The latest Google Doodle game shows you how to play the French sport of Pétanque then lets you compete against friends and others online.
As you’ll quickly learn from playing today’s Google Doodle game, pétanque is a game of tossing spherical stones — called “boules” — to try to be as close as possible to the target ball — referred to as the “cochonnet” or “jack” — which can also be moved when struck by a boule. In some ways, the sport is a lot like lawn bowling, but it is typically played on dirt or gravel instead of grass and usually involves more throwing than rolling.
The name “pétanque” comes from a phrase that means to keep your feet planted. Historically, games played with boules usually allowed competitors to get a running start before tossing their boule. Pétanque instead requires players toss their boule while keeping their feet planted at the starting position.
Pétanque was first played in the early 1900s in the Provence region of France, and it was said to be created as a way to help a friend who could no longer run but still wanted to play a boules game. Over the course of the last century, pétanque has steadily grown in popularity in numerous countries, particularly across Europe and Asia.
Today’s Google Doodle game offers a chance to try a version of pétanque online with either your phone or computer. The gameplay is deceptively simple, as you only need to essentially flick or drag-and-release the boule to toss it toward the jack.
The trick is that every aspect of your touch/mouse movement is taken into account for the pétanque throw. The direction of your movement, as you’d expect, affects whether the boule will veer left or right. The speed of your flick changes how far the boule will travel, and where you let go of the mouse/touchscreen determines the height of the throw.
Before you jump into competitive modes, the Google Doodle gives you a quick rundown of the rules of pétanque and a practice round against an AI opponent. After that, there’s also a solo practice mode to nail your boule throw.
Once you’re feeling confident, you can jump into the online modes, where you can compete against random players or invite your friends to play a match. In either case, you have the option to play singles or doubles, depending on whether you’re looking for a bit of cooperative teamwork. When playing online, you can express what you think about how the game is going with one of four available reactions.
All the while, the Google Doodle prominently features food items as part of its design, pitting a green grape duo against a pair of purple grapes. The pétanque terrain itself is actually half of a baguette, cut longways, and in the background you can see herbs as well as veggies like tomatoes.
While the Google Doodle for pétanque will only be on the homepage for a single day, you can always go back and scratch the itch as the game will remain playable in the Doodle blog’s archives.
More Google Doodles:
- Here are the five finalists for the Doodle for Google 2022 contest [Gallery]
- Google Doodle game slices into the history of pizza [Video]
- Hands-on with some of Google’s most popular Doodle games [Video]
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