Can Tic-Tac-Toe be improved to incorporate strategy and fun? Yes!
|Tic-Tac Match (2020)|
|Designer(s)||Larry Ashlock||Artist(s)||Everett Rein, Ocie Steiner||Publisher||
Way Funner Games
|2 or 4||7+||5-10m|
Tic-Tac-Toe is a game that has a confirmed history dating back to Rome Empire and likely predates that. The history of Tic-Tac-Toeis certainly interesting and worth a quick read. You may ask, "how can a game that old be modified to create a new gaming experience while keeping the spirit of the game the same and simple to play?" Tic-Tac Match has done just that.
Tic-Tac Match ditches the pen and paper and mixes the basic Tic-Tac-Toe game play with card game elements to create a unique twist on this classic. It remains easy enough to learn while also adding additional strategy elements in the form of special action cards and a new way of placing the X/O's.
Box and Components
The game comes in a card box that is slightly larger than a standard deck of cards and has a nice glossy finish that helps everything 'pop' out visually. Something minor I really like about the box is the bottom of the box is glued shut and have no pieces inside the box for the cards to get stuck on; too many card games go for tuck approach on both sides resulting in difficult re-packing the game and sometimes the bottom simply slipping open. Again, it is minor, but it is something I immediately realized when putting the cards back into the box. I am very pleased with this minor detail and hope it is the method used for future printings of the game as well.
There are 60 cards that are part of the deck and four cards used to identify the team (X/O) the players are on. Like the card box, the cards have the same glossy finish and allow the colorful, clean card design to also standard out. The cards are on a nice card stock that retains the card shape very well even after a lot of shuffling. Overall, we are very pleased with the quality of the cards and the box. This is easily on par with many of the card games you can find in retail today such as Uno and Phase 10.
The 64 cards within the box are broken down into the following categories:
- Symbol Cards: There are 24 X and 24 O cards that are split into four colors (Blue, Red, Green, Yellow); these will be placed on the 3x3 grid much like standard Tic-Tac-Toe.
- Action Cards: There are three types of action cards and four of each of those cards. These introduce unique twists to the game that give an Uno feel to the game.
- X/O Identity Card: These purple double sided cards (4) are used to identify which team you are on; each player will have one identity card throughout the game, which will be flipped between the X and O sides depending on your current team.
The rules are on small booklet that fits perfectly into the box. The rules are very clear and easy to follow; we had no issues learning the game from a single pass through the rules.
The game is still Tic-Tac-Toe with the same end game condition being getting a line of X's or O's (no draws in this game though); unlike the original, the game is not limited to a max of 9 turns and limited strategy. You will be playing the X/O cards in a 3x3 grid much like you would with traditional Tic-Tac-Toe; unlike traditional Tic-Tac-Toe, you are not limited to playing into empty spaces. You are able to play cards on top of other cards with one exception: the card played cannot be identical (symbol AND color) to the card it is covering. A few examples:
- A Blue X cannot cover a Blue X
- A Blue X can cover a Blue O
- A Blue X can cover a Red X
In addition to these changes, there are now action cards that introduce a little "take that" elements to the game.
Also, the card symbol and color in the completed line must match to win. Players are assigned teams based on symbols, and the introduction of different colors allows for deeper strategy.
Setup is quick. Deal four cards to each player and flip over the top card of the remaining deck (Draw Pile) into the middle of the table; if the card flipped is not an X/O card, discard it and draw until an X/O is drawn. The drawn symbol card becomes the center of the grid. Provide each player a purple X/O card (double sided ID Card). The dealer's identity card will be flipped to the side matching the symbol card in the center of the grid, and the other player's identity card will be flipped to the opposite side.
If playing with 4 players, the players are on teams with the team assignment alternating around the table (X, O, X, O). There are 1-2 minor differences in a four player game that I will point out below.
The player to the left of the dealer begins and goes around the table clockwise.
Players will play a card and draw back up to four cards at the end of their turn. Players will always have 4 cards in their hand at the beginning and end of their turn; there are cards that can be used against you forcing you to discard cards requiring players to draw outside of their turn.
The types of cards played:
- X/O Cards are played directly to the 3x3 play area in either empty spaces or covering cards (with the one limitation mentioned above about identical cards).
- Flip Over Cards cause all players to flip their purple ID cards to the opposite side meaning they are now trying to get lines of that new symbol. The flip Over cards is placed in the discard pile.
- Wipe Out forces another player to discard their entire hand of cards and draw back up to four cards. The Wipe Out card is placed in the discard pile.
- When playing on teams (4 players), this card can be used on your teammate as well as the opponents. When played, once the target player draws their new cards, it becomes their turn skipping any players that would have gone between the attacking player and the target.
- Double Play allow the player to follow up with 2 additional card plays from their existing hand. The additional cards can be X/O cards and/or Flip cards; Double Play and Wipe Out action cards cannot be played with these extra actions.
The game will end once a line of X or O's of the same color have been placed; the player(s) with that symbol face up on their identity card is the winner. Alternatively, you can play awarding points for each game won, and play until one team has reached a specific number of points (5 as suggested in the rules).
We have had the opportunity to play a few games that take old classics from our childhood and present them with new twists. If someone would have asked me if I thought there was a way to make Tic-Tac-Toe fun for teens/adults, I would have said no; however, Amanda and I found ourselves playing game after game because it was very quick and enjoyable. Our individual games ran 5-10 minutes and we played 7 games. I think it is because it is recreating something from our childhood holds a bit of nostalgia, and the curiosity of how such a simple game can be reinvigorated as something new and enjoyable while retaining simple game play.
We definitely see this as a great game for those who enjoy games like Uno, Phase 10, and other traditional card games as well as gamers who need a quick filler game that takes very little space in game bags. Be sure to check out their game on their Game Crafters product page.
We received the product in order to write an honest review; all reviews reflect the honest opinions of the writer.
We are using some of their official product pictures instead of our own due to the glare we were getting off of the nice glossy cards with our lighting setup.