One of the most popular little segments of my in-person professional development was a chance to try Ultimate Tic Tac Toe — a highly complex version of Tic Tac Toe. I used it to illustrate how adding complexity increases interest. Adults who would be bored to tears by Tic Tac Toe are sucked into Ultimate Tic Tac Toe. I’d have to beg them to stop playing so the session could continue!
I have a Byrdseed.TV video demonstrating Ultimate Tic Tac Toe or you can also just read more about the rules at Wikipedia.
Now Ultimate Tic Tac Toe is quite complex. Perhaps, too complex for some folks! And it certainly takes a long time. Maybe you just can’t fit it into your day.
Fear not! For there are dozens of tic-tac-toe variants out there. I’ve built out videos for a bunch of them (see the current list here), but I’ll also sum them up here:
- Misère Tic Tac Toe: Both players try to lose! You win by forcing your opponent into getting three-in-a-row.
- Gomoku: The board is 15×15 and you must get exactly five-in-a-row to win. Six-in-a-row doesn’t count!
- Wild Tic Tac Toe: Uses a standard board, but both players can play as X and O. First to make a three-in-a-row using either shape wins.
- Order and Chaos: The board is a 6×6 grid. Both players can play as X and O. One person (Order) wants to get five-in-a-row of either shape. The other player (Chaos) tries to prevent any five-in-a-rows (so, Chaos wants a cat’s game).
- Notakto: Played on three standard boards at once. Both players play as X. You can play on any of the boards on your turn. The first person to complete a three-in-a-row loses.
And, of course, Wikipedia has a huge list of Tic Tac Toe variants.