Roll-It Tic-Tac-Toe Review
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Players: 2-6 (ages 7+)
Playing Time: 20-30 minutes

When I was a kid, a quick game (or two…or three) of tic-tac-toe always made a great little diversion. It kept me from getting impatient while waiting for a table at our favorite restaurant (and, later, while waiting for my usual cheeseburger-just-ketchup-fries-and-a-Coke), and it made the time fly by during a boring history lesson. Then, all I needed was a pencil, a scrap of paper, and a willing opponent. But if you add a pair of dice and a game board, you end up with a totally different game.

Roll-It Tic-Tac-Toe is played on a giant grid, containing nine three-by-three tic-tac-toe grids. Each spot on the grid contains a number—1 through 12, not including 2 or 7. To begin, each player chooses a color and gathers a pile of clear colored chips. Players then take turns placing their chips on the board. When it’s your turn to play, you roll the dice, add up the numbers, and place a chip on any spot that contains that number. In other words, if you roll a 3 and a 6, you place your chip on a 9. If you roll a 2, you lose your turn. And if you roll a 7, you can place your chip on any spot on the board.

The goal is to get as many tic-tac-toes (three chips in a row—horizontally, vertically, or diagonally) as possible, while preventing your opponent(s) from doing the same. You also want to try to get three tic-tac-toes in a row—horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. This is called a grand tic-tac-toe.

When all the spots on the board are filled (or when no player can get another tic-tac-toe), the game is over, and it’s time to add up your points. Each player gets one point for each chip on the board, three points for each tic-tac-toe, and five points for each grand tic-tac-toe. The player with the most points is the winner.

Roll-It Tic-Tac-Toe may take a little getting used to—because there’s a lot more to watch out for than there is in a regular game of tic-tac-toe—but once you figure out the rules and the strategies, it’s a quick and easy game that moves along at a fast pace. Though there are a few strategies to keep in mind—and you have to keep track of nine games of tic-tac-toe at a time instead of just one—it isn’t a difficult game at all. It takes a little bit of thought and a little bit of strategy, but it’s a game that the kids will be able to play right along with Mom and Dad.

The rules suggest using just four of the nine grids when playing with younger kids—for a quicker game—and I agree. I tried playing it while camping with my niece and nephew—and although they were really into it for a while, they lost interest when it started to feel like they weren’t getting anywhere. I wish I’d seen the suggestion at the time—because they would have had a lot more fun if we’d played the shorter version.

Not only is Roll-It Tic-Tac-Toe an enjoyable game for the whole family, though, but it’s also a great educational game for kids—one that will help with math skills while building strategic skills. Younger kids will definitely need a grown-up to help with tallying the score (since it’s a little confusing even for grown-ups), but since it’s a fun game, Mom and Dad will actually want to join in.

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