Tonk is a fun multiplayer combination card game combining skills, quick thinking, and a dash of luck.
The card game comes with many names, such as Tunk, Texas Tonk, or Knot, and associated rulesets reflecting gameplay in different parts of the world. However, the basic concept and objective of the game remain the same.
The primary goal in Tonk is to be the first player to get rid of all the cards in your hand by forming specific combinations. When a player accomplishes this, they immediately declare “Tonk!” and win the round, leaving the other players with penalty points.
You typically play with two to four players using a standard deck of 52 French-suited playing cards. Each of the four suits – Spades, Clubs, Hearts, and Diamonds – contains 13 ranks, from King to Ace. The card values are as follows: picture cards count 10 points, Aces count 1 point, and other cards count their face value.
To start playing Tonk, shuffle the deck and give each player the same number of cards (five, seven, or nine). Put the remaining cards in a face-down stack in the center to create the draw pile. Then reveal its top card next to it to form the discard pile’s base.
In your turn, you will first draw from either the draw pile or the discard pile. Then you check if you have any valid spreads. Spreads are combinations of at least three cards of the same rank. If you have any, you can place reveal them on the table. If you can’t reveal any spreads, you may also add cards from your hand to any spreads on the table.
If you still have cards after taking these steps, you finish your turn by discarding a card from your hand, and the next player’s turn can begin unless you discard your final card.
But if you empty your hand in your turn, you say “Tonk!” and win!
The game can also stop by the draw pile running out or by one player dropping. If the draw pile runs out, the player with the fewest points in hand wins. And dropping means one player reveals all their cards at once during their turn. Then, all fellow players reveal their cards, too. The player with the fewest points in their revealed cards is the winner.
If you have fun combining matching cards and emptying your hand during play, check out our games at the Rummy Palace, Canasta Palace, and Gin Rummy Palace!