Ultimate Tic-Tac-Toe is a perfect game for a rainy day under the tarp, or an evening lazing around camp. All you need is a clear patch of dirt and a stick, or a paper and pencil.
As you may have discovered yourself, tic-tac-toe is terminally dull. There’s no room for creativity or insight. Good players always tie.
But here’s a more sophisticated version with nine games in a tic-tac-toe grid.
You don’t get to pick which of the nine boards to play on. That’s determined by your opponent’s previous move. Whichever square he picks, that’s the board you must play in next. (And whichever square you pick will determine which board he plays on next.)
To win the game, you need to win three small boards in a row.
This lends the game a strategic element. You can’t just focus on the little board. You’ve got to consider where your move will send your opponent, and where his next move will send you, and so on.
The resulting scenarios look bizarre. Players seem to move randomly, missing easy two- and three-in-a-rows. But there’s a method to the madness – they’re thinking ahead to future moves, wary of setting up their opponent on prime real estate. It is, in short, vastly more interesting than regular tic-tac-toe.
If you are sent to a board that’s already been won, you may go wherever you like.
Read all about it at Math with Bad Drawings
Mike Halverson says
I can’t believe that I FORGOT to pull this Ultimate Tic Tac Toe game out for summer camp. There is always a next time. We camp in the rain. Or should I say “We camp. Therefore it rains.”
Good gracious. This is going to change my life forever! Thanks a million.