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Tock - Rules

Due to a constant demand, I have finally made the rules for Tock available. As far as I know Tock is a variant of Ludo or Petits Chevaux both derived from Parchisi, a game from India. These games were brought over to America by the first settlers. For some odd reason, settlers in Quebec decided to do away with the dice and use playing cards instead to control the movement. Over the years they increased the complexity of the movements. And so was born the game of Tock. Through the internet the game is gaining popularity in the States and particularly in France. In other parts of the world variants may also be called Wampoo. If you have any information please e-mail me at DanyG@levalet.com

Boards made in Quebec are available in different sizes and for 4 - 6 or 8 players: see Prices for Tock Games

Rules for 4 players

1 wooden board, 16 marbles of 4 different colors, a deck of cards (not included with the board).
2 to 4 players or in teams.

  • Start:
    When the game is played by 4 players:
    Number of cards ot be dealt: 52. 5 cards are dealt on the first turn, 4 cards on each of the 2 following turns. And then, the cards are shuffled once more to continue the play.

    When the game is played by 3 players:
    5 cards are dealt on the first turn, 4 cards on each of the 3 following turns, and the last card is discarded.

    When the game is played by 2 players:
    5 cards are dealt on the two first turns, 4 cards on each of the 4 following turns.

  • Value of the cards:
    Ace: Allows to start or to move forward one space at any time.
    King: Allows to start or to move forward 13 spaces at any time
    Queen: Allows to move forward 12 spaces
    Jack: Allows to move forward 11 spaces
    Cards from 2 to 10: Allows to move forward according to the value of the card

  • Object of the game:
    Make a complete round of the game board by starting on the space marked "18" (Start), in order to succeed in placing your 4 marbles on the space called "Home" (see definition) which is numbered 1.2.3.4. and in front of every player.

  • The Play
    The player must have in his hand an Ace or a King. If a player does not have any of these 2 cards, he must place his cards in the centre of the game board and wait for the next deal.

  • Moving the marbles:
    If one player's marble stops on an occupied space, he must take away the marble from that space and place it in the space marked "Break" according to the color of the marble removed. When a player has more than one marble on the game board, he can move the one of his choice. On the track, a player can jump over his own marbles and the ones belonging to the other players, except for those that are in the protected zone called "Home" numbered 1.2.3.4.

  • Definitions:
    "Break"
    This is the space to the left of each player, where the marbles are placed waiting to be played. The arrow indicates the starting point.

    "Start"
    The number 18 in front of the player.

    "Home"
    There the 4 vertical holes in front of the player.

    "Heaven"
    The circle in the middle of the board.

  • Shortcuts:
    When his marble stops on an "8", and with the help of an Ace, a 10 or a King, the player has the right to go to "Heaven".
    From "Heaven", it is possible to return to any "8" or "Heaven", the rule mentioned in the paragraph Moving the marbles is applicable.

  • Advanced rules for a greater challenge:
    1- With a 4, one always goes back 4 spaces.
    2- With a 10, one exchanges a marble with the opponent of his choice: this allows the player to advance faster.
    3- With a Jack, the player to the left discards one card and skips his turn.

  • When playing as a team (2 against 2):
    When a player has succeeded in placing all of his marbles in the space marked "Home", he can help his partner to play his marbles in order to win the game.

  • Dirty Tock a variant sent by Barbara Lewicki
    All the rules you have are the same there are only a few different things. The king moving 13 spaces sends anything in its path to their home as if they got knocked off except your own marbles of course. Then 4 's always go backwards. they cant move backwards out of home though so you can get out of start then play a 4 and go backwards to the other side of your home. Next Jacks are either 11 or they are use to swap your marble with any other marble on the board. and last 7's we split between any two of your own marbles. This is the only time moving 4 goes forward . Sometimes we decide to play saying the 7 gets split between your marble and someone else's. When we play this version there is no using the middle spot. Actually we play on our homemade board from one of my great uncles in Actonvale Canada and we make up different rules to change the play around and liven it up a bit.

    Rules from Australia


    Somehow the name changed to Lock !! - thanks to Neil Lewis

    "Lock Rules"

    The game is played on a board with a normal pack of playing cards and each player has a set of four coloured marbles (men).

    The object of the game is to be the first player to transfer all of his men from his "Set-up Area" around the board to his "Home".

    Although two people can play Lock, it is better played by four individual players, or best, as two pairs of partners (in which case partners play on opposite sides of the board).

    Each player sits so that a green rectangle - each player's "Set-up Area" - is on his immediate left. They place their four men on the vacant spots in their "Set-up Area". Men in these spots are not "In Play".

    Each player now has his "First Playing Spot", a green "S" and his "Home" (the four spots in a vertical line in the red area) directly in front of him. The grey numbered track (the "In-Play Area") that each player's men must traverse from his "Start" to his "Home" in a clockwise direction, circles the board. He cannot pass the entry to his "Home" to go round again.

    Once a man enters its "Home" area it can not be "taken", it cannot move backwards, nor can it be passed, i.e. leapfrogged. So to move all men "Home" it may be necessary to play an Ace, 2 or 3 or part of a 7 (see below) to move men forward.

    The pack consists of the normal 52 cards, plus 2 Jokers.
    For a player to move a man from his "Set-up Area" to his "First Playing Spot" he must play an "Out Card", i.e. Ace, King or Joker.
    To move around the "In-Play Area" :-
    Aces, when not used to move a man to the "Start", move forward 1 space.
    2,3,5,6,8,9,10 all move forward their face value.
    Jacks move forward 11 spaces.
    Queens move forward 12 spaces.
    Kings, when not used to move a man to the "Start", move forward 13 spaces.
    Jokers, when not used to move a man to the "Start", move forward 20 spaces.
    In addition the following special rules apply:
    4 moves backward 4 spaces. It can leapfrog, but it cannot move a man backward into its "Home".
    7 can move forward 7 spaces, or can be split to move two or more of the player's men forward by a total of 7 spaces (a total of 7 spaces must be moved). When a 7 (or a split seven) is played, any opponent's man (not a partner's) passed over is automatically "taken", i.e. sent back to that player's "Set-up Area".
    When playing a Jack a player may elect to exchange any two men, on the "In-play Area", be they one of his own and an opponent or partner, or two of any other two players. However, to do this, a player must have one of his men in the "In-play Area" or all of his men in his "Home" .

    On the "In-Play Area", players may leapfrog their own, their partner's or opponent's men. If, in playing, a players man lands on a space occupied by an opponent, or a partner, then the opponent or partner's man is "taken", i.e. returned immediately to that player's "Set-Up Area". A man cannot move to a spot occupied by another of his own men.

    If it is possible to play a move, then that move must be made, even if partner's man must be "taken". If, when it is his turn, it is not possible for a player to move then he must "throw in" or place one of his cards face down on the table. It is not compulsory to use a Jack to exchange men in the event that the player has no other move, but if the player cannot otherwise move then the Jack must be placed face down first.

    Players cut the cards to decide who starts. The player cutting the highest card shuffles and cuts the pack and, for the first round, deals five cards, face down, to each player and, after reviewing his cards, plays first. If he has an "Out Card" he can play it face up and move one man from his "Set-up Area" to his "Start". Play progresses to the next player in a clockwise direction, and so on round the board until it comes back to the starting player at which time he may play any one of his remaining cards to move the man on his "Start". Play continues around the board until all players have played or thrown in their cards. The dealing player now picks up the pack of so far unused cards, deals four cards to each player and play proceeds as before. The dealer will deal a third round of four cards each, leaving two cards which are left face down. At the end of the third round, the player on the left of the first dealer retrieves all cards, including the two that were not previously used, shuffles them and deals as before.

    If playing as individuals, the game ends, when one player gets all four of his men into his "Home". Alternatively, if playing as partners, the game is won when both partners get all of their men "Home".

    Players may assist a partner in three ways. The first is by "taking" threatening opponents. The second is by using a Jack to move one of partner's "In-Play" men out of danger or closer to his "Home". The third is that, after one team member has all four of his men "Home", he will continue to be dealt cards and may use them to move the partner's men when it is his turn to play. The winning team will then be the first team to get all of their men "Home".

    Strategy is simple. Negotiate the " In-Play Area" in the most expeditious way. The shortest way is in three moves, by playing an "Out Card", a 4 to move backward, and then a 7 to reach the innermost "Home" spot. Alternatively it may entail using a Jack to exchange a man with another closer to its "Home", or simply using the cards to progress a man around the "In-Play Area".

    Some words of advice. Keep an eye on opponents' men and take or move them with a Jack when they approach their "Home". It is good to have at least two men in play so that you have a choice of which man to move, so that (a) you are not forced to take a partner's man, or (b) you can use a split 7 to move one of your men further into its "Home" area. It is not good to have all of your men in play at the same time, as progress is too slow and they cannot outrun opponents who come from behind and "take" them.

    Rules for 6 players

    Tock for 6 players from Gladius

    Variant for 8 players

    Tock for 8 players Variant from Frank Gaudet

    Rules for 2 players from Down Under again! Thanks to Peter & Nikola Lewis

    Play as for 4 players in 2 teams, but each player controls their two colors simultaneously. Each player is dealt one hand only, and each card they play can play for either of their colors (but not both - you can't split a seven across colors). Number of cards dealt is 7 in the first hand, then 5 thereafter (although we are debating a variant where the dealer chooses how many cards to deal from 4-7 in each hand, providing they leave at least 6 cards for the last hand).

    Enjoy the game




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