Tiddly-Wink

This is a member of the Block game family which is suitable for a larger number of players. There are several different games with similar names. This page describes an American and a British or European version. All versions have the common feature of allowing an extra play after setting a double.

American Game

In the version of Tiddly-Wink given in American sources, each player is dealt just three tiles from a double six set and the layout has only a single arm.

Equipment

A double six set is used and there are from five to eight players. You will also need poker chips or other counters.

The Deal

The size of the hand is always three tiles. The rest of the tiles stay in the boneyard and are not used in the round.

The Play

Each player puts up a stake in a pool for the round. The player with the largest double always leads and play continues clockwise around the table. If nobody has a double, then a tile is drawn from the boneyard and the higher end is the lead.

After the first tile, all subsequent plays must be on the same end of the line. If a player cannot play, he passes. The hand stops when one player dominoes or when nobody can play.

When a double is played, it is placed in line and the player has the option of playing a second tile in his turn.

Scoring

The player who dominoes wins the pool. If nobody dominoes, then the player with the smallest total of pips in his hand wins the pool.

British Game

In this version, variously listed in British and European books as Tidley Wink or Tiddle-a-Wink, the players have larger hands and tiles can be played on either end of the layout.

Equipment

Up to five or six players can use a double six set. With a greater number of players a double nine or double twelve set should be used.

The Deal

As many tiles as possible are distributed as evenly to the players. Any remaining tiles stay in the boneyard and are not used in the hand. For example using a double six set, five players will take 5 tiles each. leaving 3 in the boneyard. Eight players will take 6 tiles each from a double nine set, leaving 7 in the boneyard.

The Play

The holder of the largest double begins by playing it.

Subsequent tiles can be added to either end of the line, with touching ends matching as in normal Block Dominoes.

When a double is played, the player has the option of playing a second tile.

Scoring

The winner is the player who dominoes, or the player with the lowest remaining pip count if the game is blocked.

Comments & Strategy

The American version of the game improves with more players. The more of the tiles that are out of the boneyard (i.e. the more players) the better the game. With fewer players, the larger boneyard means that it is harder to domino so most games are settled by blocking instead.

A lot of winning in this game is the luck of the draw. A double and a tile in the same suit will allow you to get rid of two tiles in one play, but only if you can play them before someone else dominoes. The real trick is to have the lowest score, which is not the same thing as having the fewest tiles left in your hand.