Variations of Petanque


Image credit:

Petanque is one of the many games that involves boules. Other boules game include variations such as bocce, bowls and ice curling, each with different rules and requirements, while maintaining the main idea of moving the boules towards a target.


The main difference between petanque and bocce is the terrain and boules used: in petanque, terrain ground is not fixed and the boules need to be solely metal, whereas in bocce the terrains used are frequently soil and asphalt, with  boules either metal or plastic. Additionally, bocce is only played in marked terrain, compared to the open space terrain that petanque players can use.

Another big difference between the two similar sports is  the method in which the boules are moved. In petanque, the boules are tossed, whereas bocce sees the boules bowled like in a game of bowling. The players in bocce are allowed one step when throwing their boules, whereas petanque players have to stand in the circle.


Bowls and lawn bowls also have the same objective of getting a ball as close as possible to the target ball, known as the jack. Bowls is commonly played on terrains that feature grass, artificial turf or cotula, a type of plant. This sport deals solely in rolling the boules, without any tossing.

The first player to begin in bowls has  the opportunity to roll the jack to begin the game. However, unlike bocce or petanque, the jack will be moved to the center once it has stopped in motion, before both players can begin. The game concludes when a specific number of points have been achieved by either the player or team, usually 21 points compared to the 13 points in petanque.


In curling,  two teams of four players take turns to slide a huge granite stone towards a target called the house, which is marked on the ice terrain.

As with petanque, the game is scored by the number of stones that is closest to the target at the end of each round. However, unlike petanque, there is a definite number of rounds for each match, usually eight or 10.

The main difference in curling is that players get the opportunity to influence the motion of the stone, even after it has been released. Players known as sweepers will sweep the ice ground in an attempt to reduce friction and increase the stone’s motion .

To receive the latest updates on the happenings in the Singapore sports scene, or to find out more about some of the latest programmes on offer at ActiveSG, like our Facebook page here.