Invented by Howard Fosdick © BestFreeNewGames.com
Here are two easy but fun dice games based on Tic-Tac-Toe. Instead of drawing circles and crosses, you throw dice to determine which squares you can claim on a board composed of face-up playing cards. Tic-Tac-Dice takes the trivial game of Tic-Tac-Toe and transforms it into something more exciting and strategic. Tic-Tac-Super-Dice adds a little more challenge.
For: 2 players.
To create the card deck you'll use for this game, take a standard 52 card pack and remove all cards above the 8. So you'll end up with 32 cards, ranking Ace-2-3-4-5-6-7-8. The Ace has a value of 1 in this game.
Objective: To complete a single row -- vertically, horizontally, or diagonally -- on a Tic-Tac-Toe board composed of playing cards.
Set Up: Roll both dice to see who goes first.
Then deal out 9 cards face up in this pattern on the table:
Play: In his turn, a player roles the two dice.
He then places one of his markers over a card in the layout whose number matches either of the numbers he has thrown. Or, over or a card that matches their sum.
For example, a role of 2-3 can be considered as either a 2, 3, or 5. The player must place a marker on a card that is either a 2, 3, or 5.
The player is required to claim a card if possible. If he can not, he places no marker on the board, and it becomes his opponent's turn.
If a player throws doubles, he claims a card (if possible), and takes another turn. This can continue for as long as he rolls doubles.
Winning: The first player to create a row of three markers -- vertically, horizontally, or diagonally -- wins the hand or "round". He gets 2 points for the victory.
If a round ends where neither player completes a row with his markers, whichever player has more markers on the board gets 1 point for a "win on points".
If both players have the same number of markers, the hand is a draw and no points are awarded.
Game: The first player to 5 points first across rounds wins the Game. Play to 9 points for a longer Game.
If you go first, just put your X in any corner. Unless you're opponent counters by drawing his O in the center, you'll win.
If you go second, you're at huge disadvantage. Unless your opponent makes a big mistake, the best you can play for is a draw.
Tic-Tac-Dice transforms this simple game into something more challenging because turns become unpredictable. Dice rolls dramatically shape options. Players must always take a card if possible. This sometimes forces unfavourable moves, or at least suboptimal ones.
Sometimes it happens that a square everyone knows a player needs may be denied him by a poor dice roll. And then his opponent immediately claims it on his roll.
Such unpredictability transforms simple Tic-Tac-Toe into a contest of greater strategy and intensity. Excitement builds as players hope for dice that fulfil their strategies.
The left-hand diagram below shows all possible paths to winning.
The right-hand diagram below shows how many intersections occur in each position. The higher the number, the more valuable a position.
But simply "going by the numbers" may not result in optimal play. Luck plays a big role in this game. Yet you can bend the odds in your favor by adapting your strategies to an ever-changing board, and properly assessing and playing the percentages.
Variation -- "Big Tic-Tac-Dice" : Increase the size of the board to a square of 4 cards by 4 cards (instead of 3 by 3). Rules are the same.
This related game presents greater complexity and requires more strategic thinking to win.
Rules are the same as in Tic-Tac-Dice except:
Analysis: The left-hand diagram below shows the 10 possible rows that could be completed to win the hand. The right-hand diagram shows how many paths each position participates in: