Tock (also known as Tuck in some English parts of Quebec) is a board game, similar to Ludo, Aggravation or Sorry!, in which players race their four tokens (or marbles) around the game board from start to finish—the objective being to be the first to take all of one's tokens "home". Like Sorry!, it is played with playing cards rather than dice.
Tock is a Cross and Circle game in the style of Pachisi, an Indian game played since the first millennium BC. Tock's exact origins are unclear, but traditionally it is believed that it originated with the early settlers of Quebec, Canada.
From Quebec, the game "Jeu du Toc (Tock)" moved to France where it is also known as "Jeu des petits chevaux canadiens". Tock is also similar to the French game "Jeu des petits chevaux", where moves are determined by throwing dice instead of playing cards.
Some versions of the game use pawns or "men" as tokens; other versions use marbles instead, which advance on a wooden board with circular indentations in it to hold the marbles. While the game is designed on the basis of a French deck of cards with jokers removed; there are some versions that do use the jokers (54-Cards Game), or that come with cards specially made for the game that depict the actions they allow.
At the beginning of each round players are dealt a number of cards which they play in turns to move their tokens around the board. If at any time a token lands exactly on the field occupied by another token then the moved token replaces the resting one (which is placed back into the corresponding player's starting area). If a player on his turn has no cards he can play with his tokens (or which he can't play against the other players, like a 5, 10 or Queen in some variations) then he must discard his entire remaining hand and wait for the next hand to be dealt.
A starter is a card that allows a player to move a new token to the starting field. Aces and Kings (and Jokers in some variations) are starters.
A token at the starting field is immune to capture or swaping by an opponent, and additionally it creates a blockade. No players can pass a token that is on its starting field, either forward or backwards (with a 4).
In the simplest form of the game, the cards only provide a single specific number of fields to move forward. However, Tock has many (even more popular) variations where some cards have special functions, that make the game more challenging and interesting.
Any combination of card functions can be used in play. Just ensure every player is aware of all the options to be used in play prior to the game.
Basic Card Functions
- Ace — Can be used as 1, or as a starter.
- Jack — Makes a move of 11 fields.
- Queen — Makes a move of 12 fields.
- King — Can be used to move 13 fields, or as a starter.
Additional Commonly Used Card Functions
- 4 — Move four fields backward. Players are allowed to go backwards from their starting point and then into Home on a subsequent turn. But moving backwards straight into Home is not allowed.
- 7 — Make 7 individual moves of one field. These moves can be freely distributed among all of his tokens.
- Jack — Make a move of 11 fields or may swap one of his own tokens with any other token (opponent's or his own) on the circle track. Swaping two of his own tokens is equivalent to a pass.
- When a King moves 13 fields, it captures any opponent tokens in his token's path of play.
Other "House-Rules" Options
- Only the black Jacks are allowed to swap ones tokens with any other token on the circle track.
- A red Queen can also be played (instead of moving 12 fields) to force the discard of a blind-selected card from the opponent whose turn is next
- 5 — Makes a player to move any other player's tokens forward 5. It enables a player to force the other player to move past their home and past their starting fields, thus making them to have to go around the board one more time.
- 10 — Makes a move of 10 fields or force the next player to waste his turn. The next player on his turn must discard a card, which will not be played, regardless of the value.
- Jack — Make a move of 11 fields or may swap ANY two tokens on the circle track, friendly or opponents, no restrictions. (Except for the ones on the starting fields)
- No blockade game — Tokens at the starting fields may be passed without restriction. They still can not be captured or swapped by other opponents.
54-Cards Game with two Jokers
- A Joker can be used to move 18 fields, as a starter. Additionally, after playing a Joker, the player draws one card from the remaining undealt stock and he/she can play another card immediately or get an extra later turn.
- A Joker can be used to move 15 fields, but not as a starter. Additionally, after playing a Joker, the player draws one card from the remaining undealt stock and he/she immediately plays the drawn card.
Players must agree prior to the start of the game which of the Jokers options will be used for the match.
Making it "Home" - Options
- Harder - You need the exact count of fields to make it into Home. Tokens can jump over other tokens inside the house.
- Harder + 1 - You need the exact count of fields to make it into Home, and you need to fill the house from the top down. Tokens are not allowed to jump over other tokens within the house.
- Faster - You may enter with any count high enough to reach Home, any exceeding unused count is discarded.
Players must agree prior to the start of the game which of the Home options will be used for the match.
Aside from a "Free for all" play style the game also supports a variety of team based modes. Common to all team based variations is that once a team member has managed to bring all of his tokens home he helps move his partners' tokens. Also after every hand is dealt the team members exchange one card with each other.
- Two versus two players standard - Players on opposite sides of the board team up.
- Three versus three players - On a six player board the teams' players are placed in alternating order around the board. Each team member exchanges card with every other team member when a new hand is dealt.
- Two versus two players extended - On a six player board each team will receive an additional common color of tokens. The teams are placed like in a 3 vs 3 game. Each player may move with his own or the common color.
- Two vs. Two vs. Two players - Players on opposite sides of the board team up. This variant is more "cutthroat" than the other team based variants because there are more hostile turns than friendly turns in every round.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tock.|
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- Facebook Page "Jeu de Tock" (in French)
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