The Rules of Pétango

Pétango is a game of skill vaguely derived from pétanque and go. Its origin can be traced probably to the mid 2000s, notably to the French summer camp in 2007. Since then, a bunch of variants have appeared. Here is an attempt to formalise the rules.”

This is a translation of the allegedly only written rule set of the game of Pétango on the website of Go club Grenoble. It is titled “Règles dauphinoises du pétango”. According to my google research, the adjective dauphinois refers to a cooking method in which potatoes or other vegetables are “sliced and cooked in milk, typically with a topping of cheese“. As I am going to Grenoble this week, I will ask how the fuck they dauphinoised the rules of this game.

Update: The explanation was rather disappointing :< Turns out Grenoble is situated in the region of Dauphiné and the adjective is simply geographical and has nothing to do with food. End of update.

"Equipment and start of the game

The game equipment of pétango is composed of a 19×19 go board, preferably wooden, and black and white Japanese stones, preferably made of glass. The two players are seated facing each other, around the goban that is placed on an even surface. For the duration of the entire game, the two players have to keep their butts in place. If necessary, particularly in important games, a referee (the „butt judge“) can verify the immobility of the butt of the players. The two players do nigiri and the winner chooses their colour and starts the game.

How to play

The players take turns alternately. A move proceeds as follows:

-The player places a stone on an intersection on the first line on his side of the goban.

-With a firm hit, they shoot the stone with the goal to send it to the other half of the goban. (A stone is considered to be on the other half if its centre is.) The trajectory needs not be even, the stone may jump off the goban. Nonetheless, if the stone does not drop on the goban after 32 seconds, it is considered to have left the goban. Once a stone stopped moving, it is left on the goban and it’s the other players turn.

-If the player did not succeed in reaching the goal and provided that they have not committed a foul (see following section), they have two additional attempts. They may change the starting intersection.


A player commits a foul:

-By touching another stone on the goban (be it one of their own or the opponent’s) or any object outside the goban. (E.g. it is forbidden to shoot the stone at the opponent and hope for it to rebound favourably onto the goban.)

-When their active stone leaves the goban.

-If they did not succeed in landing their stone on the other side of the goban after 3 attempts.

The player who committed a foul gives a point to the opponent.
After a foul, all fouled stones stay on the goban, with the exception of a stone that has not passed the central line after 3 attempts.

End of the game

The player who reaches 10 points wins the game.


Accredited referees must have gone through training of consecutive 24 hours with Matti S. And Robert J.
Currently, there exist no accredited referees. Therefore, everyone of the players’ choice may judge a game of pétango.”

At the world championship in Strasbourg, a Xiangqi board is used instead of a Go board and additional rules apply. Recited from my memory as I haven’t found any written work:

-If a stone (the centre of the stone) lands in the river, it is considered as a foul (even if the player has not used up their 3 attempts yet).

-The adversary removes the stone from the river after announcing “plouf”. If they forget to say “plouf”, the offending player may slap them.

-If a stone lands entirely in the opponent’s palace zone in a valid move, the player recovers one point from their opponent. Unless the opponent does not have points yet, in which case the player forfeits one point to them.

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