Never pick up another player’s boules

Here’s a tip for new players.

I’ve noticed that at the end of a mène, new players will often pick up boules belonging to other players and hand the boules to their owners. New players do this out of friendliness and the desire to be helpful.

Here’s the tip — Don’t do it. Never pick up another player’s boules.
The other players do realize that you’re trying to be helpful. But the truth is, you’re not actually helping. For a brief moment, you’re causing other players (who are looking at the ground, trying to find their boules) not to be able to find their boules. And at the same time you’re neglecting your responsibility to pick up your own boules as quickly as possible.

What you should do is pick up your own boules as quickly as possible. If you’re in a hurry, don’t even take the time to pick them all up — just kick them out-of-bounds, where you can pick them up later.

There is a second reason why “Never pick up another player’s boules” is a good personal rule. It sometimes happens that a player (you, perhaps) mistakenly thinks that the mène is over and starts to pick up boules. It’s an honest mistake, but there are still boules to be played, and removing a boule from the terrain causes problems. According to Article 26, if you pick up one of your OWN team’s boules, the boule you picked up is dead. You remove it from the terrain and play continues. If you pick up one of the OTHER team’s boules, Article 21 is usually applied. The boule is considered to have been accidentally displaced, and is put back in its place.

So here’s some friendly advice. At the end of the mène, when it comes time to pick up boules, wait a bit. According to the rules, you should not begin picking up boules until the score has been decided. In friendly games people often immediately start to pick up boules that clearly have no chance of counting toward the score. But… wait a bit. Wait until you’re absolutely sure that all boules really have been thrown. Wait until you’re sure the score has been decided. As a new player, wait until you see more experienced players picking up their boules, before you start to pick up your own. And of course Never pick up another player’s boules.

Sometimes during pickup you will see a boule that is way off in left field somewhere. It’s OK to gently kick it toward where the other boules are clustered around the jack. That will make it easier for its owner to find it and retrieve it. But that’s about the most that you want to do with another player’s boule.


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