Help for the Game of Dragons

Welcome to the network Dragons server. The challenge command is described here. Other commands are the same as for all pbmserv games.

  dragons challenge [-num_tiles=n] [-tantrix] userid1 userid2

Starts a new game for two players.

The -num_tiles option specifies the available number of tiles (default 50).
The -tantrix option specifies that Tantrix scoring (explained below) is used.


Dragons is a tile placement game in which players strive to complete sinuous loops of their colour.

Note: Games are much easier to visualise using the graphical web UI.


Tiles: Two players, O and X, share a common pool of hexagonal Dragons tiles. Each tile shows shoulders on the front and tails on the back in both players' colours.

      .-o-.        .-o-.         
     ooooooo      xxxxxxx 
    (       )    (       )
     xxxxxxx      ooooooo
      `-x-'        `-x-'

Start: The game starts with a sinlge tile in the centre of the playing area. Players then take turns adding a tile of their choice adjacent to at least one existing tile, such that edge colours match.

Auto Moves: If a tile placement creates a gap at which only tile rotation matches, then that tile is automatically placed there; this will occur for any gap with three closed sides. Each auto move may trigger further auto moves. For example, move a shown below creates an auto move b.

                                 .-x-.                        .-x-.          
xxxx oo xxxx oo
.-o-. a .-o-' x o ) .-o-' x o )
xxxxxxx xxxxxxxx oooo xxxxxxxx oooo
( ) ( .-o-' ( o (
ooooooo ooooooo ----> ooooooooooooo
) x ( ) x ( b ) x )
xxxxxxx xxxxxxx xxxxxxxxxxxxx
( ) ( ) ( .-x-'
ooooooo ooooooo ooooooo
`-o-' `-o-' `-o-' Position Move Auto move

A player's move consists of their initial tile placement in addition to all subsequent auto moves. All possible auto moves must be made each turn.

Gap Moves: The current player must fill a gap with three closed sides if any exist (these will only occur if the three closed sides are alternating colours). For example, the current player must play at g in the position shown:

xxxx oo
.-x-' x o )
oo xxxxx oooo
( o x .-o-'
oooo xx
) o ( g
xx oooo
( x o )
xxxx oo

Aim: Players win by forming a loop of their colour that passes through six or more tiles.

If a move completes winning loops for both players, then the longest loop wins. If both loops are the same length or neither player wins before the tiles run out then the game is drawn.

Remember that the win test is not made each turn until all auto moves have been made!


Tantrix Scoring: Each dragon scores 1 pt per hole, doubled if the dragon is closed. The winner is the player with the highest scoring dragon after all tiles (default 40) have been played.


The following command plays tile rotation 'd' at position 3, in addition to any resulting auto moves:

  dragons move <game#> <userid> <passwd> d3           

Test Options

The following hidden options are available for testing:

-start_joint: Start with a shoulder (joint) tile.
-start_tip: Start with a tail (tip) tile.
-num_eyes=n: Dragons must have at least n holes to be considered complete.
-end_first: End the game when the first dragon of any colour or size is completed.
-end_single: End the game as soon as a move completes dragon(s) for one player but not the other.
-end_most: End the game when a players completes a dragon with more holes than any enemy dragon.
-all_out_most_eyes: Game continues until the tiles run out, then the completed dragon with the most holes wins.
-tie_none: Game is drawn when the tiles run out.
-tie_largest_wins: Game is won by the owner of the largest completed dragon when the tiles run out.
-tie_largest_loses: Game is lost by the owner of the largest completed dragon when the tiles run out.
-cross: Uses the new tile set with joined tails.
-tails: Uses the old tile set with disjoint tails.
-must_complete: Gaps with three sides must be completed immediately.
-may_complete: Gaps with three sides need not be completed immediately.
-loop_closed: Win by forming a closed dragon with a loop more complex than a circular eye (crossed tiles only).
-long_loop: Win by forming a loop longer than four tiles (crossed tiles only).


Dragons tiles and rules by Cameron Browne and copyright (c) Cyberite Ltd 2009.

Graphical web interface:

More details are available at the official Dragons page.

Implementation and Help file by Cameron Browne, January 2009.