hist-games: Re: Trictrac & Ticktack

Thierry Depaulis thierry.depaulis at freesbee.fr
Sun Mar 30 10:58:32 PST 2003

More on Trictrac, Ticktack and Toc

The rules of Toc are given in "Suite du trictrac, contenant les règles des
jeux du revertier, du toute-table, du tourne-case, des dames rabattues, du
plain et du toc, comme on les joüe aujourd'huy" (Paris :  Henry
Charpentier, 1699). They clearly are a variant of Trictrac:

"Regles du jeu du toc.
De la qualité de ce Jeu, & pourquoy on le nomme du Toc.
Tous ceux qui sçavent le Trictrac à fond, peuvent joüer tres facilement au
Jeu du Toc, parce que l'un & l'autre consiste dans les mesmes Regles, dans
la mesme marche & disposition du Jeu.
Il est appellé le Jeu du Toc parce que le seul but de ceux qui joüent, est
de Toucher & Battre leur Adversaire, ou de gagner une Partie double ou
simple, par un Jan ou par un Plain..."

Toc must have a connection with Cardano's "tocadiglium" whose Italian name
was 'tocadiglio' (referred to in 1526 par Francesco Berni, then by several
16th/17th-century Italian writers).

In his Italian-French dictionary ("Recherches italiennes & françoises", I,
1640) Antoine Oudin has:
"Toccadiglio, sorte de jeu de trictrac."

The name is likely to come from Spain. A game named "tocadillo" was also
known there in the 16th century (without much detail). Interestingly John
Minsheu's "Dictionarie of Spanish and English" (London, 1599), writes:
"Tocadillo, m. a game at tables called ticke tacke."
César Oudin, "Thresor des deux langues françoise et espagnolle...", Paris,
1621, has: "Tocadillo, le jeu du triquetac, vulgairement triquetrac ou

Cardano's "Liber de ludo aleae" was translated by Sydney H. Gould and
published in O. Ore (Øre), "Cardano, the gambling scholar", Princeton,
1953. Here is the relevant passage:
"There are three other rather celebrated games with two tesserae [cubic
dice], namely, Tocadiglium, of which there are two kinds, the smaller,
which depends on luck, and the greater, which requires far-seeing judgment;
and there is also Canis Martius and Tables [sic!], which are games
requiring a moderate degree of skill; but Canis Martius requires an
outstanding intelligence."
[A flaw in Gould's translation! The context is that of a "mediocre" game;
but Denis's rendering, although better, is not satisfying. I would say:
"Canis Martius does not need an outstanding intelligence."]
There is also another game which they call Minoretum, and there are two
varieties of this, as of Tocadiglium, namely, the greater and the smaller;
in the latter it is not possible to reenter with a man which has been
struck off, and the game is lost just as in Tocadiglia [sic] when the
pieces have been taken. But in greater Tocadiglia [sic], when this happens
it is nevertheless up to the player's judgment whether he wishes to

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