Tic Tac Toe – Learn how to play tic tac toe and improve your gaming skills  

How to play tic tac toe and rules

Tic tac toe is a two-player game where the objective is to take turns and mark the correct spaces in a grid. Generally, it is played on a grid of three vertical columns and three horizontal rows, making nine boxes in the grid. The player that succeeds in placing three of their signs, X or O, either vertically, horizontally, or diagonally, wins the game.

To play, you require a pen and a piece of paper. However, nowadays, the game can even be played on mobile phones or personal computers, thanks to digital modernization. Apart from being fun and entertaining, Tic-tac-toe is often used as an educational tool for students, as it develops and enhances the cognitive and spatial abilities of the players.

This blog teaches about the origin and benefits of playing Tic Tac Toe. You will also learn how to play Tic Tac Toe and how you can improve your game.

Tic Tac Toe Game – Origin

The game’s origin traces back to Ancient Egypt, where archaeologists found Tic Tac Toe on roof tiles dating around 1300 BC. Moreover, the citizens of the Roman Empire used to play Tic Tac Toe.

The various names of the game are more recent. In an edition of Notes and Queries in 1858, the first print mentions it as “noughts and crosses.” The first print mention of “tick-tack-toe” appeared in 1884; however, it mentioned it as a children’s game played on a slate. “Tic-tac-toe” could also be derived from “tick-tack,” the name of an archaic backgammon variant first documented in 1558. Furthermore, “noughts and crosses” were later renamed “tic-tac-toe” in the United States in the 20th century.

How to Play Tic Tac Toe?

Almost anyone can play Tic Tac Toe as it is a pretty straightforward game. It is a two-player game, and you do not require any particular skill or training to start playing. However, basic strategic, tactical, and observational skills are needed. Besides, it is essential to remember that to win a Tic Tac Toe match; you need to become the first player to place three alphabets in either vertical, horizontal, or diagonal directions.

Follow these 4 steps to learn how to play Tic Tac Toe:

  • Step 1 – Draw the Tic Tac Toe board
  • Step 2 – Decide who goes first
  • Step 3 – Start the game
  • Step 4 – Win the game

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Step 1 – Draw the Tic Tac toe board

Tic Tac Toe Board example

To play Tic Tac Toe, you must draw the Tic Tac Toe board on paper. The board includes a grid of three columns and three rows, and these rows and columns make a grid with nine boxes. However, if you play the game on a digital device, the 3×3 board is already made for you.

Step 2 – Decide who goes first

You have to decide which player gets to play the ‘X’ and ‘O’ alphabet before starting the game. Each player can only use one of these alphabets throughout a game. Usually, the player that gets to play ‘X’ as their alphabet starts the game with their turn being the first. Whereas the player that gets to play ‘O’ plays the second turn.

Step 3 – Start the game

In the first turn, the player will have to place the ‘X’ alphabet in one of the nine boxes.  After the player one plays their turn, the second player, having ‘O’ as their alphabet, will play. The second player can place ‘O’ in any remaining eight boxes. Players have to continue taking turns alternately until one of the players emerges as the winner.

Step 4 – Win the game

The game’s primary goal is to place three alphabets in either vertical, horizontal, or diagonal directions, and the first player to achieve it wins the game. Players should keep this in mind while playing their turns. These are all the Tic Tac Toe rules players need to know.

However, if no player wins the game and all the boxes are filled, the game is considered a draw. Both the players have to play a rematch in such a situation until a single winner is declared.

In contrast to popular beliefs, Tic Tac Toe is not a game of chance. It is a skill-based game. Skills and strategies can be learned over time to excel at the game. However, if you want to become a pro-Tic Tac Toe player, you have to put a lot of effort and time into optimizing your skills to the best extent.

Why play Tic Tac Toe?

All games require a specific set of skills to play and win. By playing such games, you can improve those required skill sets. Likewise, not only Tic Tac Toe is fun to play, but it also develops our various cognitive and spatial skills. Over time, Tic Tac Toe has been found to be very beneficial in developing specific skills amongst children. Following is the list and brief details of all the skills a player can build by playing Tic Tac Toe:

  1. Strategic Thinking
  2. Planning Skills
  3. Problem-Solving Skills
  4. Creative Thinking
  5. Perspective-taking skills
  6. Logical Thinking
Tic Tac Toe skills

Strategic Thinking

Tic-tac-toe is a game that has a high level of predictability. All the steps taken by the opponent are highly predictable. However, this predictability aids in the development of strategic thinking. You can try to figure out your opponents’ next move by observing them and thinking of strategies to stop them. These skills always benefit you in topics such as mathematics and engineering.

Planning Skills

To win the game, you must think ahead of your opponents. Before making any move, you should decide what counter move your opponent will make and prepare for a response move, improving your planning skills.

Problem-Solving Skills

If the opponent does not play according to your plan, you will have to improvise your strategy to defeat them. This improvisation of strategy requires excellent problem-solving skills. Thus, playing the Tic Tac Toe game improves problem-solving skills over time.

Creative Thinking

Tic Tac Toe requires you to outplay the opponents to win the match, for which you need to have creative thinking. Tic Tac Toe improves your creative thinking by putting you in various scenarios.

Perspective-taking skills 

To make the next move, you must have to think from your opponent’s perspective. Perspective-taking is a crucial skill required to win a Tic Tac Toe game. Thus, Tic Tac Toe also improves our perspective-taking skills.

Logical Thinking

Tic Tac Toe helps you improve your spatial skills by promoting logical reasoning. This ability is critical for problem-solving skills, ranging from basic housework to complex mathematical computations.

All these skills, collectively, are very important in your day-to-day life. These skills help students excel in their studies, achieve better goals, and assist professionals in their daily work lives.

How to play Tic Tac Toe better?

Tic Tac Toe game is not a game of chance, and it requires a specific skill set to excel at it. You can improve at the game if you practice continuously and learn to make new strategies. Here are tips for the players to improve at the game and gain the upper hand over their opponents:

  1. Take the center position
  2. Think before playing
  3. The “Right, Left, Above, and Below” Strategy
  4. The Three Corner Strategy
How to play tic tac toe better?

Take the center position

If you get the chance to start a game, make sure you place your “X” in the center of the grid. It will drastically increase your chances of winning that game. As the center box is accessible to every other box, it makes the game far easier to win. So, without any hesitation, make sure you position your “X” in the center box every time you get the chance to play first.

Think before playing

Before you place your alphabet, take a brief pause to think about your action and your opponent’s reaction. If you strategically and tactically think about it, you can easily have the upper hand in the game instead of playing blindly.

The “Right, Left, Above, and Below” Strategy

After your opponent makes a move, try implementing the “Right, Left, Above, and Below” strategy. This strategy suggests the player place their symbol in the right box of the opponent’s last mark. However, if it is not possible, place it on the left box. If that is not possible, place your alphabet above their mark. If none of the three are possible, place your mark below the opponent’s previous mark. This strategy does not guarantee a win, but it has a high success rate, so players should try it out.

The Three Corner Strategy

Players should follow the three corners strategy to significantly increase their chance of winning. This strategy suggests that players mark their alphabet in three out of four corners to improve their likelihood of winning substantially. Getting hold of three corners opens the player to multiple winning options simultaneously. This strategy, too, has a very high success rate.

Practice Makes Perfect

This goes without saying; players must practice as much as possible to improve at the game. Practice exposes the player to various strategies and teaches many things in the game. It is always better to play against challenging opponents to analyze their gameplay and learn from them. Playing against hard players improves your skills substantially. All Tic Tac Toe games are very superior in terms of hardness as they are built for the sole purpose of winning. So, players can play against computers to improve their Tic Tac Toe skills.

Humans have been playing Tic Tac Toe for centuries, and we have come to know that it is undoubtedly fun to play, but it is also beneficial for us. It benefits us by improving our strategic thinking, planning, and problem-solving skills. You can improve your game skills by frequently practicing them and by making and learning new strategies over time. Besides, playing against computers is an excellent idea to improve, as computers are better at such games.

Tic Tac Toe – FAQs

Can I play Tic Tac Toe with three players?

No, you can only play tic Tac Toe with two players.

How to win Tic tac toe?

To win a Tic Tac Toe you need to become the first player to place three alphabets in either vertical, horizontal, or diagonal directions. Here are some key tricks and strategies for beginners to win the tic tac toe game.

How to play Tic Tac Toe online?

There are various websites that allow users to play popular games like Tic Tac Toe. Users register online for free and start playing it. Take a look at this article to know more.

Can I make a grid of four columns and four rows, consisting of 16 boxes, to play Tic Tac Toe?

Yes, you can. However, the three-column and three-row grids are universally accepted.

Is Tic Tac Toe an Indian game?

No, the origin of the Tic Tac Toe game can be traced back to Roman Empire and Ancient Egypt.

Is there any certain age limit to play Tic Tac Toe?

There is no minimum or a maximum age limit to play Tic Tac Toe. In fact, it is found that Tic Tac Toe improves brain development in children.

What if we tie in a Tic Tac Toe game?

If players tie in a Tic Tac Toe game, they will have to play a rematch until one of them wins the game.