What is Tantrix?
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Java required

Tantrix is written in Java, which means you can run the game straight from within your browser without installing any software. Your web browser should come pre-installed with everything that's needed to play Tantrix online. Unfortunately this is not always the case. So, if you tried to load Tantrix but it did not appear, then most likely Java is missing or not configured correctly.

If the phrase "Java appears to be working on your PC" is scrolling along beneath this paragraph, then your Java is working fine. If not, click here. The page you are taken to will automatically test to see if you are running Java and what version is installed. If it is missing or outdated, follow the instructions on the test page. Download is free and easy.

Other problems

Even if java is installed correctly on your system, some browsers no longer support it (eg Chrome). If this is your problem, click here to try to bypass your browser. The link will launch java directly, and will leave a desktop icon you can use next time. A file called Tantrix.jnlp will be downloaded automatically, which you may need to authorise to be executed. If you prefer to launch java from your browser, we recommend you use Firefox. Either way, you will need to have Java installed and configured.

If none of this helped to connect to the Tantrix server, yet Java is installed correctly on your machine, then the next step should be to check the configuration of your firewalls, routers, ports and proxies:

"Can't connect" message in the lobby chat area

The java applet for Tantrix must be able to open an outgoing tcp connection on port 2244. Most firewalls and routers are configured to allow this; but some institutions (work, schools) and some firewall products (Blackice, Zone Alarm) may block this port. If the applet window comes up, but can't connect to the server, look for problems with port 2244. The applet will also fail to connect if it was loaded from some place other than Tantrix.com, which could be a side effect of some browser proxy setups.

Message "rcv 221 err Connection error"

You have successfully connected to the server, but your connection has been rejected. The most likely cause of this is that you accidentally connected to the server without going through the login procedure. This can happen if you use your browser's back button, or if your browser has cached the login page (and therefore didn't chat with the server to login). Check your browser cache settings.

Lost connections

If you lose your connection in mid-game: don't panic. You can reconnect and rejoin the game. This can happen for a variety of reasons, most of which are impossible to predict or control. Watch the little spinner located next to your and your opponet's clock. Clock spinner This spinner should change position at least every 10 seconds or so, and if it has not changed position recently, the color starts fading from green to red. After 2 minutes of inactivity a timeout will occur and you can try to reconnect.

SLOW  connections

Once the applet is downloaded, the bandwidth required to maintain the lobby and a game is very modest, and any type of internet connection should work fine. One problem we have seen a few times is that firewalls such as Zone Alarm interfere with the flow of data to the server without completely blocking it. We don't know why, but disabling Zone Alarm fixes the problem. A test for this condition is to switch the type of a game room, say from "Game Room" to "Challenge Room". The changeover should happen very fast, within a second. If there is more that a very brief lag, look for this kind of networking problem.

Problems scoring games

If you successfully play games, but the scoring repeatedly fails: To score games properly, the applet must be able to make HTTP requests on either port 80 or 4321. Port 80 is normally used by browsers, so it can be expected to be open, but some sites enforce the use of an http proxy server by blocking port 80. Scoring a game fails occasionally if the server is unusually busy, or just due to random internet glitches. If port 80 is permanently blocked, try referring to Tantrix as http://www.tantrix.com:4321

Problems connecting to www.tantrix.com

If you are having problems connecting to www.tantrix.com and have ruled out everything else (firewalls, ports, proxies, etc.), it may be a routing error. To check this, you will need to email us a traceroute to our site. You can obtain a traceroute fairly easily by going to this page and following the instructions.

Browsers, Platforms and Java versions

The Java applet that runs the game works in any browser that supports Java, but not all browsers or platforms are created equal. None of them are perfect, but some are more trouble prone than others.

Windows (any version)
  • Internet Explorer is a popular choice, but it can be trouble prone, especially "Out of memory" errors.
  • Mozilla is the best. These versions use a java plugin from Sun which is much more reliable.
Other browser choices are known to work, including Chrome and Opera.

Macintosh and Linux

All four major browser types (IE, Netscape, Safari and Mozilla) use the Java plugin, so if they work, they all work about the same. The key word is if. The OS developers and browser developers haven't always played together well, so there are gaps where some version of browser doesn't support Java for some version of OS. Relatively few of our players use Macintosh or Linux platforms, the only general statement we can make is that the most current combinations work ok.  Some quite old versions of Macintosh "MrJ" java had serious bugs and did not work with Tantrix.

Old Java versions

Tantrix works even with Java VM version 1.2 and higher.

General maintenance

We recommend you occasionally clear your browser cache. This will force the browser to load the latest versions of web pages and programs. By doing so, it will get rid of problems caused by stale or corrupt files lingering in your cache. It is also a prudent measure to close and reload your browser after a series of games, or even reboot your computer if it has shown "serious signs of deterioration". These measures will refresh your system and are particularly useful before playing important games, such as tournament matches.

Copyright 2015, Colour of Strategy Ltd, Pohara, New Zealand. All rights reserved.
Last update: September, 2015