Rules & Requirements

League Rules & Requirements



The National Pétanque League (NPL) is committed to improving the sport of pétanque at all levels of play. To assist in this goal, the NPL has created an easy to use method of assigning a score to member players based on game and tournament results, which allows players and teams to be competitive from club to club across the continent.  All leagues or clubs need are a minimum number of interested players (5) and one person, a League Representative, to be approved by the NPL for submitting scores. Those scores are then used to create a player’s NPL score, which can be quickly viewed in order to compare how well that player or team ranks within their club and across the nation. All games must be played according to the official rules of pétanque for tête-à- tête competition - No variations are allowed (e.g., 4 boules each person, fewer points for shorter games, etc.). 

This system was designed to encourage players to play often and participate in tournaments in order to gain skill and experience. Ultimately, the most active players that collect the most points from regional, national victories will top the list of players.  Real time results of standings will show who are some of the top players in the country and who best represents each region and club.


The NPL proposes one season, broken up into two long tournaments to allow competitors ample time to reach minimum qualifications, while encouraging members to compete beyond the minimum number of games. 

  • 2017 NPL Season runs from March 20th through September 4th. The season begins on the first day of spring and ends on Labor Day Monday.
  • 1st half of season from March 20th through June 11th - Based upon local ranking from previous season or club decision, players receive a scorecard of games based upon their performance in the form of a ranking. The games that must be met are relative to each player's ranking (or ability). The number of games that can be played within each half is flexible. There are a minimum of 8 games that must be met each half, and up to a maximum of 28 games that can be played. The minimum 8 games must be met by the reset on June 12th or the player will be disqualified for the entire rest of the season.
  • 2nd half of the season from June 12th through September 4th - The season and standings points and ranking remain as before, but a snapshot is taken of each league, and an updated player card is given. This is the new set of minimum required games based upon the player's mid-season record. The reset ensures that games are being matched closely against other players near their ranking for the final part of the season. It also allows a player to move up the rankings from the first half of the season and play the top players during the second half.

All league participants agree to keep score of games and submit them to one individual in each member club who will be designated as League Representative. That person alone will be responsible for submitting the results of all games for their club/league. Submitted games are scored as in tournament play counting win/loss and point differential. FPUSA Clubs are required to regulate themselves and make sure each league participant and team is justly challenged, or plays their schedule based upon their ranking. At the end of the regular season all qualified players (see rules below) are set in their final placement for the season. The only further points that may be added are in the event of a late national singles tournament. 

The 2017 deadline to register players for the NPL is May 1st. Competitive FPUSA players who wish to participate in the NPL must register players by joining and provide a ranking. NPL leagues may begin using their rankings from the previous season to set player scorecards for the first half of the season. Each player within a member league must commit to playing at least 16 games within the league’s season (8 each half) and, each person must play a minimum of 4 different players in the NPL. The first 8 games must be played by June 11th.

Once at each half season, and once again season's end, a player that does not meet the minimum required 8 games does not qualify, and their record and statistics will be removed from the final league standings. Players not meeting their requirements may strain overall club/league performance. Only qualified players may collect medals and prizes. 

SEASON MARKER DATES  indicate to players a number of games must be achieved in order to remain in active status. The 2017  Season Marker Dates are as follows:

1st Season Marker - By April 30 a player must have fulfilled at least 4 minimum required games or temporarily be marked inactive.
2nd Season Marker - By June 11th a player must have fulfilled at least 8 minimum required games or be disqualified for the season.
3rd Season Marker - By August 6th a player must have fulfilled at least 12 minimum required games or temporarily be marked inactive. 
4th Final Season Marker - By September a player must have fulfilled the minimum 16 required games or be disqualified from the standings.


Minimum Number of Members per League = 5 

Minimum Number of Games = 16 (8 games by 1st half, and 8 games by second half).

Minimum Number of Individuals an Member Must Play = 4

A minimum number of 5 players per club/league is necessary in order for the pyramid system to work.  However, now individuals across the U.S. who do ‘not have’ a home club may be adopted into another club if they can meet the minimum game requirements.

Any licensed group of five players who can meet the required games will be scored and ranked in the NPL. Individuals without a club may be adopted into another home club’s pyramid provided they reach the minimum required number of required games. Traveling players may rank into one club for the first half of the season and using their overall score fit into another club for the second half. A new pyramid structure has been designed to ensure that players compete against others at their skill level, while also providing a means to continually move up. Although more games are permitted (up to 28), they are limited to playing others of similar ranking.


Within the single season the pyramid will reset. The first part of the season determines top qualifiers, and the second part after the reset determines the winner. This allows players who step up their games in the first part of the season the possibility of competing against higher level players in the second half.


The NPL standings are ranked on a point system.  (You can learn more about the NPL point system here.)  In order to create a baseline score, a player's win average against other NPL members is used as a starting point.  Players can also count games played against other league members from any NPL Member Club.  A starting number is arrived at by taking their average, rounding it down to the nearest hundredth, and multiplying it by 100.  For example, an average of 0.566 will have a starting score of ‘+56’.

During the regular season all full-game required or allowed singles contests between registered league players are to be recorded and sent to their League Representative so that it may be applied to the standings report. The standings board traces the entire season and tracks players based upon total points, percent averages, and point differential. Three season markers are designated throughout each NPL season. In order to remain listed as active, each player must have attained a minimum number of games against more than one opponent. The 3rd and final season marker occurs two weeks before the end of the season to clearly indicate who has qualified while permitting time for others time to catch up.

Players are awarded additional points based on various criteria including: the total number of league games played in a season, and placing 1st-4th place in specified tournaments.  The standings rank the players down from the highest accumulated number of points.  In the event of a tie, standings will defer to highest Point Differential.

Officially designated NPL or FPUSA regional and national singles tournaments will be allowed for significant point increases in player’s baseline scores. No more open tournaments will be accepted for additional points, however, NPL players that meet in any tournament may still record scores as before, and according to the new rules for inter-regional games. Cards are reset after mid-season (8 - 28 games for 1st half, rankings reconfigure, 8 - 28 games for 2nd half).

The NPL wishes to encourage competition, but it has to limit games. Additional games may be played at a risk as baseline scores tend to average out. There is risk involved but points can be acquired for playing higher numbers of games. Additional points for more games will be scored as follows each half season:

0-14 games = no additional points

15-22 games = +1 point  

23-27 games = +2 points

28 games = +3 points

In cases where travel is possible, all NPL inter-league competition is strongly encouraged and should be promoted. Inter-regional games will no longer affect a player’s average on the baseline score because individuals are obligated to play within a home bracket. However, inter-regional games will now be scored as small tournament victories. Submitted games must still come in and be labeled as an inter-regional game with the identified winner of the match. The winning player's League Representative will input the score by write-in with a note the players names/clubs/score. For all inter-club play, the winning player must send a text or email of the score confirmation to both the losing player, and the League Representative of the winning player's club.

For inter-regional games a temporary schedule must be created based on the visiting player’s score and where that score falls within the host club. Visiting players must then only score competition at that level within the host club. This also means that lower ranked players may not have the opportunity to score games against top level players until they move up the rankings. In order to encourage inter-regional games, winners will receive +1 point to their baseline score for a victory, and losers will receive 0 points and are not penalized.

Local, regional, and national scores will be displayed on the website as before. 
Players who do not meet requirements by Season Marker dates will be marked temporarily inactive as before. Player cards will be visible showing games played and against which opponent.