[Cotton, The Complete Gamester, London, 1674, pp. 158-161.]
ALL your men must stand on the Ace-point, and from thence play forward, but have a care of being too forward, or so at leastwise that Doublets reach you not.
Secure your Sice and Cinque-point whatever you do, and break them not unless it be when you have the advantage of going in, which is the greatest advantage you can have next to a hit; for your Adversaries eleventh point standing open you have it may be the opportunity of going in with two of your men, and then you win a double Game. A hit is but one, and that is, when you throw such a cast that some one of your men will reach your Adversaries unbound, but sometimes thought it hits it will not pass by reason of a stop in the way, and then it is nothing. Sometimes it is good going over into your Adversaries Tables, but it is best for an After-game.
Playing close at home is the securest way, playing at length is both rash and unsafe, and be careful of binding your men when you lie in danger of the enemy. Moreover, if you see you are in danger of losing a double Game give your Adversary one; if you can it is better doing so than losing two.
Here note, if you fill up all the points of your second Table with your own men you win two, and that you may prevent your Adversary from doing so (if you are in danger thereof) if you can, make a vacant point in his Tables, and it is impossible for him to do it.
This is the plain Game of Tick-Tack, which is called so from Touch, and take, for if you touch a man you must play him though to your loss; and if you hit your Adversary and neglect the advantage, you are taken with a Why not, which is the loss of one: likewise if you are in, and your cast is such that you may also go into your Adversaries eleventh point by two other men, and you see it not, either by carelessness or eager prosecution of a hit which is apparent before your eyes, you lose two irrecoverably. Besides, it is a very great oversight as your men may stand not to take a point when you may do it.
Now some play this Game with Toots, Boveries, and Flyers; Toots is, when you fill up your Table at home and then there is required small throws; for if you get over with a Sice you have no benefit of Toots.
Boveries is when you have a man in the eleventh point of your own Tables, and another in the same point of your Adversaries directly answering.
Flyers is, when you bring a man round the Tables before your Adversary have got over his first Table, to the effecting of which there is required very high throwing of your side, and very low throwing of his.
Much more might be said as to the craft of the play, which cannot be so will discovered as from observation in your own or others playing.
There are several foolish pastims to be plaid in the Tables which are ridiculous to treat of, wherefore I shall only mention these three. Viz.
[Cotton now proceeds into sections on Dubblets, Sice-Ace, and Ketch-Dolt, other Tables variants.]