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What is a Cafe Room?

Aside from being a purveyor of fine coffee, the Cafe Room is where you go to play a quick game of Tantrix. Only the win or loss is counted, the margin of victory means nothing. This style of play suits cafes and casual table games. The strategy in a winner-take-all game can be very different. For example, big loop wins are not especially advantageous, in fact they can be a high risk strategy.

Cafe Games are designed to be played quickly - most games will finish in about 10 minutes. A player who can not win, should resign. If the doubling cube is used correctly, half of all games will finish early when a double is offered and dropped. Table tournaments have a time limit of 15 minutes rather than the standard 20 minutes.

Cafe Games can now be played online, but with a couple of twists!

  • The Doubling Cube - We have borrowed the doubling cube concept from backgammon. Different to backgammon though, a double can be made at any time during your turn not just at the beginning. Also in Tantrix, doubling is limited to 8. In backagmmon there is often no limit.

  • The Handicap - Players are given a handicap according to their expected winning margin. For example, a player with handicap of 4.1 is expected to beat a player with handicap 1.1 by an average of 3 tiles per game. In Cafe Games, your handicap is added to the other players score, so the expected outcome of a match between any two players is a draw.

The use of a doubling cube adds another strategic dimension to the game. When a game begins, the stakes are 1. At any point during the game, a player may use the cube to double the stakes. The opponent must then decide whether to pass, thereby conceding the game, or accept. A player who accepts now owns the cube. At any point in the game, the player who owns the cube may propose a redoubling of the stakes by turning it to the next higher number.

How do I Double?

At the beginning of each game, before any doubling takes place, a game is worth one point. The doubling cube is set at 1 and is available to both players.

In the game on the right, it is yellow's turn and since it looks like she can complete a large loop, it might be time to double.

Yellow clicks on the cube, drags and drops it onto the board, then commits to playing the cube, all just as if it were a tile, ie confirm the double by clicking on the dot where the cube was placed originally.

Red now has a decision to make. Does he give up because he is behind or does he think that maybe, just maybe, he can complete his own loop threat.

If he resigns, yellow wins the point and the game is over. Resigning is done by dragging the cube back to your opponents side and dropping it.

If, however, red thinks he still has a chance he will accept the cube by dragging it to his own side and dropping it there. The game continues but is now worth two points!

Red decided to accept the double. The cube is now on his side and is set to two to show how many points the game is worth. Now that red has the cube, only he can re-double. The cube is no longer available to yellow.

If red closes in on completing his loop, he might want to re-double and make the game worth four points. At that point, it will be yellow's turn to make a decision.

Copyright 2017, Colour of Strategy Ltd, Pohara, New Zealand. All rights reserved.
Last update: July, 2017