TABLE Tantrix Tournament Rules – 2009 World Tantrix
The most important points are highlighted like this
- If players are unsure whether their bag contains a complete set of tiles, they should
check the set before the game starts.
Once the game has begun it will be scored even if the set is later found
to be incorrect.
- It is the responsibility of both players to ensure
that the clock is set correctly.
- Please use the colour
registered as your first
preference unless both players have
registered the same first preference colour. In that case, if they cannot
agree and neither player is willing to let the other use the mutual first
preference colour, then they should each use their second preference
colours. If second preferences are
the same too, we encourage players to agree on alternative colours. If you
cannot agree, refer to the Controller. If one player has not registered a
first preference colour, they cannot prevent the other player playing with
their first preference but they can play with any of the other three
- Each player takes a coloured ‘tile mat’ outlined with the colour they will be playing with
in that game. Your tiles must be
placed on or close to it so the colour you are playing with is obvious to
your opponent and to spectators.
- Names, colours and other details known before the
game starts should be filled in on the score sheet. To aid accurate input of results, the player on
the left on the fixture list
should be written on the left on
the score sheet.
- Each player takes one tile at random from the bag. The player with the higher-numbered tile will move first. These two tiles are then replaced and the player not moving first shakes the bag
to mix the tiles again.
- Each player then takes their six starting tiles at random from the bag and places all of
their starting tiles face up in front of them. If the game is not going to start immediately,
tiles should be face down until
both players are ready.
- The player who is not going to make the first move starts the game by starting their opponent’s clock.
2) During the game:
- Play proceeds according to the official rules of
Tantrix as in the latest Tantrix Game
Pack booklet, except as modified by these special table tournament rules.
- Players must draw tiles quickly and without looking inside the bag to avoid any
potential for cheating.
- Players may never
touch their opponents’ tiles and should not move (or hide) their own tiles
during their opponent’s turn.
- When designing a
sequence of moves, it is good practice to place the first tile close to
the Tantrix but not touching it and any other forced tiles a little
further back. The tile you are proposing to play should not touch the
Tantrix until the move is ready to be confirmed.
- However, before the endgame, a move
is only confirmed when the player’s hand enters the tile
bag to pick up a replacement tile. <N.B. This tournament rule differs from the rules in the Game
- Players must not
skip picking up a replacement tile after each move, even if they
are sure of a sequence of moves.
- If a player picks up
a replacement tile before making it absolutely clear which tile they are
playing (i.e. by making it touch the Tantrix) then the tile closest to the
Tantrix (if legal) is taken to be their move.
- When a player’s turn is complete they must press the
button to start their opponent’s clock only after picking up
their last replacement tile. If the clock is pressed immediately
after picking up that tile, it must be pressed with the hand that took the
tile. If a player forgets to do
this, they can start their opponent’s clock at any time during their
opponent’s turn. It is your responsibility to ensure that your opponent’s
clock is running when it should be.
- If you get too close
to the edge of the table, pause the clock and move the tiles into the
- If a player wishes to count the tiles left in the
bag, they must do so in their own time and without looking at the tiles. The bag must be shaken up to mix the tiles
afterwards, also on that player’s time.
- The player who takes the last tile from the bag
should make it very obvious to their opponent that the bag is empty, e.g. by announcing ‘Bag Empty’.
- During the endgame, a move is confirmed as soon as a tile touches the Tantrix and at the end
of their turn, the player should press the clock with the same hand as
they made their last move with.
- As soon as the final
move has been played, the clock should be stopped by moving the Pause/Play
switch to Pause, i.e. you should not
start your opponent’s clock as you normally would after your turn.
- The time limit is 20 minutes per player per game.
- If a player goes over the
limit, the game should carry on. However, at the end, a player who has
taken 20 minutes or more loses 1 Tournament Point (TP) from their total and
their opponent gains 1 TP. This is repeated for every full minute by which the time taken
exceeds the limit, e.g. between 1.00-1.59 over time incurs two time
- The combined TPs for a game after any such adjustments should
always add up to 20.0 (unless the Controller needs to penalise both
players in some way) and any adjustments are limited so that no player can
score more than 20.0 TPs or less than 0.0 TPs from a single game.
- If a player’s time exceeds 25 minutes, the Controller can stop the
game and adjudicate the final tile score, giving the benefit of any doubt
to the player who has taken less than 25 minutes.
4) After the game:
Points (TPs), on which final tournament positions will be based, are
awarded as shown on the score sheet. They are based on sharing out 20 TPs for each game according to
the margin of victory. Time penalties as described in rule 3 above may
affect the final TP score in a game.
- As soon as the game has finished
(i.e. before discussing the game), the score sheet must be completed and
signed by both players, then handed to the Controller (via a spectator if
necessary) immediately. The
Controller may decide to deduct TPs from both players or from just one (if
that player is a persistent offender) if their game finishes late in a
round and they fail to hand in the result in a timely manner.
- The Tantrix must be
left intact and the clock paused until both players have
signed the score sheet.
- Mistakes have the potential to ruin a game, so
players should check each other’s moves. When your opponent has made a
mistake that you want them to correct or has made one of the illegal moves
defined in the Appendix to these rules that must be corrected whenever it
is spotted, you should say“time-out”
and pause the clock. N.B. Time-outs
must be kept to a minimum and repeated inappropriate use of them may
result in penalties.
- The right
time to call a time-out is when a move is confirmed, i.e. when the
offending player puts their hand into the bag to pick up a new tile during
a turn or immediately after the offending player presses the clock if they
have missed a forced move at the end of their turn. Once a player has called a
The game must be ‘frozen’, e.g. if the offending player has just pulled a tile from the bag, the
tile should be kept separate from all other tiles until the situation is
The player who called the time-out must identify the
problem. Both players must agree on what to do about it and implement what they
agree – see the Appendix at the end of these rules if what to do is unclear
After the mistake has been corrected, the clock is restarted
(un-paused) and play continues. It is the responsibility of the player
who called the time-out to check that the clock has been restarted correctly.
In most cases, these steps will take well under 10
seconds to complete but for major
interruptions it may be necessary to record whose turn it was, and whether or
not the free move had been taken. If a player has to leave the table, the
Tantrix may be covered, so that the other player gains no advantage.
- As an alternative to calling a time-out, if the
player notices a simple error (like a missed forced space) and wishes to
avoid their opponent gaining a time advantage by not having to find it for
themselves, they can just say what type of mistake it is (e.g. “missed
forced space”) and restart the offending player’s clock
If the player whose clock is restarted believes the call
to be incorrect (e.g. if they have no
tile that fits a forced space or the forced space they have a tile to fit is
pair-blocked), they can
challenge it at any time by saying “time-out” and pausing the clock.
The problem is then
resolved as described in rule 5b, but in this case (i.e. if the clock was
restarted after the original mistake instead of a time-out being called right
away) the player who turns out to be in the wrong gets 30 seconds added to their
time taken and subtracted from the time taken by their opponent
at the end of the game. Such adjustments must be agreed and noted on the
scoresheet before play continues.
This is designed to be
an efficient way to ensure that the player making the wrong claim does not gain
an advantage without having to work out the exact times involved, but if the
player who was right believes that even after the adjustment, the player in the
wrong has still gained a time advantage out of the situation and the players
cannot agree a fairer adjustment between them, the Controller can be asked to
rule on what adjustment should apply.
- The Controller can also be called in by either
player if they believe that their opponent is gaining an unfair time
advantage in any other way, e.g.
trying to stay under the time limit (or pushing the innocent player over
the time limit) by not checking for forced spaces properly or not checking
that their moves are legal.
- Do remember that the
Controller is unlikely to have seen exactly what happened, so can only
base any ruling on the evidence available (including the accounts of the
players and any spectators) and will have little or no chance of resolving
the situation fairly if you wait until the end of the game before
complaining instead of bringing up the problem when it occurred. Keep the
clocks paused and go and fetch the Controller if necessary.
- If a player does not arrive for a game within 5
minutes of the scheduled time, their clock may be started.
- After 10 more minutes,
they can be defaulted.
- In table tournaments, a
default win is usually worth 15.0–5.0 TPs. However, the Controller can
alter this at their discretion, e.g. by increasing the number of points
awarded for a default if in his opinion a player has defaulted
deliberately to avoid the risk of scoring less than 5.0 TPs if the game
was actually played.
d. If someone
defaults more than two games in an event or in any phase of an event, all of
their results are ignored in deciding the outcome of the event, though any
games actually played will be taken into account for Elo rating purposes.
Unless otherwise stated
before the tournament, if two or more players are tied on TPs at any stage,
they will be separated on the basis of the TPs scored in the game or games
played between them in the same phase, then by number of wins (counting half a
point for a draw) then by the sum of the actual margins, and finally by who has
scored the most tiles overall, ignoring opponents' tiles.
and un-Tantrixlike conduct:
As well as spoiling an event for other players,
cheating severely devalues your own performance in a tournament.
- Getting help from someone else or using pre-prepared notes or
- Taking notes of any kind during the game. <N.B. this differs from the online tournament rules>
- Making deliberate illegal moves to gain an advantage hoping your
opponent will not notice in time.
- Deliberately throwing a game to help a friend to finish higher,
ensure that another player does not win or just because you are not
bothered by a result which nevertheless affects the positions or Elo
ratings of other players.
- Talking excessively during a game in order to try to distract your
opponent, otherwise putting undue pressure on them (e.g. by telling them
to play faster) or talking at all about
any game in progress other than your own.
- Anything else, which may secure an unfair advantage for you or for
cheating (or who withdraws from the tournament before completing all their
games, including withdrawal after day 1) risks being disqualified from the
current tournament and banned from future tournaments.
disruption and interference by spectators:
- Spectators (which means anyone
not participating in the game in question, including other players) must not
interfere with a game in progress in any way even if they think that
interference might be helpful – if in doubt about whether intervention is
required, please refer to a Controller.
- In particular, spectators should not point out missed
forced spaces, misplayed tiles or that a player has less than six tiles.
They should also not point out that a player has failed to start
their opponent’s clock or has not pushed the button down far enough.
However, if after more moves it becomes clear that both clocks have
stopped and neither player has noticed (which may end up causing damage to
the schedule if it is not corrected), they should fetch the Controller to
sort this out.
- Intervention is acceptable if a spectator notices a tile
falling off the table as soon as it happens (e.g. because they
inadvertently knocked it off the table themselves) and picks it up and
returns it to the player whose tile it is
- If a spectator notices a player apparently cheating in a way that
would not be visible to the other player, they should report this to the
Controller instead of intervening directly. However, if the apparent
cheating would be visible to the other player too, it is up to the player
to report it to the Controller and the spectator should not intervene,
though they may corroborate what the player says once the Controller has
been called in.
- We ask for all mobile
phones to be switched off, for chatter near games that are in progress to
be kept to a minimum, and for any behaviour, which may distract either
your opponent or a nearby player to be avoided. Photography is allowed
but it must not be too intrusive, in particular please be sensitive to
players making moves in time trouble.
- If any spectator breaks this rule, the Controller may warn them,
require them to leave the playing area, or even deduct TPs if the
spectator happens to be a player taking part in the event, with the
Controller also having discretion to deduct TPs from a player if one of
their entourage commits the offence. Given this, it is the responsibility of each player to
ensure that anyone accompanying them to the tournament is aware that they
should not comment on or intervene in games in progress.
- In order to facilitate the participation of colour-blind players,
a limited number of special colour-blind sets (with the green links
replaced by white links) may be made available.
- Since it is unlikely that any non colour-blind player would choose
to play as white, in order to ensure that the colour-blind player does not
always get to play with their first preference colour, the
non-colour-blind player may choose both their own colour and
the colour that the colour-blind player will play with.
- Non-colour-blind players may agree to play any game with a
colour-blind set (e.g. in order to get used to it in conditions which
favour neither player before facing a colour-blind player in a later
round), subject to enough sets being available.
and Tournament Controllers:
should try to resolve any disputes between themselves in a friendly manner
after pausing the clock. If this
proves to be impossible, they can ask the Controller for a ruling. The
Tournament Controller's decision is final.
It should be remembered
that the Controller has lots of tasks to do during a tournament and will not be
able to keep their eyes on the games (let alone your game) all the time. For
them to have a chance of resolving any situation fairly, it is vital that you bring any
problem that cannot be resolved by talking to your opponent to the Controller’s
attention right away, especially if you believe your opponent to be
gaining an unfair advantage in any way. Complaining after the event when it is too
late to do anything is unacceptable.
Appendix - Mistakes (detailed provisions)
When a mistake is made, it should normally be common
sense how the game should be fixed. These detailed provisions, referred to in rule
5 above, are provided to identify special cases and for use where there is a
IF A PLAYER HAS MORE THAN 6 TILES
The surplus tiles are removed
at random by the other player. N.B. Whatever the circumstance, a player may
never put one of his/her own tiles back into the bag. It must always be done by
the opposing player. However, there is no need to put back a random tile if
both players agree which tile should be put back, e.g. the last tile picked up.
IF A PLAYER HAS FEWER THAN 6 TILES
The guilty player picks up
the extra tiles needed but if the innocent player did not notice this before
confirming their next move, then play continues as normal.
Surrounding a forced
space by a fourth tile.
Playing along a
Creating a forced space
with three links of the same colour.
Playing a tile where the
colours do not match.
The move must always be taken
back no matter how far back the mistake was made. All tiles taken from the
Tantrix should be added to the players’ hands according to players’ best guess,
then tiles from the players’ hands returned into the bag at random. If the
players cannot agree on a reasonable way to recover the game, then the game is
drawn, though the Controller can apply penalties at their discretion and in
doing so can take into account any information that is available.
IF THE TANTRIX IS KNOCKED
When it is not possible to
re-establish the Tantrix with reasonable certainty then the game is drawn,
unless less than 10 minutes of combined time has passed, in which case the
players may restart subject to the agreement of the Controller. If one of the
players was responsible for the knock then the Controller will apply an
appropriate penalty and can take into account any information available.
FORCED SPACE (FS) MISTAKES
Players should get into the
habit of double-checking their opponent’s forced spaces before they start their
own turn. After the innocent player has confirmed their next move, they may not
ask their opponent to backtrack and fill missed forced spaces. The best time to
call “time-out” is when the player’s hand enters the bag to pick up a
replacement but before either player sees what the replacement is.
FS MISTAKES BEFORE THE FREE MOVE
If a mistake is announced
re. a player not having filled all available forced spaces before making their
free move, the free move is taken back so that the forced spaces can be filled.
It is not necessary for the same free move to be made after that.
FS MISTAKES AFTER THE FREE MOVE
If the mistake is
announced after the guilty player has finished their turn but before the
innocent player has begun their turn then the forced space must be filled (as
must any resulting forced spaces)
If the mistake is
announced after the innocent player has completed their first move (i.e. picked
up a replacement tile) then play continues normally. No moves are taken back.
FS MISTAKES DURING THE END GAME
should be possible to undo all mistakes during the endgame. However, as undoing
a mistake could advantage the guilty player, the innocent player can choose
whether or not to undo. Remember (rule 2.l.) that all moves during the endgame
are considered confirmed as soon as the tile touches the Tantrix.