9 Board Tic Tac Toe

9 board tic tac toe is a tic tac toe variant played on 9, 3x3 tic tac toe boards, arranged in a 3x3 pattern:

9 board tic tac toe

Players take turns putting their mark in a single 3x3 tic tac toe board slot. The first player can put their mark in any of the 81 slots. The next player has to put their mark in a slot in the 3x3 board corresponding to the position of the previous mark in a single board. That is, if the first player puts their mark in the middle, upper-right slot of the center 3x3 board, the next player has to put a mark in the upper-right hand 3x3 tic tac toe board. The moves are as in Ultimate tic tac toe.

Other than that, tic tac toe rules apply. First player to get 3-in-a-row, horizontally, vertically or diagonally, one one of the 9 3x3 ordinary tic tac toe boards wins. This is where 9 board differs from Ultimate tic tac toe.

You can try it out in your browser: play 9-board

9-board is a decent, small, 2 player board game. Any given game has a opening, a middle game, and if you push it long enough, an end game. The opening game ends when each sub-board (3x3 ordinary tic tac toe board) has a mark in it. The middle game lasts roughly until enough marks exist that you have to be cautious about which board you force the computer’s next move. The end game consists of avoiding sending the computer into a winning move.

You will find that edge slots on a 3x3 sub-board aren’t as bad as in ordinary tic tac toe, which makes the opening game longer than expected.

I haven’t been able to determine if the first player has an advantage or not, nor do I have general strategy recommendations.

Have fun, and let me know what you find out about this game.