Tic-Tac-Toe has achievements and a progression system now. Thanks, the year 2015.

Yes, the Tic-Tac-Toe, that most ancient of gentlemanly playground sports, dating all the way back to the Roman Empire by some estimates. It might seem a bit odd, but Ultimate Tic-Tac-Toe actually sounds, dare I say it, kinda interesting. See, you’re not just playing a single square like some kind of Jello-skulled BABY. No, no, this is grown-up Tic-Tac-Toe. Much like a real-life adult, it’s got layers:

  • Each square of the 3x3 game board contains another, smaller, 3x3 game board.
  • Where you make your move in a square of any small board, you send the opponent in the respective square of the big board.
  • 3 in a row in a small board wins the small board and the big square.
  • 3 small boards in a row wins the game.
  • Strategize your play, plan your next move, let the opponent win some small boards, while you win the game.

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This variant wasn’t invented by the Steam game, but I have to confess that it’s my first exposure to it. Ultimate also includes multiple forms of multiplayer, difficulty levels, and a “forget” mode in which “each 4th move of the same player in a board will erase his oldest move.”

And yes, there are now achievements in Tic-Tac-Toe, something I still can’t quite wrap my head around. But you know what? Some of these are pretty great. Case in point: “Kindergarten,” which you get for winning a game with X. Also “Bully,” which you nab after five consecutive wins.

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Ultimate Tic-Tac-Toe just hit Steam, and it’s free. Will you become one of the world’s few, proud, devastatingly attractive level 50 Tic-Tac-Toe players? Not that it matters. You’ll never triumph over our own Stephen Totilo.

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To contact the author of this post, write to nathan.grayson@kotaku.com or find him on Twitter @vahn16.

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