How is TRAX played?

Note: As TRAX is a proprietary game these rules are the intellectual property of David Smith. They have been reproduced here with permission.


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  1. TRAX is played with identical square tiles on which sections of red and white track join adjacent edges on one side and opposite edges on the other side.
  2. Two players determine by prior agreement who shall be represented by each coloured track.
  3. The game is won by the player whose track forms a loop or a line:
    1. during that player's completed turn or
    2. during an opponent's completed turn in which the opponent's track does not also form a loop or a line.
  4. A loop is a continuous path of track that connects with itself.
    A white loop
  5. A line is a continuous path of track that connects opposite and outermost edges of the tiles in play, over at least 8 rows of tiles, across or down.
    A white line
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Rules of play:

  1. Commencing with the White player, each player at each turn places a tile, either side up, on any flat surface.
  2. After the first turn, each tile must be placed edge to edge alongside any tile or tiles already in play so as to always join sections of same coloured track to each other. eg
  3. Each player may join track of either or both colours in any turn.
  4. Forced plays - If a tile played in any turn forms an adjacent space or spaces into which same coloured track enters from two edges, that same player must play a further tile into each such space so as to join up the same coloured track, be it white or red, as part of that turn.
    A forced play may itself require further forced plays to be made. A turn is not complete until the only remaining spaces are either single edged spaces or two edged spaces entered by track of both colours.
    In the position here, playing the first tile forces a second, which in turn forces the third tile. The next space is entered by track of both colours so turn ends.
    Forced plays
  5. Illegal turn - If a forced play forms an adjacent space into which same coloured track enters from more than two edges, that whole turn is illegal and uncomplete and must be replayed.
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Loop Trax

The game must be won by a closed loop. Lines do not count in Loop Trax.
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Limited Tiles Game

There is a Trax variant game that can be played using a limited number of tiles (64 at most). The rules are as follows:

By prior agreement, a version of TRAX may be played which is limited to 8 rows across and down. As these limits are reached, tiles must be played into remaining spaces until a win is achieved. If all the tiles that can be played without a win being achieved have been played, the player who plays the last tile loses.
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Mini Trax

Played within a 3x3 playing area, this is the smallest size that Trax can be played.
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Lucky Trax

The tile and orientation (one of six possibilities) are chosen randomly, for example by the roll of a dice. The random tile must then be played according to the rules of play listed above. If the tile cannot be legally played, that player misses their turn.
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Point Trax

Before the game starts, players agree on the number of points constituting a win. When a loop is completed, players score one point for each tile within the loop, but the game continues until one player reaches the required score. When a line is completed, the tiles completing the line are added to the score, and the playing area is reset to an empty playing area with the game continuing until the score is reached. If both players reach (or exceed) the required number of points in the same turn, the player with the higher number of points wins. If the points are equal, play continues until one player has a higher score.
Rules Copyright © 1996 and © 2017 David L. Smith, 42 McDougall Avenue, Merivale, Christchurch, N.Z.
TRAX is the common law mark of David Smith and is used to identify his tile game and equipment. Rules of TRAX copyright 1981, 1984, 1987, 1990, 1998 and 2017 David Smith, Christchurch, NZ.
This Website compiled by Donald Bailey, Palmerston North, NZ. Copyright © 2000-2017