3 Player Tic-Tac-Toe

Tic-Tac-Toe is an age-old game that most of us played during our childhood. The rules were simple, the gameplay quick, and the result often a draw among seasoned players. But what if we introduced a new twist to this classic? Enter the world of 3 Player Tic-Tac-Toe.

The Basics

Instead of the traditional 3x3 grid, the 3 Person Tic-Tac-Toe is typically played on a larger grid, such as a 4x4 or 5x5 board, to accommodate the extra player.

3 player tic tac toe board

Here are the symbol examples you can choose from:

3 player tic tac toe symbols


Introducing a third player into the classic Tic-Tac-Toe game certainly shakes things up! As the dynamics of the game shift, so do the rules. Here's what you need to know.

Order of Play:

Players take turns in a cyclic order: Player 1, then Player 2, then Player 3, and then back to Player 1.

3 player tic tac toe moves order


To win, a player must get a specific number in a row (depending on board size). On a 4x4 grid, for instance, getting 3 symbols in a row might be a win. On a 5x5, perhaps 4 in a row.

3 player tic tac toe victory


With an extra player, there's a heightened strategy involved. Not only do you want to create a line for yourself, but you also have to block two other players from winning.

3 player tic tac toe blocking


If the board fills up without any player getting their required line-up, the game is considered a draw.

3 player tic tac toe tie


Mastering the tactics of the traditional Tic-Tac-Toe is one thing, but when a third player enters the mix, a well-thought-out strategy becomes paramount. Here are some key points to consider.

Defense is Crucial:

With an extra player, defensive gameplay becomes more significant. You have two opponents to watch and block.

3 player tic tac toe defence

Center Control:

In traditional Tic-Tac-Toe, controlling the center can be a winning move. In the 3-player version, this strategy is even more critical as it gives a player more options to create lines and disrupt opponents.

3 player tic tac toe center role

Double Threats:

Unlike the traditional game where a double threat can guarantee a win, in 3 Player Tic-Tac-Toe, you might set up a double threat only to have the next player block one of them. However, it still places the third player in a difficult position, as they have to decide whether to further your agenda or focus on their game.

3 player tic tac toe double threat

Additional Variations of 3 Player Tic-Tac-Toe

These variations make 3 Player Tic-Tac-Toe even more engaging and interesting. They add an extra layer of strategy and unpredictability, making each game unique and thrilling.

1. Team Play:

Two players team up against one. It might seem unfair, but the "solo" player gets two consecutive moves, while the team players alternate their moves. This creates an interesting dynamic and strategy.

2. Dynamic Board:

The board expands every time all available cells are filled. For instance, starting with a 3x3 board, when it gets filled, another row and column are added, turning it into a 4x4, and so on.

3. Time-Limited Moves:

Each player only has a specific amount of time to make a move (e.g., 10 seconds). If the player doesn’t make a move in time, they miss their turn.

4. Special Cells:

Some cells on the board have special properties. For example, a cell that grants an extra move, or a cell that switches the marker to its opposite (X to O and vice versa).

5. "Bombs":

Under certain conditions, a player can place a "bomb" instead of their marker. In the next round, the "bomb" explodes, removing all markers around it and making cells unavailable for a move for one round.


3 Player Tic-Tac-Toe introduces a fresh and thrilling dynamic to a game we all know and love. The added complexity and strategy required make it an exciting challenge for all involved. It's not just about offense now; players need to strategize more, anticipate opponents' moves, and play defensively. So, gather two of your friends and give this variant a try – it's a Tic-Tac-Toe experience like no other!