Tock is a card-and-board game for 2 to 6 players. With 4 or 6 players, it is possible to create two or three teams of 2 players, sitting opposite of each other.
The game concept is the same as Ludo, Sorry! or Mensch ärgere Dich nicht: Each player owns 4 pawns, has to bring them out of their start area into the game circle, and then race them into their home zone.
The difference is that the players don't roll a die. Instead, standard playing cards (like those used in Bridge or Rummy) are dealt to the players, and they can choose to play one of their cards to move a pawn.
Object of the game
In single player games (no teams), the winner is the player who is first to get all 4 pawns into his home.
In team games, the winner is the team that is first to get the pawns of both players into their corresponding homes. After the first player of a team has brought all of his pawns into his home, both players continue to play with the remaining color.
Setup of your game on Board Game Arena
You can choose between three game types.
Free-for-all: This is the single player game, everyone fights for him- or herself, no mercy, no friends, just run and eat every pawn that has the wrong color.
2 vs 2: When you get 4 players at your table, there will be two teams with two players. Assuming that players A1 and A2 belong to team A, and B1,B2 to team B, then the turn order will be A1, B1, A2, B2. With any other number of players, you will play Free-for-all.
2 vs 2 vs 2: When you get 6 players at your table, there will be three teams with two players each. The turn order will be A1, B1, C1, A2, B2, C2.
Because it can be frustrating when the game starts and you don't have any card to let you start, there is the "start configuration" variant that allow you to place your first pawn on your start field before the game starts (Fast Start)
Playing a hand of cards
One of the players takes the role of the dealer and deals three to five cards to each player. The exact number of cards dealt depends on the number of players, and varies so that the 52 cards of the deck can be distributed evenly. For example, in a 2 player game, the first two hands contain 5 cards, followed by four hands of 4 cards. Don't worry, the game takes care of this automatically. After all cards of a hand are played, the role of the dealer moves to the next player.
The player following the dealer gets the first turn. In each turn, a player plays one of his hand cards and moves one or more pawns. The played card determines which move is possible. Then the next player takes his turn. This continues until all hands are empty, then the role of the dealer moves the player following the previous dealer, new hands are dealt from the remaining deck and the next round begins. And yes, you're right, this means that the dealer misses a turn.
When all cards of the deck have been dealt and played, they are shuffeled as the new deck and the game continues.
Exchanging of cards
In team games, after dealing, each player exchanges one card with his team partner. Both partners choose a card, then the cards are exchanged. It is important to choose a card that is most useful for the team partner.
Each player has a start zone, where their pawns are placed at the beginning of the game. Near the start zone, a field in the game circle is marked in the player's color. This is the start field. When a pawn is brought into play (see Ace or King), it is placed on that start field. Pawns are protected on that start field. They cannot be eaten, they cannot be skipped, and they cannot be swapped by a Jack. Once a pawn leaves the start field, the protection ends, even if it returns to it!
Eating and Skipping
When a pawn is moved so that it stops on a field that is occupied by another pawn, that pawn is eaten (or thrown). It is removed to its start zone. Outside of the home zones, it is possible to eat ANY pawn, even your own or those of your team partner. If your start field is coccupied by the pawn of another player, and you play a start card (Ace or King), that pawn is eaten, too. If you can't play any other card, you may even be forced to eat yourself.
Normally, it's no problem to overtake other pawns, just count the field where they are standing as any empty field and hop along. There are three exceptions. (1) The Start Field (see above), (2) the Seven (see below), (3) the home zone. You cannot skip pawns in the home zone. So, if using a card requires a pawn to skip other pawns, but they can't be skipped, the card cannot be used for that pawn.
Entering the home zone
When you want to enter your home zone, the played card must fit. You must use the complete movement that a card provides. If that movement goes too far, you cannot enter the home zone, but must continue on the circle.
To play or not to play - being blocked
As long as you can play a card that lets you make a allowed move, you must play. If that's not possible, you must discard one card. There are three situations that can force you to discard: (1) All your pawns are in your start zone, and you have neither Ace nor King. (2) You queue up behind some obstinate pawn that won't leave it's Start Field. (3) Your predecessor played or discarded a Ten (see below).
Effects of cards
Playing a card allows you to move pawns by one or more fields. You can move pawns along the ring of fields, and you can move pawns into their own home zone. Cards that are not mentioned simply move one pawn by the number of fields given by the value of the card.
The color (or suit) of the cards has no meaning in Tock.
- Bring a new pawn from your start zone to the start field, or move one pawn that is already in the game forward by one field.
- Move one of your pawns 4 fields backwards! It is not possible to move backwards into the home fields. And it's not possible to back out of your home zone to go on a quick hunt. Home is Home!
- You can choose between two options.
- 7 split: you get seven one-step moves. You can do them with one pawn, or distribute them between your pawns. But you must play them all, even if it hurts. Since the pawns do single steps, all other pawns on their way are eaten. There is one restriction: you cannot use a 7 to move your last pawn into your home and continue to play with the pawns of your team partner. You must complete your move before you can start helping your partner.
- 1-7 no split: you get up to seven one-step moves. You must do then with one pawn, but you can forfeit some of them if you want.
- You move one of your pawns forward by 10 fields. Additionally, this forbids the next player all movement, so they have to discard one of their cards. The Stop Moving function of the 10 is always active, even when a 10 is discarded! There's one exception: The effect of a 10 does not carry over to the next hand, so when you play a 10 and the next player has an empty hand, there is no forced discard.
- Pay attention! Normally, when you click on a card, you just select it for movement. But if your predecessor played a 10, the function of a click changes to Discard, and the clicked card is discarded at once. This is evil by design, not a bug!
- Exchange one of your pawns with any other pawn that's on the ring of fields. Pawns that are standing on their start field cannot be exchanged! You are allowed to exchange two of your own pawns, which has no effect at all. But sometimes, that's just what one needs.
- Move one of your pawns by 12 fields
- - King
- You can move one of your pawns by 13 fields, or bring a new pawn from your start zone to the start field.