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Tabletop Game: Tic Tac Toe
Can't get 3 in a row. Can get 43 tie games in a row.
(Super NES version)
Tic-tac-toe, also called tick tack toe, or noughts and crosses/Xs and Os as it is known in the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, is a pencil-and-paper game of unknown origin. Two players, X and O, take turns marking the spaces in a 33 grid. The X player usually goes first. The player who succeeds in placing three respective marks in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal row wins the game. If the board fills up before anyone accomplishes this (which is very likely to happen between players with any experience), the game is a draw.

The first video game, OXO, is pretty much this in video game form. It was the basis for Tic-Tac-Dough and The Hollywood Squares, as well as the Secret "X" game on The Price Is Right.

Video game adaptations:


"Tic Tac Tropes":

  • Casual Video Game
  • Difficulty Levels: Some computer players never lose. To give the human a chance, some video games have difficulty levels.
    • Ostermiller's Tic-Tac-Toe has four difficulty levels: Novice makes random moves, Intermediate blocks two-in-a-row, Experienced makes the best first moves, and Expert plays perfectly.
    • Tim Soft's Tic-Tac-Toe has Easy, Normal and Hard. If you find the flaw, you can still win about 1 in 4 games against Hard.
  • House Rules: Once the 3x3 grid gets too easy, players may trade up to a larger grid size. There's also a "3D" variant, played simultaneously on three separate grids (to simulate a cube), where getting three in a row in any direction (even across different grids) counts as a win.
    • X typically goes first, but that's up to preference really.
  • Match Three Game: Well, you need to get three X's or O's in a row, column or diagonal to win...
  • Player Versus Player
  • Separated by a Common Language: This game known as Tic-Tac-Toe in North America is known as Noughts and Crosses in the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.
  • Strategy Game: One needs some strategy to avoid defeat in this game, as players are technically attacking and defending at the same time.
  • Unwinnable by Design: If two skilled players play the game, they will inevitably force themselves into a draw. Many computer players, starting with OXO from 1952, can play a perfect game with no mistakes, so it is impossible to win against them.
  • Video Game: Ur Example. OXO, a 1952 version made for the computer, is believed to be the first computer/video game to use a digital graphics display.

Appearances in media:

  • Tic-Tac-Dough: Game show. Answer questions, place X's and O's, win money.
  • The Hollywood Squares: Game show with nine celebrities sitting in a giant grid.
  • WarGames: One of the computer games on WOPR is "Tic-Tac-Toe". This game is as unwinnable as "Global Thermonuclear War".
    • SMBC theater did a parody of this scene where the computer concludes that the lesson is to go first and control your opponent's options. Ironically, it's justification uses terrible tic-tac-toe strategy.
  • xkcd provides the Complete Map of Optimal Tic-Tac-Toe Moves. You will never lose a game again! Its Alt Text is a Shout-Out to WarGames.
    "The only winning move is to play, perfectly, waiting for your opponent to make a mistake."

Through The AgesBoard GamesTicket To Ride

alternative title(s): Tic Tac Toe
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