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How to Never Lose at Tic-Tac-Toe

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Tic-tac-toe is a well-known ’pen and paper’ game played on a 3×3 grid. It is played with 2 people who take turns putting their sign, usually an x or a circle, in a part of the playing field. The first player that manages to get 3 in a row, wins!

If you follow the steps 5-Minute Crafts has laid out for you below, you will never lose at this game ever again.

If you go first

1. You can start in the middle

  • What to do when your opponent comes back on an edge

In this case the game is already played. Place your sign in one of the corners in the row or column opposite to your opponent’s sign. This will force your opponent to block your line and leave the field open for you to win.

  • What to do when your opponent comes back in a corner

The first thing you should do is finish the diagonal line. After this, it is up to your opponent. If a mistake is made, you might still be able to win. But worst-case scenario, the game ends up in a tie.

2. Or you can start in a corner

  • What to do when your opponent comes back in a corner

This is definitely a mistake from your opponent, as now it will be easy for you to win. Simply put your next sign in another corner in the same row or column and play out the game following the steps shown above. No matter what the next move of your opponent is, you will win!

  • What to do when your opponent comes back on an edge

Also, in this case, there is no way for you to lose, no matter what the comeback of your opponent is. The key is to, again, put your next sign in the corner of the same row or column as your first turn.

  • What to do when your opponent comes back in the middle

This is a smart move from your opponent because it’s the only way in which you might not win. Your only shot at winning will be to put your next sign in the opposite corner and then hope that your opponent makes a mistake!

If your opponent goes first

1. They can start in the middle

In this case, you should always come back in one of the corners. Otherwise, you give your opponent a free way to win the game.

2. ...or they start in a corner

Even though starting in a corner is a smart move, you can take over the dominant hand by placing your first sign in the middle.

Bonus: Some variations to spice the game up a notch

1. Play 3D tic-tac-toe

Transform your playing field into a 3×3x3 grid to increase your possibilities to win. In this way, you are playing in a cube, which means that you can also make rows of 3 going from the top level down or even in the diagonal going from top to bottom.

2. Use a bigger playing field

You can also take a big piece of graph paper and play until someone reaches 5 in a row. You can play this in 2 ways:

  1. You can both put your signs in any place in the field.
  2. You are only allowed to place your sign next to an already filled spot.

3. Try to play it mentally, without using a board or paper.

By playing it without any paper or pen, your opponent might be more prone to make mistakes.

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