Guidelines for running Regional Tournaments

Reviewed January 2019

Please note - Tournaments not run to suitable standard should not be considered for ranking points in any region.

What constitutes a regional tournament?

All regional tournaments should be held as restricted events:

An invitation to all appropriate clubs to participate, subject to certain criteria e.g.

  • must be a member of a particular region
  • must be a financial member of a petanque club affiliated to Petanque New Zealand

A tournament would not be considered suitable for ranking points if non-affiliated members were allowed to play.

Tournament duration
Tournaments can be run as either one day or two day tournaments dependant on the time available.   This will be influenced by a number of factors like regional agreements, whether it is singles, doubles or triples, time of year and so on.   Format will vary depending on whether it is one day or two.

Untimed Games
Untimed games played to 13 points is optimal, but you can reduce this to play to 11 points for all qualifying games or for all games if this suits the time frame better.    In untimed games, lunch is generally taken “on the run” whenever players get a break, rather than a scheduled time as it keeps the games moving.   All players are allowed a maximum of 10 minutes rest following the completion of their game before they have to play again. However they may choose to waive this right.

Timed Games
Timed games are used if you need to control the time frame of the tournament or are playing a Swiss format. Most regional tournaments are now timed.  As a rough guide, singles games take around 45 minutes; doubles 1 hour, and triples up to 1.5 hours, (some untimed games can last for several hours). Time is signalled at the start and the end of the round with a loud buzzer or whistle etc. In playing timed games the rules must be clear about what happens when the time is up.  Normal protocol is to finish the end being played and play one further end, but it is perfectly acceptable to play to a time frame and finish the end you are playing and only play an extra end if the score is drawn.

PNZ’s recommendations for regional timed games are:
Singles – 40-50 minutes (+ or - one end)
Doubles – 50-60 minutes (+ or - one end)
Triples – 60-75 minutes (+ or - one end)

Depending on the format you may have to allow for a tie breaker end if the result is a draw at the end of the fame.  Swiss format does not allow for a drawn result but some other formats do.

Where possible you should allow time for a designated lunch break which is usually kept to a maximum of 30 min. The next round should not start until 5 minutes after the completion of the last game, unless agreed to by all players from that game.

The next end is deemed to have started when the last boule of the current end has been played and come to a stop (before measuring).   This is an International interpretation for timed games only and as such we expect all clubs to follow this interpretation.

Size of tournament
If you are restricting numbers because of the available pistes you need to make this clear on the entry form and state on what basis entries will be accepted or rejected (e.g. first come first served, random draw, preference given to local clubs, two teams per club etc.).

Regional tournaments with less than 12 Triples teams; 20 Doubles teams or 24 Singles should not be considered for ranking purposes. 

Terrain Size and Marking
The terrain should be marked out (strung) in accordance with FIPJP specifications as adopted by PNZ (see diagram at the end of document).  The required number of individual playing areas (pistes) will vary according to the event, but for tournaments to qualify for ranking points PNZ expect there to be a minimum of 12 pistes, allowing for 24 teams.  Pistes should be 15m x 4m, but may be reduced slightly for Doubles (min 13 x 3.5m) and Singles events (min 12 x 3m).  

All pistes should be of the same dimensions, and clearly marked (strung). 

The surface of the terrains should be of similar material and texture.  Where marked variances do occur all players should have equal opportunity of playing on each surface.

Tournament Organisation

Facilities required

  • A minimum of two toilets   
  • Either permanent or temporary shelter (e.g. a marquee)
  • Tables and seating for players, registration desk, results desk etc.
  • Power and water
  • Lighting if play is likely to go beyond daylight
  • Scoreboards for each piste

First Aid

  • A suitably-stocked first aid kit should be available on-site.
  • Sun screen should be freely available
  • A qualified first-aider or other medically-qualified person should be on-site during the tournament (this could be a competitor)

Entry Form
All tournaments require an Entry Form including the following information:

  • Name of tournament
  • Tournament date(s)
  • Tournament venue
  • Date when entries close
  • Entry fee
  • Player(s) details required:  Name(s); Contact phone number and/or email address
  • Address to return Entry Form and Fee to
  • Rules, conditions and format specific to the tournament – these should be clear and comprehensive so there can be no debate.
  • Name of tournament organiser and contact details

Entry forms should go out to clubs, regional organisations and PNZ at least six weeks prior to the tournament

Officials required

  • Tournament Umpire – Regional tournaments require a regional level umpire to be available to answer questions during play, measure points, settle rule disputes and so on.   Preferably this should be someone who is NOT playing in the tournament (contact PNZ to find out the qualified umpires in your area or check the PNZ website).   If the only umpire available is also playing, make sure they are not distracted during their own play.  Teams should measure or get players on a neighbouring piste to measure. In this case the playing umpire should only be used for rulings and disputes.   The Umpire is responsible for all aspects of play and his/her decision is final.  (Umpire = everything to do with play)
  • Tournament Director – Sets up the format, sends out entry forms and takes registrations, ensures all protocols are met, produces all documentation necessary, organises trophies, runs the tournament on the day and is responsible for producing the results of the tournament. The Director should not be playing in the tournament.  (Director = everything to do with the format, entry and results of the tournament)
  • Tournament Co-ordinator – Someone who sets up the facilities, keeps things running smoothly on the day e.g. makes sure shelter, seating, toilets, hot & cold water etc. are all clean and readily available and someone who players can ask if they have any queries about  organisation issues. (Co-ordinator = anything to do with the background running of the event)
  • People to run the registration and score table during the event – It is very important to have a reliable person keeping the score and that they check the scores are entered correctly.   In smaller events, this can be the Tournament Co-ordinator or the Tournament Director.  Players/captains from both teams should sign the score sheet as correct. 

Players Briefing
You should always have a “players briefing” before the start of the tournament which should be done by both the Tournament Director and the Tournament Umpire and should cover:

  • The format, rules and conditions for the tournament
  • who the umpire/s is/are
  • what the boundaries of the terrain are
  • what happens after the buzzer
  • arrangements for lunch
  • where the score table is and who is responsible for putting the score in
  • Remind them of the main rules as appropriate e.g. ‘1 minute’ rule, no smoking/drinking on or near the terrain
  • Other information – tea coffee, toilet facilities

If you haven’t got a loud voice, use a loudhailer or microphone to ensure everyone can hear.

Allocation and numbering of pistes
Assuming that all pistes have a similar surface they can be allocated strictly on a per game basis i.e. ‘this game is to be played on this piste’; or more loosely e.g. Pool A games are to be played on pistes 1 - 4, Pool B on 5 - 8 etc. The teams decide which particular piste they will play on (normally the winner of the toss chooses from the allocated pistes on a ‘first in’ basis). If the surface of the pistes vary, allocation should ensure that all players are given an equal chance of playing on each surface.    If the “Sport” software is being used to run the event it will give the Tournament Director the option of automatic piste selection. 

The most important principle of seeding is to ensure that the top teams or players should not meet till the final game (assuming they play to their seeding potential).

Seeding is especially important for Elimination, Pool Play, Barrage and Swiss formats.

If Pool Play, Elimination or Barrage formats are being used then it is very important that the seeded teams or players are placed correctly in the Elimination Pool or Barrage format.   See the PNZ publication ‘How to Run a Tournament’ on the PNZ website. This document gives in depth descriptions of all the common tournament formats, seeding charts, sample game sheets, entry forms and much more.

Tournament Formats
The following chart shows formats suitable for Regional tournaments.

Tournament Format

1 or 2 days

Importance of Seeding and accuracy

Round robin (no play offs required) 

1 day

Results of the round robin are the final result

Random draw and single elimination playoff

1 day

Results of random draw provides the seeding for the playoffs

Round robin (day 1); followed by a barrage or pool play and single elimination playoff (day 2)

2 day


Results of day 1 provide the seeding for day 2.  The barrage or pool play results provide the seeding for the playoffs.


Random Draw (day 1);  followed by a barrage or pool play and single elimination playoff (day 2)

2 day

Swiss Format – no playoff required after 4, 5 or 6 rounds played

1 day

First round seeding is important  

Swiss Format (day 1); followed by a barrage or pool play and single elimination playoff (day 2)

2 day

Day 1 First round seeding is important.

Day 2 Seeding from day 1 provides the barrage or pool play seeding and those results provide the seeding for the playoffs.

Tournament documents and charts
PNZ has purchased software to enable a Tournament Director to manage all the above formats on their laptop or PC.  The Sport software can run Swiss Ladder, Round Robin, Pool Play, Barrage, Random Draw, Single Elimination, Double Elimination and Melee)   PNZ is able to purchase this licensed programme for any club that wants a copy and is happy to instruct members in how to use it. The licencor of this software has agreed that PNZ can distribute it for training purposes, but it can only be used by Tournament Directors to run tournaments if they have a licensed version of it.   Contact Stefany Frost (PNZ Tournament Manager) on to purchase a copy of this programme and for training in how to use this system.

Determining results
If using the software programmes this process will be done automatically.

If there is a bye it is scored as a 13-6 win to the non-playing team, or for shorter games 11-5 or 9-4.

When calculating results manually games are scored either
a)    No draw allowed – number of wins (1 point per win)
b)    Draw allowable – 2 points for a win and 1 point for a draw

First the number of game wins/points are tallied and teams ranked from the highest to the lowest. This is unlikely by itself to differentiate the teams sufficiently to seed them for the next stage or for elimination rounds.   When two or more teams have the same number of wins/points a tie breaking system needs to be applied.

Points Differential
The differential in their scores is calculated (i.e. a 13–6 result means a +7 differential for the winning team and a -7 differential for the losing team).   These are calculated for each game for each team and summed so that all teams have a wins score and a + or – differential score.   Teams can then be ranked from highest to lowest using both games won and differential points for or against.

Example - 5 teams have won 3 games on day one;
Team 1 has a +6 differential (3rd place)
Team 2 has a +19 differential (2nd place)
Team 3 has a -3 differential (4th place)
Team 4 has a +25 differential (1st place)
Team 5 has a -4 differential (5th place)

If two teams have the same number of wins and the same differential points, the winner is decided on who beat whom.   If one team beat the other during play, they rank higher.   If they didn’t play each other, it is decided on who beat the highest ranked team.

Buchholz Numbers & Fine Buchholz Numbers (BHN and fBHN)

This is another way of tie breaking and is preferred in serious competitions, especially when using the Swiss Ladder format.  BHN and fBHN reward teams for playing strong opposition, whereas points differential rewards teams for playing weak opposition.

BHN = the sum of your opponents wins for the day
fBHN = the sum of your opponents BHN for the day plus your own.

For a fuller explanation of this tie break system, please refer to the next section on the website.

If you have any further enquires please contact the PNZ Manger of Tournaments - Stefany Frost 021 717 080 or

PNZ Manager of Tournaments
January 2019


marked terrain

    1. If the terrain has a permanent solid boundary, such as the low wooden edges of former bowling greens, the dead ball line should be at least 30cm from them (to allow the boule to completely cross the dead ball line). 
    2. If the terrain is surrounded by temporary solid barriers (such as those used for crowd control), these must be at least 1 metre from the dead ball line.
    3. Individual playing areas (pistes) are to be marked (normally done with string, chalk or paint). These are preferably to be 15m x 4m, but may be down to 13m x 3.5m (Doubles Only) or 12m X 3m (Singles Only). All pistes are to be of the same dimensions.


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