Four Dimensional Tic Tac Toe

Back in my college days we had a computer program that played three-dimensional tic tac toe. The game was played in a four space by four space four level cube. The object of the game was to get four of you pieces in a row.  Ever since I came across the paper on Connect Four that I blogged about last month (There’s Research On That) my mind keeps returning to it for some reason. Then this morning while I was playing an online trivia game while eating breakfast a question came up about Brigadoon – the mythical village that appears once ever hundred years – and something clicked. What would a four dimensional board game look like? Suppose pieces showed up on the game for a limited time but you could place them in “the future?” How would that work? Could humans even play it reasonably? What would the rules look like? How would you define time? is it clock time or some arbitrary count of moves – however moves are defined?

How about this.

  • A three by three by three tick tac toe cube with the goal of three in a row at once.
  • Each turn lets a player select three locations. One for now, one for the next turn, and one for the turn after that.
  • If a player selects a location and time that the other player has already selected that piece shows up once the opponent’s piece leaves. (Or should they “lose” that move?) should one player be aware of their opponent’s future moves or not?
  • Pieces stay around for three turns and disappear

I’m not sure this game can easily be played without a computer. Not sure it can be played at all. I’m thinking about trying to write it though. You know, in my copious spare time. Smile

It would be educational though. Learning about timing issues, collision detection and handling (ala network protocols) , critical thinking. My brain hurts thinking about the rules so what would playing it be like?

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