North American Tiddlywinks Association

NATwA founded • 27 February 1966

  • Author: Michael Crick
  • Title: The Game of Squop
  • Date: Originally marked as 6 March 1969, with “6” crossed out and “10” provided instead (on two of the three original versions examined)
  • Preparation and production formats (all in NATwA Archives)
    • Computer printout on green and white paper
    • Dot-matrix printout on white paper
    • Typewritten (with multiple variations in the text as compared to the above versions)
  •  Optical character recognition (of computer printout on green and white paper) on 14 September 2022 using Abbyy FineReader
  • Copyright markings: none.
  • Usage markings: “These rules are the property of Michael Crick and the North American Tiddlywinks Association.”
  •  Proofread: 14 September 2022 by Rick Tucker
  • Update date: 14 September 2022


Since the International Rules of TIDDLYWINKS ware defined in the mid 1950’s, the game has evolved a long way from the game conceived of by the originators. The single event that had the greatest impact was the development of double-sguop strategy in the early 1960’s. This strategy is now almost universally adopted. Unfortunately games played using this strategy almost invariably run to the time-limit unless one side is weak. There develops an atmosphere of stalemate and the game provides little amusement for spectators. In 1965 an attempt was made to remedy the situation by modifying the method of scoring. The plan was to encourage pot-squop strategy by giving a bonus point for potting out. This change was in the right direction but proved to have too little impact. Meanwhile, at London University, a new set of rules developed for squopping practice. No pot was used, and the object of the game was to cover all ones opponent’s winks. These “squopping matches” have since become very popular. It seemed that there should be some way of combining the best features of squopping matches, the original pot-squop game, and the double-squop game which is now so prevalent. It was from this premise that the game of SQUOP developed.


It should be stated at the outset that SQUOP is conceived of as being a completely new game, quite separate and distinct from its parents. It is hoped that it will be widely accepted and played at match level. It is therefore essential that everyone agrees on the rules. It is not permissable to play hybrid games which are neither one thing or the other. For this reason, considerable care and effort has gone into testing and refining the rules. It is hoped that if the changes are sufficiently well explained the game will be accepted as a game in its own right alongside the older games—in the same way that snooker is accepted alongside billiards. The rules as they currently stand have been accepted by Congress of the North American Tiddlywinks Association. It is hoped that they will be likewise accepted by the other Tiddlywinks Associations in the near future. Then SQUOP will become a truiy international game.


The most fundamental change in the new game is the reduction of the number of winks to four (one large, three small) . This is a deliberate attempt to shift the game in favour of pot-squop strategy. Trials indicate that double-squop is still effective, but that a mixed strategy is even more effective. The new rules make for a much livelier livlier, much tenser, and much more varied game.

The second major change is to count squopping all eight of your opponents’ winks as a win. A method for scoring such wins has been devised. In practice this rule acts more as a deterrent, forcing the losing side to start potting and in so doing forfeiting their chance of gaining ”the advantage” (your potter follows their potter). With so few winks the advantage assumes considerable importance. 

Thirdly, the scoring has been changed so that game scores add to 10 and match scores add to 100. Finally to set the new game off clearly as a new game, a new name, namely SQUOP, has been adopted. This should have less of the unfortunate stigma attached to TIDDLYWINKS.<br><br>
NOTES: In addition to the major changes there are a number of minor changes. The philosophy of free turns has been revised so that you now get them all and either player can take them. The new rules form an integral whole which we feel is simpler and freer of weird exceptions. You now get that extra shot for potting one of your opponents’ winks. Also, a wink on the boundary may not be squopped until its owner has had a chance to play. We hope that you will bear with these changes and give them a fair try. We feel they are an improvement and we hope they will be accepted alongside the other more important changes.


We are hoping that the game of SQUOP will be widely accepted, but have some apprehension that people will not be willing to try it, or will show a conservative attachment to the older games. It will be very interesting to get different reactions from different clubs. We shall be particularly interested to hear:
  1. What strategies are most successful. Can you collect valid statistics including what happened, who won, and estimations of the skills of the players taking part.
  2. Any Matches. So far none have been played with the finalized rules. It will be interesting to hear who plays the first match and how the scoring works out.
  3. Any bugs. We hope these are few.


  1. SQUOP is a game for 4 players, those who play opposite each other being partners. The game is played with a mat, a pot, winks (counters) , and a set of squidgers (used to flick the winks). The ultimate object of the game is to sguidge (flick) all one’s winks into the pot. A major intermediate objective is to squop (cover or partly cover) your opponents’ winks and thus immobilize them.
  2. THE MAT should have a surface of a felt-like, non-pile structure, e.g. blanket or carpet, large enough to permit the winks to be placed 3 feet from the pot. Where possible, matches should be played on felt mats measuring 2 yards by 1 yard. Authorized mats are available from the official manufacturers. The surface on which the mat is placed should be hard, smooth, and horizontal. The base lines, to be marked at the corners of the mat, are straight lines crossing the mat’s diagonals at right angles 3 feet from their mid-point.

    NOTE: Visiting captains are entitled to refuse to play on tables only if the table surface measures less than 2 yards by 1 yard.

  3. THE POT should be 1 7/16” high, with a top diameter of 1 15/16″. It is placed in the center of the mat.

    NOTE: Nothing may be allowed inside the pot other than the potted winks, and potted winks may not be removed from the pot.

  4. THE WINKS AND THE SQUIDGERS. Each player plays with 4 winks of the same color. There should be 3 small winks, thickness 1/16″, diameter 5/8″, and 1 large wink, thickness 3/32″, diameter 7/8″. A large counter, called a “squidger”, is used to sguidge (flick) the winks. Squidgers are normally 1 1/2” in diameter, but special squidgers may be used unless they threaten to damage the winks or it is agreed otherwise.
    1. The game is normally completed when all the players have potted all their winks. In this case scoring is as follows:
      • The first player to pot all his winks scores 6 points
      • The second player to pot all his winks scores 3 points
      • The third player to pot all his winks scores 1 point
      • The fourth player does not score.

      Partners add their scores together and the winning pair receives a bonus point for “potting out” (see Rule 12) which is deducted from the score of the losing pair.

    2. A second way of winning SQUOP is to squop (cover) all eight of your opponents’ winks. This is known as a “squop out”.  In this case, the winning pair scores 7 points for winning, 2 bonus points for each wink in the pot, and 1 bonus point for each free wink on the mat up to a maximum of 10 points. The losing pair takes the remainder of the 10 points. If the pair that is squopped has one or more winks in the pot, the game proceeds procedes according to rule 11.

      NOTE: Winks played out-of-bounds or still at the baseline count as ‘free winks’; winks involved in a squobble and winks in the pot do not.

  6. THE START or SQUIDGE OFF. Initially, each player places his 4 winks behind the base line. The colors should be arranged in alphabetic order (blue-green-red-yellow) proceeding proceding clockwise. Each player then squidges one of his winks towards the pot. These winks are brought back to the starting position and the player whose wink was nearest the pot has first squidge.

    NOTES: (i) In the event of a tie, those tying have a resquidge. (ii) A wink may not be squopped until it has been squidged from the starting position.

  7. PLAY proceeds procedes in a clockwise direction round the mat. Each player may play only his own winks and has one shot per turn, with an additional shot for every wink he pots in that turn.

    NOTES: (i) A player receives an additional shot if he is ingenious enough to pot someone else’s wink while desquopping. (ii) A wink is deemed to be potted only when it has come to rest in the pot, or balanced on the rim. (iii) Potted winks are replaced if knocked out by another wink, (iv) If a wink comes to rest leaning against the pot it is moved to lie flat, just touching the pot, even if this results in its squopping another wink.

  8. THE BOUNDARIES are the base lines and the edges of the mat. If at any time a player squidges one or more of his own winks out-of-bounds, he misses his next shot. Winks played out-of-bounds are immediately replaced a large wink’s width from the boundary near the point of departure.

    NOTES: (i) A wink is considered out-of-bounds if it lies over the boundary or so near the edge of the mat as to be unplayable. (ii) A wink may not be replaced on top of another wink, (iii) A wink played out-of-bounds may not be squopped until its owner has had a legal opportunity to play it. Should such a wink be covered accidentally the covering wink is moved aside.

  9. SQUOPPING. Any wink or winks covered, however slightly, by another wink may not be played. The act of covering another wink is called ’’squopping”, the covered winks are said to be ”squopped”, and a pile of two or more winks is known as a ‘’squobble” (squop-pile).
  10. DESQUOPPING. A player may play his own uncovered wink on the top of a sguobble with sufficient vigor to free all or some of the squopped winks. This shot is known as “desquopping”. In executing such a shot the squidger must first come into contact only with the player’s uncovered wink. The shot must be played in such a way that in the inevitable follow through the squidger does not hit any winks that were not initially totally or partially below the wink played. The stroke used in desquopping must be short, continuous, and predominantly downwards. A shot played any other way is a foul.
  11. FREE TURNS. If one pair has one or more winks in the pot but no playable winks, the opposing pair counts its remaining free winks (not involved in a squobble) and has that number of free turns plus one. The free turns may be taken by either member of the squopping pair in any order. On the last free turn one member of the squopping pair must free one of their opponents’ winks unless they have already done so. After the free turns normal rotation resumes where it left off. Any of the squopped pair’s winks freed during the free turns may be resquopped so long as one is left free after the last free turn. The squopped pair must be allowed at least one shot before they can be totally squopped again.

    NOTES: (i) If all 8 winks of one pair are squopped the squopping pair win the game—see Rule 5 (b). (ii) The squopping pair do not forfeit their remaining free turns if they free one of their opponents’ winks before the last free turn. (iii) If on the last free turn, the squopping pair make a serious attempt to free one of their oppononts’ winks and fail, the squopping wink played is moved aside to allow the opponent to play. Otherwise the squopped pair is allowed to move aside a wink of their choice. (iv) If the squopping pair cannot agree as to which of them should take which free turns, they should play in normal rotation.

  12. POTTING OUT. The first player to pot all his winks is said to have ”potted out”. When this occurs, squopping ceases to have any effect, and all the squopped winks are immediately uncovered, as are any that subsequently become squopped. The uncovering is done by moving aside the squopping wink, always at the same distance from the pot, until it no longer squops any wink. On potting out, all further restrictions on the duration of the game (see below) cease.
  13. THE TIME LIMIT. It is suggested that a time limit of about 20 minutes per game be imposed. If and when this expires, play continues until the player who won the squidge off has had his turn. 5 complete rounds of turns are then played. If after these rounds the game is still undecided, it is adjudicated as follows: Each player receives 30 time-limit points for each of his winks in the pot, and 10 for every other wink not squopped. Players total these points individually. The player with the highest total then receives 6 points, the next 3, the third 1, and the lowest none, and partners add their scores together. In the event of a tie, each player receives the appropriate average score.

    NOTES: (i) Free turns do not count as part of the 5 rounds. (ii) When the score is decided by adjudication the winning pair does not receive a bonus point from the losing pair.

  14. DISTURBANCE OF WINKS. Any winks disturbed accidentally, e.g. by the follow through of a shot or by bodily contact, should be replaced in their former positions. If a wink in motion is accidentally obstructed, it is replaced in a mutually agreed position and the next player continues with his turn. If a foul shot is committed, the opponents of the player have the option of making the player play again, or leaving the winks as they stand. A wink may be turned over unless it is squopping or squopped but otherwise if a player deliberately interferes with any wink in play, or impedes his opponent, the game ceases and the opponents receive all 10 points.
  15. MATCH PROCEDURE. A SQUOP team normally consists of 3 pairs of players. Each pair plays one game against each pair of the opposing team and in the final round the top scoring pairs on each side play again, making 10 games in all. The total score should add to 100.
NOTES: (i) The captains may agree to omit the final game and divide the score 5-5. (ii) If captain so wishes,, he may substitute a different pair than the top scoring pair to play in the final round.

These rules are the property of Michael Crick and the North American Tiddlywinks Association. They may not be changed or modified in any way.
Difficulties in interpretation and requests for extra copies should be sent to Michael Crick, 19 Cottage Street, CAMBRIDGE, Mass. 02139, USA. Copyright being applied for.
These rules were printed using ‘SCRIPT * run under CP/CMS on an IBM 360/67. 6 10 March 1969.