A Tantrix Game


Perhaps you’ve heard of Tantrix, a game of sturdy hexagonal tiles that in its solo version encourages you to try to make loops of increasing difficulty or in its official competitive version pits you against one or more opponents to see who can make the longest line.

As is our wont, nothing stops my daughter and I from taking interesting game objects and put them to different uses. (I believe this practice began when I couldn’t remember what the official rules were for marbles, which wouldn’t have done me or her any good since she, at three years of age, wasn’t a very good shot and I wasn’t much better.)

Our version of the game is just as fun and offers some interesting possibilities: the purpose of the game is to score the most points and play proceeds thusly:

1. Play begins by one player drawing from the bag of tiles a tile that will be the starting tile.
2. The first player to play then draws from the bag and places the tile along one of the starting tile’s edges — this is relatively easy, and in fact, connecting a tile to a single edge of another tile will always be easy, only it won’t score you many points.
3. Play proceeds with each player drawing a tile and then playing it to the expanding group of tiles. Players score one point for connecting to a single edge, two points for scoring to two edges, three points for three edges, and so on. (We are considering squaring this number to increase the incentive for going for more edges, as well as to increase the penalty for failing to do so, but our games are mostly cooperative and “for fun” for now — she’s only five years old after all!)
4. Play proceeds until you run out of tiles. Add up your points and there you have it.

We’ve talked about changing the game so that players draw a “hand” of tiles so that they can set themselves up for “big plays” of multiple points, but we are not there yet in our game play to try that.

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