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Tic Tac Toe Dice Game

What happens when you combine tic tac toe with a dice game?

tic tac toe dice game

I was excited to discover this Tic Tac Toe Dice game in the book Dice Games by John Belton and Joella Crambit (1976).

dice games by john belton and joella crambit
Cover of Dice Games (1976) by John Belton and Joella Crambit

I was so excited about it that I typed up a PDF version to use with my students before I ever tested the game out myself. It uses two standard six sided dice.

If you’re looking for another game that uses regular dice, I recommend checking out Martinetti Dice Game.

Tic Tac Toe Dice Game

What is Tic Tac Toe Dice?

Tic Tac Toe Dice is a dice game for two or more players. The goal of the game is to be the first player to cross out four numbers down or three numbers across in a modified tic tac toe grid. You will need two dice to play.

Tic Tac Toe Dice Game Instructions
Tic Tac Toe Dice Game Instructions
Tic Tac Toe Dice Game Instructions

Rules for Tic Tac Toe Dice

Tic Tac Toe Dice Game

I decided to type up my own set of instructions.

Tic Tac Toe Dice Game

Each time you throw the two dice, cross out a number or numbers on the score card:

  • You may cross out the total you throw. If you throw a 4 and a 3, you may cross out the 7.
  • You may cross out two or more numbers that equal the total you throw. If you throw a 5 and a 2, you may cross out 6 and 1; or 5 and 2; or 4 and 3; or 1, 2, and 4–all equaling a total of 7.
Tic Tac Toe Dice Game

Each player throws the dice only once per turn. If a player cannot cross out a number on his or her throw because the number has already been crossed out, the dice are passed to the next player. The player does not cross out any numbers on that turn.

How do you win?

The winner is the player who crosses out three numbers across or four numbers down first. The player who wins scores zero. The other players score is the total of the numbers not crossed out.

Play five rounds. The player with the lowest total score is the overall winner.

Tic Tac Toe Dice Game Boards

I created several game boards to make it easier to use this game in a classroom setting.

Tic Tac Toe Dice Game

The first version I created was just a giant version of the Tic Tac Toe Dice grid. My thought was that you could either laminate this page and use bingo chips or some other type of counter to mark off your numbers OR you could slide it in a dry erase pocket.


dry erase pockets

I cannot imagine teaching math without my dry erase pockets! They instantly make any activity more engaging and save me countless hours at the copy machine since I can use the same class sets of copies year after year.

Here are my current go-to recommendations:

If you don’t have a classroom set of dry erase pockets, you could also use heavy duty sheet protectors. But, I highly recommend investing in a classroom set of the pockets since they are so much more durable.

Next, I decided that if you needed to play five rounds, I should add a place on the dry erase template for you to record your score for each round.

Tic Tac Toe Dice Game

Finally, I decided to make a third game board template that had separate tic tac toe dice grids for each round. With this template, you could use it in a dry erase pocket, or you could just print a copy off for each player.

Tic Tac Toe Dice Game

Thoughts on the Game

In December of 2020, when the world was still going quite insane, I made my husband test out this game with me. I printed off the five round template for each of us, pulled out a pair of dice, and we got to playing.

This was when we discovered the game is not perfect. Remember – if you roll a 10, you can cross out any set of numbers which sums to 10. If a player happens to roll a 10 on their first turn, they can cross out 1, 2, 3, and 4. They now have four in a row vertically, so they automatically win. There is a 1 in 12 chance of this happening on the first turn.

The second issue we had with this game was that there is SO MUCH ADDING. If you win, you score 0 points. If you don’t win, you have to add up all of the unused numbers on your game board. If you’re looking for a game that gives students practice adding large amounts of numbers by hand, maybe this is the game for you! We quickly resorted to pulling out a calculator. Plus, remember how the player who goes first can win on their first turn? This means that the other player automatically scores 78 points.

We decided that we couldn’t really fix the first issue, but we did find a work-around for the second issue. Instead of adding up all of the unused numbers, we decided to simply count the number of unused numbers. This did seem to improve the flow of game play.

Because of these flaws, I’m not sure if I will actually end up ever using this game with students. In fact, if I had played it before typing up the templates, I probably would never have typed up the templates. Since I did already type up the templates, I have decided I should go ahead and share it with you all. The game does have potential. And, perhaps by sharing it, someone will discover a way to improve the game and make it better for us all.