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The theory behind the Rankings

The ranking tables are used to measure how well you are doing relative to other players. Each time you play a game online, you are automatically ranked unless you explicitly select an unranked game. As soon as a game is completed, the result is recorded and a player's position in the ranking is updated in real-time. Tantrix provides four general ranking tables: The Monthly, Alltime, Master and Doubles ranking. Different rankings use different formulas to process game results.

A ranking system not only needs to rate a player's ability. When a new player joins Tantrix, it is important to keep their enthusiasm up. While players develop their strategic skills, they tend to lose more games than they win. The lobby ranking is tailored to encourage players to learn by accelerating progress in the beginning and making later progress more difficult. In other words, life is pretty cruisy until the magic threshold of 750 points is reached. Later you have to earn your points the hard way. However, a different formula is used for the Master ranking! Here the intention is to find out who the best player is and no drag factor is at work.

Details on how the formula works

  • You gain points according to the square root of the score margin.
  • You gain points according to the square root of the ratio between your ranking and that of your opponent.
  • The formula contains reduction multipliers which mean that:
    The closer to 1000 you are, the less you win. The closer to 1000 you are, the more you lose.
  • The winning reduction multiplier becomes effective (less than 1/2) only when you pass over the 750 bar.
  • Players gain only half the points for a win against Robot, compared to same result in a human game.
  • If your ranking is 300+ points above the fixed ranking of the Robot level you play, a win will not gain you any points.
  • Games against guests do not score towards any ranking.
  • To see the existing formula for the lobby ranking in action, scroll down to the "Ranking calculator" on this page.
Improvements to the Rankings

Of course it is impossible to come up with the "perfect" ranking system that suits everyone. Consequently, we get plenty of enthusiastic comments from players who would like to improve the current system. Don't be fooled, improving the current system is quite hard to do. Various attempts were made by players to produce alternative ranking formulas, yet so far none of those made the cut in the end. When it came to the test, the consensus judged them overall inferior.

Having said this, you can propose an alternative basis for calculation if you believe that the current ranking needs improving. But first you will need to do some work. Define your new formula and create an applied version of it, eg in a spreadsheet or an interactive html. Run some recent data through your system and output a revised ranking table. The last hurdle is to convince the players that your system is indeed superior. If you succeed in all these points - then your alternative will be implemented!

Monthly Ranking

The monthly ranking records all activity during any given month and is reset on the first day of each subsequent month. Players start at 700 points. After each completed game your ranking goes up or down depending on:

1) The size of your win or loss.
2) Your current rank and the rank of your opponent.
3) The type of game (Robot or human games).

For example, a highly ranked player who defeats a lowly ranked player will move up very little. In the reverse situation, a lowly ranked player who wins against a highly ranked player would move a long way up. Only the top 100 positions of the ranking are shown but the sytem keeps the position of all players. Winning against the Robot is only worth half the points. This is deliberate and meant to encourage you to play human opponents.

Alltime Ranking

The Alltime ranking is similar to the Monthly ranking, however it doesn't ever get reset. A new player starts off at 500 points. Players who don't play for a period of 3 months or over will be moved to a "retired" list, yet their accounts remain active (just invisible). They can resume playing under their old name anytime and will appear in the Alltime ranking again without having lost any points.

Each completed game counts towards your Alltime ranking. The movement depends on the same factors as for the Monthly ranking. Only the top 100 positions of the ranking are shown, but the sytem keeps the position of all players. Their values have a maximum of 1000 and have a pull towards 750 effect - meaning that if you are ranked under 750, you will gain points more easily and loose less. The contrary applies if you are over 750.

Master Ranking

The Master ranking processes only games between the best players at Tantrix.com, who are known as Masters. Along with the ELO rating, the Master ranking is a good indication of a player's strength. The first game you play as a Master will start you off at 1200 points. The difference in the players' Master rankings is the expected difference in score, times 1000 - so if two Masters differ by 1000 points, the expected difference in score is 1 point.

The expected difference is subtracted from the actual difference in score, and the square root of the result is the basis for the adjustment in ranking. The amount of adjustment is 1/100 of the spread, so the ranking converges to stable values over approximately 100 games. The center of the whole system is 1500, ie the average of all active Master players' rankings should be close to 1500. Point adjustments are added or subtracted to each score to keep the average correct.

Doubles Ranking

The Doubles ranking exclusively processes the results of Doubles games. In a Doubles game, two players form a team, who then plays against another team - which effectively makes it a 4-player version with a significantly reduced luck factor. New players start at 500 points. It is not possible to include Robot as a player, however Robot can take over for a crashed player.

Tantrix Ranking Calculator

This ranking calculator was designed by Paul Martinsen from Auckland. It allows you to enter a game result, as well as the two parameters effecting the change in the ranking (the players' current rankings and number of games played) and will display the resulting movement for both players below.

Enter the game result here:

  You Opponent  
Games Played:

You don't need to enter the number of games that you have played if you are only interested in the ranking changes calculated for the existing system, or if you have played less than 100 games.

  You Opponent  
Existing System:  
Silvio's Proposal:  
Justin's 1st Proposal:  
Justin's 2nd Proposal:  

If the results displayed here don't make sense, check that you have entered the correct values in the form above.

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