Pétanque was invented in France in the early 20th century. The sport is also sometimes called boules, though boules is a general term for a range of similar sports including pétanque. The objective of Pétanque is to throw hollow metal balls towards a small wooden target ball, called the jack, and get it as close as possible to the target.
The sport is played in a rectangular field that is 15m long and at least 4m wide. The surface is typically loose gravel. Players throw the boules from a circular ring that is 50cm in diameter.
Pétanque can be played in singles, doubles, or triples format. Singles and doubles matches are played with three boules per player and the triples format is played with two boules per player.
The game play involves first throwing the target ball, followed by both teams throwing all their boules. When both teams are done throwing all their boules, it signifies the end of a round. The team that has a ball closest to the jack wins the round, and scores one point for each boule that is closer to the target than the opponent's closest boule. Matches are played in rounds, and a single match is played till one team reaches 13 points first, which might last for several rounds.
- Taistelupetankki (which is Finnish for "combat pétanque") - an outdoor sport game based on pétanque, developed in Finland in 1999. It is played with the same equipment as pétanque, but it can be played in more diverse terrain.
- Jeu Provençal — 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. Also known as Boule Lyonnaise.
- Lawn Bowling — the objective is to roll biased balls so that they stop close to a smaller ball called a "jack" or "kitty".
- Bocce — is part of the boules sport family, similar to bowls and pétanque.
- Calva — a traditional Spanish sport in which you throw a piece of metal to knock down bull's horn-shaped piece of wood.
- 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.
- Tejo — a Colombian sport in which metal discs are thrown 20m to a target that explodes when hit.
- 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.
- List of Boules-type sports
- Complete list of sports
- About Sport in France
- About Bowling Sports
- The Encyclopedia of Sports