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 3×3 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.
Video game adaptations:
- OXO (1952) for the EDSAC.
- Tim Soft's Tic-Tac-Toe (1994) for the Super NES.
- Stephen Ostermiller's Tic-Tac-Toe, one of many online versions. Includes a good strategy guide.
- Neave Interactive's Tic-Tac-Toe, online Flash with sound effects.
"Tic Tac Tropes":
- Bamboo Technology: It's possible to teach a pile of matchboxes to play the game, as seen in this video
- 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 3×3 grid gets too easy, players may trade up to a larger grid size.
- In 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.
- "Ultimate Tic-Tac-Toe" adds a layer. It uses a big 3×3 grid where each cell contains a standard 3×3 board. Winning one of the small games captures the cell for the big game. As an additional twist, the cell a player marks dictates which board their opponent can play next. If X marks the center of a small board, O must make their next play somewhere on the center board of the big game.
- 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...
- Physical Pinball Tables: OXO, released by Williams Electronics in 1973.
- 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, its 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."
- The BBC's famous Test Card F features Carole Hersee playing the game with her doll.
- In the Small Wonder episode "Jailbirds", Jamie and Vicki come to a graffiti wall with an incomplete game of tic-tac-toe. The way Vicki finishes the game gets them both jailed for vandalism.
- In the Ready Jet Go! episode "Beep and Boop's Game", the eponymous game that the two rovers were playing was tic-tac-toe.
- In Episode 2779 of Sesame Street, an Anything Muppet version of Cowboy Xnote challenges Cowboy O to a game of tic-tac-toe on the street, using a board provided by Bob and Uncle Wally.