport from Argentina in which two teams throw metal discs to land as close as possible to a neutal disc.
- Tejo (Colombia) — a Colombian sport in which metal discs are thrown 20m to a target that explodes when hit.
- Shuffleboard — players uses cues to push and slide weighted discs along a long court into a scoring area
- Curling — players slide flat stones on a sheet of ice towards the target area.
- Wheelchair Curling — a variation of curling in which athletes with a disability affecting their lower limbs use a wheelchair to play the sport.
- Ice Stock Sport — a winter sport that is similar to curling, ice-stocks are slid across the ice to a target area. Also called Bavarian Curling.
- Calva — a traditional Spanish sport in which you throw a piece of metal to knock down a bull's horn-shaped piece of wood.
- Horseshoes — players toss horseshoes alternately at stakes in the ground.
- Cornhole — a bag toss game, in which you throw a small soft bag towards an angled board with a hole at the far end.
- Jukskei — a folk sport from South Africa where competitors throw wooden pins to try and knock down a target wooden peg, possibly a precursor to horseshoes.
- Digor — a sport from Bhutan in which a pair of spherical flat stones that are hurled towards two targets fixed in the ground at a distance of about 20 meters apart.
- Quoits — a traditional target throwing game in which rings are thrown at a target spike, the aim is to get them as close as possible to the target.
- Washer Pitching — a target throwing game similar to horseshoes, in which players as a part of teams take turns to toss washers into a box or hole.
- Demonstration of boules at the 1900 Olympic Games - two versions were played, Jeu Lyonnais (game of Lyon) and Partie de Berges.
- See the list of bowling sports — knocking down pins with a ball
- What is bowling called in other languages?
- Complete list of sports
- The Encyclopedia of Sports