Tock Rules

The game of Tock has it’s origins from the India game Parchisi. When settlers arrived in Quebec they altered Parchisi in a few ways which became known as Ludo or Petits Chevaux. For whatever reasons they also decided to substitute the dice for playing cards. Today there are many variations of Tock. I am posting the original rules as they are known and then local variations in order of my preference.

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Tock_Board_Game

  (1): The track. (2): The center pile. (3): Yellow’s start area. (4): Yellow’s post position, marked ’18′. (5): Yellow’s home court. (6): Green’s discard pile.      ~•~•~•~•~ Picture, caption, and original rules shamelessly stolen from Dan Jones  ~•~•~•~•~

Rules for 2, 3, 4 players

  • Pieces required:
      • 1 wooden board (similar to as shown above), 16 marbles of 4 different colors, a deck of regular playing cards with 2 jokers.
      • Can be played by 2, 3, or 4 people. 4 person play can be as 4 individuals or as two 2 person teams.
  • Value of the cards:
      Ace: Allows to activate a new marble or to move an activated marble forward one space at any time.
      King: Allows to activate a new marble or to move an activated marble forward 13 spaces at any time.
      Queen: Allows to move an activated marble forward 12 spaces.
      Jack: Allows to move an activated marble forward 11 spaces.
      Cards from 2 to 10: Allows to move an activated marble 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 with the same color of your marbles 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. Which provides a shortcut from #8 to #8.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Published on December 25, 2006 at 8:18 pm  Comments (56)  

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    1. SHAMELESS!
      Thanks for the credit though.

    2. Indeed it was. This is an effort to settle some arguements. I haven’t finished the page though, and must get around to this one of these days.

    3. Who deals first?
      Do you pick up a card only if you can’t go? if so, then do you also have to discard one?

      How do the cards come into play?

      • Everyone gets one card and the highest card deals first. everyone plays all thier 5 cards first (one at a time) The person left of the dealer plays one card first, then the player to their left plays one card after that , and so on until all 5 cards are gone. Then the dealer deals out 4 more cards to each player and the person to the left of the one who played their last card plays a card first. Again each player plays one card until all the cards in each players hands are gone. If you cant go you must disgard a card and wait until it goes around the board back to you. If you have a “dead” hand, you must discard all your cards until that round is played and the dealer has to deal more cards. You don’t pick up cards ever

    4. We have a dispute :-)
      If a player has no playable cards, and discards a Jack, does the rule of passing a turn for the player to the left apply?

      • As avid players, we came upon this grey area also.
        We decided that if you could not move your marble, your card is essentially trashed. No turn skipping.

      • If he has no marbles out and or can not play any cards then his hand is considered a dead hand. He must through all his remaining cards into the pot, and wait till the next deal of cars are shelled out to play again.

    5. I’m confused about the cards. The way we play, 5 cards are dealt, and on every turn you either play a card or discard, and then draw a new card. So you keep 5 cards in your hand (unless you forget to draw a card, then you’re stuck with four for the rest of the game.)

      how does it work when you deal 5 cards on the first turn and then 4 cards on the 2nd?

      Do you play one of the 5 cards on the first turn, put them all down, play one of the 4 new cards on the 2nd turn, put them all down, play one of the 4 new cards on the 3rd turn, and reshuffle everything?

      Or on the 2nd turn, do you add the 4 new cards to the 4 you already have in your hand, so you have 8 to choose from when you play your 2nd turn? And then add the 4 new cards to the 7 in your hand on the 3rd turn so you have 11 to choose from? And then don’t deal any more cards until everybody has played everything that is in their hand?

      Both methods seem wierd to me, – I just don’t know how to interpret these rules for dealing the cards.

      • You are delat 5 cards to begin. as such you have 5 turns. this is where the strategy comes into play. so you can try and plan your next 5 moves ahead of time. once everyone has gone 5 times, you garbage the cards and deal 4 from then on. Continually picking up cards would make the game a little too easy since you could save your power cards (jacks, 4′s etc..) for when it worked best.

        • Oh, I disagree! We keep 5 cards in our hands at all times (unless you forget to draw) and YES, we do store our Jacks and Jokers until it will do our opponents the most harm! (So when we finish the deck, and reshuffle, sometimes you think, “were the two jokers played, no… well, somebody is holding onto them…)

          It makes the game MUCH harder because everytime you’re about to go into HOME, SOMEBODY will hit you with a Jack or a Joker! Makes us all very devious! And the game is much more fun because it is more strategy and less “luck of the deal”

    6. When playing a 4 if you are on the start you cannot go backwards but if you are on 1 can you go backwards and then into the house.?????

      • Heck yes!

      • You deal 5 cards first time around, each payer plays one card at a time (without picking up any other cards) until all the 5 cards are played. Then the dealer deals 4 cards to each player and again each player plays one card at a time until they are done and so on and so on until the deck is all delt out. Then the deal is passed on to the person to the left and it starts all over (until there is a winner)

    7. you do not pick up new cards, the dealer deals them to you when you have all discarding you hand. So first deal you all get 5 cards you must discard every turn. Once all are gone you all get 4 card you again must discard a card on your turn, when repeat 4 cards to all until the deck has been gone throught. the next person deals the same occures.

      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.

      I hope this help

    8. Thanks for making this site, we refer noobies here to learn the rules.

    9. Explain to me how the “heaven” scenerio works. Do you already have to be on an 8? and when you get into “heaven”. does it take an ace 10 or king to proceed across? and can you only go directly across to the 8? I am a bit confused with how that works.

      • you have to be on an 8 to get into heaven, and yes it takes an Ace,King or ten to get out. (in any location)

    10. Ok, what about the joker? The way we play the game is that it is used as a starter or it can help you to move by 1 space or 13. Is this correct?

      Thank you.

      Daniel

      • We play the joker can start play or moves 20 spaces forward. You also draw one card from the unused deck and have a second play using any card in your hand.

    11. The way we play – the joker can be used to
      * get your partner out onto the board
      * Move 13 spaces
      * or take one marble from your Start and knock another marble off – replacing them with yours.

      The last is how it’s mostly used and it’s a very nasty move. :)

      • But I must note – my family’s rules are not official rules – having learned the game from a Canadian 10 years ago, created our own boards and never having owned an official version. :)

    12. when you get your marbles to home court there are spaces marked 1 2 3 4. do you need the exact card number to go from the board to home court

      • I would say that depends on the people that you’re playing with. Some that I play with insist on that rule, and others want to play it easier and say that as long as you have points equal or greater than those needed to get you in, you’re good to go.

      • Yes you do, but you can jump your own marbles as well

    13. I remember being taught this by a Canadian family – but without the playing cards. Use two dice to play – and have to have a double to start. Can only proceed from ’18′ if your double was a double six – proceed twleve places. Otherwise wait until next throw before moving. My board is a printed one like on the picture – always curious about the pictures of playing cards. Only became slightly computer literate a short while ago and tried to find out about the game. Just stumbled on this site this evening. Thanks

    14. I want to buy a board for the game. Would like it to be 30×30 but I can’t find a website to buy one at. Do you know where I can get one? Thank you..Leta

      • I built my own using a table saw and a router. painted the colors by hand and it works great. had a hard time finding marbles but 2nd hand store had a chinese checkers board for cheap and used the marbles from that.

      • Go to board game geek dot com and order one

    15. Leta, we first learned of this game while vacationing in Florida and wanted to get it. We canvassed the internet and found varying prices, and then the shipping charges to get it to Canada were significant. It’s made by a Quebec firm but their website doesn’t even mention it. We contacted a local toy store who said they could order it for us for $29.95 (+ taxes) and we had it within 2 weeks.

      • So what is the name of the game, and who is it made by?

    16. What are the rules particular to the “Tock Plus” game. made by Industries Prince, and where there are two cross rows of marbles through the middle of the board????? I can’t find them anywhere

    17. Number 18 or the entry spot where the arrow is pointing. Is that considered a safe zone…meaning that if you are on your own Number 18 no one can land on yuou to kick you out or even go by you?
      If so…should you be on Number 18 and move either way and land back on Number 18…is it still considered safe…or because it left the Number 18 spot…the safe zone no longer applies?

      • nce you leave the safe zone that marble is no longer eligible to be declared safe in the #18 spot unless it is put back to home and comes into play with an A or a K for a new turn around the board also if you are on your own #18 the safe zone no one can pass you or exchange with you it is considered a block. as long as you are playing your own other marbles you can maintain your block until such time as you must move it.

      • Once your marble is out your not safe at all untill your marble is in the home section. If your on the 18 you can be bumped back into the start or someone can exchange marbles with you as well. Your not safe until your marble is home

    18. what are the rules for playing this game with dice instead of cards?

    19. If you start on 18; play a three and advance three, then play a four, can you go back four past the 18? I know from the 18 you play a four you go back to 14.

    20. We can’t seem to understand how this is played for six players. You deal 5 cards out and with and A or K you put your marble on 18. What if you can’t play out of those 5 cards. There seems to be come confusion even in the replies I read above. Do you keep 5 cards in your hands at all times? Or do you deal 5 and no one gets any more cards until everyone has all the 5 cards gone? That would be a boring game! Some may never get to play. The rules are very confusing about dealing when and how or if you draw after all the required deals are made, or discard regardless whether you get an A or K.

      • lol that’s the rules, but reading through all this I see everyone is making up their own rules anyways.. Imagine if we all got together with our own rules and tried to play a game..lol

    21. The best way to play with 6 players is to buy a board designed for 6 players with 6 sets of marbles. There is also a board available for 8 players.

      If you have a 4 player board and 6 people playing then you use only 3 sets of marbles and have 3 teams of 2 players. Say you are using Red (R), Green (G) & Blue (B). Players would be seated and play in this order R1 G1 B1 R2 G2 B2

      If you cant play a card you have to discard one. If you don`t have any pieces in play & don`t have a coming out card in your hand you will have to discard all your cards as there is nothing you can do on that hand.

      I agree with you that the rules supplied with the game are badly written and confusing. As you can see from previous posts many have developed their own conventions. Probably because of all the grey areas in the rules supplied.
      I like the one about of not being able to play a 4 and go backwards from the 18 spot.

      • It’s a great game but be sure to play the came that suites your family or company. Remember don’t chose the rules that makes the game last to long. It’s much more interesting playing 3 or 4 games that it is one long game.

    22. When you have gone around the board and arrive to home, if your card is higher than the number needed to get into home, do you go around again ?

      • The way we play is to burn a card until the end of the round or your marble gets gobbled by an opponent.

      • No you do not have to go around again, just remember that you can be bumped back home though

    23. Tock
      Master Sylvain Faust says “absolutely not!” you must burn a card.

      • This is the way we play also.

    24. Wow! I owe an apology to those who have commented here over the last few years. I had completely forgotten about this blog and the Tock page. Will get to a reply shortly!!

    25. We play that the Joker is used to put a marble in play or move twenty-five spaces. Joker also allows you to pass someone in place of the eightneen start. If you land on eight your also safe but to get into heaven only an Ace is used. Seven eats all marbles within its moves. If you can not move on your play all cards are put on the table.

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    28. How many decks of cards do you use for the 6 player board and do you deal the same way?

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    30. TOK Rules THE WAY WE PLAY

      DEAL: 4 players: Dealer deals 5 cards to each player. Player to the left of the dealer starts by playing one card (if he can) to move a marble to his start position. Play continues clockwise until hand is completed. Then the same dealer deals 4 more cards to each player. Play continues in successive hands until deck is finished. Deal then moves to the next player to the left dealing in the same manner. Repeat until the game is won.

      2 Players: 5 cards are dealt first two hands; 4 are dealt in successive hands until deck is used up.

      OBJECT: To move a player’s 4 marbles from the start base to home base which is to the player’s right.

      DIFFERENT CARDS HAVE DIFFERENT MOVES AS FOLLOWS:

      Ace: Bring out one marble from start base into start position (S/18 to right of starting base)
      OR move one marble 1 space forward

      2 3 5 8 9 10: Move one marble the number of spaces represented on the card. If the player’s marble lands on a spot occupied by another marble, the marble occupying the space is sent back to that player’s start base

      4: Move one marble 4 spaces backward

      7: Move one marble 7 spaces forward
      (any marble it jumps automatically goes back to that player’s start base)
      OR: player may split the move between 2 of his marbles

      Jack: Move one marble 11 spaces forward
      OR: exchange places with any other player’s marble on the board except if they are in their start (S/18) position

      Queen: Move one marble 12 spaces forward

      King: Bring one marble into start position
      OR: move one marble 13 spaces forward

      Joker: Move one marble 20 spaces forward
      (It can jump over any marble including those in any safe (S/18) position)
      When a Joker is played, the player gets an extra card and an extra play.

      OTHER RULES:

      When a marble lands on an occupied space, the marble occupying the space is sent back to that player’s start base. If a player’s marble is sitting on his start position, no other player’s marble may move past that marble. Neither can another player land on that start (safe) position as long as it is occupied by its owner. It is no longer safe to the owner if he has moved off the start position, and then moves back to his start position.

      A player may not jump his own marbles in his home base; each has to be moved up in order to move more in.

      A player must always play if he has a move. A player is never required to pass his home base if he does not have the correct play to get in. At that point he discards a card.

      When playing partners, after one partner moves all his marbles to home base, then he plays his partner’s marbles to assist him in getting home. If he cannot make a play he discards one card, and maybe play the next turn.

      If you land on the dead space you may choose either to wait for a 4 back, or go around the board again.

      The first team to get all their marbles into home base wins.

      MARBLE TOK

      Ace: 1 Out
      1 Forward

      4: 4 Backward

      7: 7 Forward
      Split between 2 of your own marbles
      (any marble it jumps automatically goes back to that player’s start base)

      Jack: 11 Forward
      Exchange places with any other player’s marble on the board
      except if they are in their start (S/18) position

      Queen: 12 Forward

      King: 1 Out
      13 Forward

      Joker: 20 Forward
      (It can jump over any marble including those in any safe (S/18) position)
      When a Joker is played, the player gets an extra card and an extra play.

      Other: According to value of the card

      MARBLE TOK

      Ace: 1 Out
      1 Forward

      4: 4 Backward

      7: 7 Forward
      Split between 2 of your own marbles
      (any marble it jumps automatically goes back to that player’s start base)

      Jack: 11 Forward
      Exchange places with any other player’s marble on the board
      except if they are in their start (S/18) position

      Queen: 12 Forward

      King: 1 Out
      13 Forward

      Joker: 20 Forward
      (It can jump over any marble including those in any safe (S/18) position)
      When a Joker is played, the player gets an extra card and an extra play.

      Other: According to value of the card

      • You must have made up these rules. None of these rules exist on any box the board come in. I have been playing this game for 20 years and I hate it when people make up extreme rules.

        Stick to the rules that came with the board, every other rule on here that were made up is ridiculous. That’s like changing the rule in a game of Texas hold’em or changing the rules in curling. It’s stupid and ridiculous someone invented this game to be played one way and shame on those who change the game completely. There just all to lazy to make there own board game

    31. Is there any way to play this game with 3 players

    32. 2- With a 10, one exchanges a marble with the opponent of his choice: this allows the player to advance faster. When you are on the 17 spot to go home and you don’t have any cards in you hand to move. But has a ten do you have to switch with someone or your out.

    33. Yes because you have a marble still in play and the 10 is a switching card, you must switch with another players marble of your choice. Just like a 4 you have to move your marble back 4 spaces even if your on the 17 spot. If a player has a marble in play any card in his or hers hand that can be played must be played.


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