Tired of regular, old tic tac toe? Take things up a notch with this free printable PDF template for Ultimate Tic Tac Toe. Challenge your students, friends, or family with this strategic twist on the classic game.
When I first heard of ultimate tic tac toe, I honestly didn’t understand the hype. It was just 9 smaller tic tac toe games arranged in a giant tic tac toe grid.
The idea of playing that many games of tic tac toe before declaring an ultimate winner sounded like a bit of a drag. It turns out, though, that I had missed how the game play actually worked.
Instead of being able to play wherever you want on the game board, each move you make is influenced by your competitor’s previous move. This leads to a very interesting strategic game!
Ultimate Tic Tac Toe is also known as Extreme Tic Tac Toe, Super Tic Tac Toe, Ultra Tic Tac Toe, Mega Tic Tac Toe, or Ultimate Noughts and Crosses.
Goal of the Game
The goal of Ultimate Tic Tac Toe is to be the first player to win three games of tic tac toe in a row.
The ultimate tic tac toe grid is made up of one very large tic tac toe grid with nine smaller tic tac toe grids within it.
Each small grid becomes either an X or an O as it is won by a player.
Ultimate Tic Tac Toe Instructions
The first player may choose anywhere on the grid to play.
The second player has to pay very close attention to where the first player put their symbol because this will determine where the second player is allowed to play.
The second player may only play in the small tic tac toe board which corresponds to the last move.
In the example above, the first player played in the first square on the middle row. This means that Player 2 must place their symbol somewhere on the first tic tac toe board on the middle row.
You can see that the second player chose to put their “O” in the middle square on the bottom row. This means that the first player must now choose to put their “x” somewhere on the middle tic tac toe board on the bottom row.
In this example game, Player 1 chose to put an X in the top right square of the tic tac toe board. This means that Player 2 may play anywhere in the top right tic tac toe grid.
Game play continues with players winning the various boards and turning them into either an X or an O depending on who won.
As the tic tac toe board begins to be filled up with completed games, there arises the need for one more rule.
If you are sent to a tic tac toe board that is already full or decided, you may play anywhere on the board. This makes for a very interesting game and strategy!
Ideas for Using in the Classroom
I have heard of many teachers having their students play Ultimate Tic Tac Toe on vertical whiteboards in their classroom as a first day of school activity for math class. I often see this strategy used by teachers who are implementing Peter Liljedahl’s Building Thinking Classrooms.
If you don’t want to waste time having students draw their own ultimate tic tac toe grids, I have created printable PDF templates for Ultimate Tic Tac Toe that can be printed on letter-sized paper or 11 x 17 paper.
I wanted to create a template for the game that has a brief version of the instructions at the top of the template.
I printed the ultimate tic tac toe grids on 11 x 17 cardstock and placed them in my 11 x 17 dry erase pockets. Don’t have the ability to print on 11 x 17 paper? Don’t worry. I’ve got a letter-sized template as well at the bottom of this post!
I put them out in my classroom this past year along with another variation of tic tac toe called circle tic tac toe which I still need to blog about!
This year I plan on leaving a few copies out on my back counter for students to grab and play if they finish early.
MATH = LOVE RECOMMENDS…
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 digital play is more your style, there is a Desmos Activity Builder version of Ultimate Tic Tac Toe from Nathaniel Heading.
Twists on Ultimate Tic Tac Toe
- Math Plus Academy offers up a twist on ultimate tic tac toe that leads to a much shorter playing time. Instead of playing for 3 wins in a row, the game ends when the first small tic tac toe board is won.
- Math 4 Love shares an ultimate tic tac game with completely different rules.
Origins of Ultimate Tic Tac Toe
Free Download of Ultimate Tic Tac Toe PDF Game Template
11 x 17 Version (PDF)
8.5 x 11 Version (PDF)
Editable Publisher Files