Games that are 'like noughts and crosses' (not 'othello')

I can’t remember where, but I heard of a game that is like noughts and crosses but more complicated.
What are all the games that can be described as ‘like noughts and crosses’?


How like does a game have to be. Gomoku (aka “Five in a row”) is played on a Go board with Go pieces and the name pretty much describes it.

How 'bout “Connect Four”?

Those of us on the American side of the pond use the name Tic-Tac-Toe instead of noughts and crosses.

The only similar game I can think of is called Score Four, played on a vertical game board by dropping colored markers into slots. You have to get 4 in a row instead of 3, and can only fill in a space if all the spaces below are already filled.

You can of course generalize Noughts and Crosses/Tic-Tac-Toe, eg. playing on a 4x4 board, or a 3x3x3x3. I can’t remember if any of these variants are worth playing, though.

Perhaps you’re thinking of Pente?

4x4x4 tic-tac-toe has a forced win for “X”.

I don’t know if Gomoku has been solved for an empty board, but for a non-empty board in general, determining if “X” can force a win is PSPACE-Complete. (I.e., believed harder than “mere” NP-Complete.)

For Connect Four, it is a force draw if both players play correctly. But I can usually beat any computer game written by a novice.

There’s a game I like to play but I don’t know a common name for it (I just call it Zippo).

You have a 5 x 5 grid (although other sizes work) and its reverse tic-tac-toe - you win by forcing your opponent to get 3 in a row (ie, you lose if you get 3 in a row).

This game is not more complicated than tic-tac-toe, but how about this game: Take one each of the cards from 1 to 9. Place them face up between the players. The players alternate taking possession of one card on each turn. The first player to have exactly three cards in his possession that sum to 15 wins.

What is the connection to tic-tac-toe? It’s Magic.


6      1      8
7      5      3
2      9      4

As a child, after we had figured out that tic-tac-toe was boring, we’d play something we called “Sticks and Stones” during recess.

Take a piece of chalk, mark TTT grid on the sidewalk.
Take three pebbles and three twigs.
Alternate turns as in TTT until playing pieces are exhausted.
now comes the difference
On your turn, move one of your markers, either horizontally or diagonally, into one of the three remaining empty spaces.
Repeat until someone wins by getting their three markers in a row.

See? No bones broken :slight_smile: