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Tic Tac Toe Multiplayer

Tic Tac Toe Multiplayer Description

Tic Tac Toe Multiplayer (American English), noughts and crosses (British English), or Xs and Os is a paper-and-pencil game for two players, X and O, who take turns marking the spaces in a 3×3 grid. The player who succeeds in placing three of their marks in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal row is the winner.

Tic Tac Toe Multiplayer Game play

In order to win the game, a player must place three of their marks in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal row.

Players soon discover that the best play from both parties leads to a draw. Hence, Tic Tac Toe Multiplayer is most often played by young children, who often have not yet discovered the optimal strategy.

Because of the simplicity of Tic Tac Toe Multiplayer, it is often used as a pedagogical tool for teaching the concepts of good sportsmanship and the branch of artificial intelligence that deals with the searching of game trees. It is straightforward to write a computer program to play tic-tac-toe perfectly or to enumerate the 765 essentially different positions (the state space complexity) or the 26,830 possible games up to rotations and reflections (the game tree complexity) on this space.

The game can be generalized to an m,n,k-game in which two players alternate placing stones of their own color on an m×n board, with the goal of getting k of their own color in a row. Tic Tac Toe Multiplayer is the (3,3,3)-game. Harary’s generalized tic-tac-toe is an even broader generalization of tic-tac-toe. It can also be generalized as a nd game. Tic-tac-toe is the game where n equals 3 and d equals 2. If played optimally by both players, the game always ends in a draw, making tic-tac-toe a futile game.

Tic Tac Toe Multiplayer Combinatorics

When considering only the state of the board, and after taking into account board symmetries (i.e. rotations and reflections), there are only 138 terminal board positions. A combinatorics study of the game shows that when “X” makes the first move every time, the game outcomes are as follows:

  • 91 distinct positions are won by (X)
  • 44 distinct positions are won by (O)
  • 3 distinct positions are drawn (often called a “cat’s game”)


Optimal strategy for player X if starting in a corner. In each grid, the shaded red X denotes the optimal move, and the location of O’s next move gives the next subgrid to examine. Note that only two sequences of moves by O (both starting with center, top-right, left-mid) lead to a draw, with the remaining sequences leading to wins from X.
Optimal strategy for player O. Player O can only force a win or draw by playing in the centre first.

A player can play a perfect game of Tic Tac Toe Multiplayer (to win or at least draw) if, each time it is their turn to play, they choose the first available move from the following list, as used in Newell and Simon’s 1972 tic-tac-toe program.

  1. Win: If the player has two in a row, they can place a third to get three in a row.
  2. Block: If the opponent has two in a row, the player must play the third themselves to block the opponent.
  3. Fork: Create an opportunity where the player has two ways to win (two non-blocked lines of 2).
  4. Blocking an opponent’s fork: If there is only one possible fork for the opponent, the player should block it. Otherwise, the player should block all forks in any way that simultaneously allows them to create two in a row. Otherwise, the player should create a two in a row to force the opponent into defending, as long as it doesn’t result in them creating a fork. For example, if “X” has two opposite corners and “O” has the center, “O” must not play a corner move in order to win. (Playing a corner move in this scenario creates a fork for “X” to win.)
  5. Center: A player marks the center. (If it is the first move of the game, playing a corner move gives the second player more opportunities to make a mistake and may therefore be the better choice; however, it makes no difference between perfect players.)
  6. Opposite corner: If the opponent is in the corner, the player plays the opposite corner.
  7. Empty corner: The player plays in a corner square.
  8. Empty side: The player plays in a middle square on any of the 4 sides.
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Tic Tac Toe Multiplayer Tips & Tricks

Tic Tac Toe Multiplayer Tricks

There are several distinct strategies that can be employed to ensure victory when playing tic tac toe, but there are also a few simple tricks that new players can use to help their chances. Remember, this game is known as a ‘solved game’, which means that there is a definite strategy that can be employed to win every single time. However, if both players employ that same unbeatable strategy, the game will result in a draw every time. Here are a few tricks for new players to use:

  1. When playing first, claim a corner spot instead of the center spot.
  2. When playing second, claim the center segment if the first player did not.
  3. When playing second, claim a corner spot if the first player claimed the center segment.
  4. Always make moves based on strategy.
  5. Most moves will either block, win, or set up for a win on the next turn.

These are just a few of the most basic tricks for new players, but the game includes several more nuances for the final moves.

Those who might want something a bit more challenging could attempt 3D tic tac toe, which is basically like playing three individual games of Tic Tac Toe Multiplayer but stacked on top of each other. This creates a 3D Tic Tac Toe where winning rows of three are possible through all three dimensions. Interestingly enough, the same rules apply, and many of the same strategies must be employed if you hope to win at this more complicated game type.

How To Win Tic Tac Toe Multiplayer If You Go Second

Even when going second, it is possible to still win the game, especially if the first player doesn’t employ the unbeatable strategy. It is easily possible to force a draw when you play second, but winning is a bit more complicated. Here is the best strategy for winning when playing second:

  1. If your opponent understands the strategy of the game, they will most likely play their first move in either the center segment or a corner segment. If they do so, and they continue to play perfectly, your only option is to force a draw.
  2. If your opponent doesn’t have a full grasp of the game rules, and they still play in either the center segment or a corner segment, it is possible to win if they make errors. Be sharp and watch for mistakes on their part.
  3. If your opponent plays their first move in one of the side segments, you’ll have a chance to force a win. As always, play your move in the center square after they have taken the side. At this point, your victory will be determined by your opponent’s move. If they place their second move in the same line as the first two moves, creating a full row or column, your next move should be to take one of the corners. If they fail to block your move, you’ll win on the next turn.

It should be noted that this strategy requires at least two errors from the player who went first, so it is rare that it can be employed. In most cases, if you are playing second, your main goal is to force a tie.

How To Never Lose At Tic Tac Toe Multiplayer

Some players want to learn how to always win, but others simply want to know how to never lose, which in essence means they want to know how to force a tie in any situation. Forcing a tie is quite easy in this game if you know the standard blocking strategy. Here are a few of the best strategies for forcing ties:

  1. If you are playing first, forced ties are quite easy. They only require that the player not miss any chances to block wins from the opponent. Playing first is the best way to win as well, and losing is almost impossible with proper strategy.
  2. If you are playing second, your main goal is to force to a tie. Winning from the second position is quite difficult, and it requires several mistakes from the opponent. If the first player makes their first move in a corner, which is the recommended first move, the second player should take the center segment. The first player will then make their second move, and the second player should then take one of the edges. Only take a corner piece to block your opponent from getting three in a row. If that strategy is employed, a tie will certainly be reached.
  3. If you are playing second and the first player takes the center segment, your first move should be to take a corner. After that, the second player should only focus on blocking the first player.

How To Win Tic Tac Toe Multiplayer Every Time

Unfortunately, there is no way to guarantee that a player will win every single game of tic tac toe multiplayer they play. Victory, defeat, or a draw is determined by the interaction of both players. If both players operate perfectly, a draw will always occur. The best strategies to win are:

  1. Attempt to go first and claim a corner segment.
  2. Play second and hope your opponent makes mistakes.
  3. Focus on blocking and looking at least two moves ahead.

Tic Tac Toe Multiplayer Image

About Tic Tac Toe Multiplayer

Screen Orientation Portrait
Controls Mouse, Touchscreen
Developer Code This Lab
Publisher GameMonetize
Platform Web browser (desktop and mobile) IOS, Android
Release Date October 2018
Genre Arcade, Board, Paper-and-pencil game
Engine Html5
Mode Multiplayer, Singleplayer
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