Ultimate Tic-Tac-Toe

This is what happens when mathematicians play Tic-Tac-Toe.

Everyone knows that Tic-Tac-Toe is among the oldest and least interesting tabletop games. Sure, you can play almost anywhere, but why would you want to? Nearly every game ends in a tie, leaving no one happy. In short, it stinks for everyone but little kids.

Unless you play Ultimate Tic-Tac-Toe.

Not too long ago, Ben at Math with Bad Drawings observed an unusual game of Tic-Tac-Toe. Instead of the familiar 3×3 grid, Ben noticed that the pair playing — both mathematicians — had drawn a smaller Tic-Tac-Toe board in each of the main grid’s nine squares. The object then became to win the contest on three of the smaller boards in a row. Neat huh? Hold on, I haven’t shared the best rule.

ultimate tic tac toeYour opponent’s move determines which board you can play on during your turn. The square he picks determines the board that must be played next. For example, look at the image to the right. The first turn put a red “x” in the upper right-hand square of that grid. Therefore, the next turn must be played on the board that’s in the upper right-hand corner. Likewise, wherever the second player puts his or her “o” determines where the next “x” may be placed. Get it? Now you must concentrate on getting your three consecutive wins, but also prevent your opponent from doing the same.

I must try this because it looks like fun. Great job to whomever breathed new life into an otherwise boring game.


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