Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Each map shows every possible combination of moves which will result in that side winning or tying. It assumes that X moves first, which is why the map for O has more possible move combinations and, therefore, more subdivisions. The title text is a reference to the 1983 movie WarGames. In that movie, the AI concludes that the only way to win at Tic-Tac-Toe is not to play since perfect strategy always produces a tie.
- [The comic comprises two large square maps, each divided into nine sections, some of which are further subdivided in the same way. The subdivisions continue down for up to five levels, and the lower map has more tiny diagrams than the upper. The smallest divisions at every scale are completed tic-tac-toe games.]
- Complete map of optimal Tic-Tac-Toe moves
- Your move is given by the position of the largest red symbol on the grid. When your opponent picks a move, zoom in on the region of the grid where they went. Repeat.
- Map for X:
- [The first square map.]
add a comment!
- Map for O:
- [The second square map.]
This is all wrong. The second move for X, unless O blocked it already, or started off in the centre should be the lower right corner. That way, O will use the centre to block, and then X goes in a third corner, thus sealing the game.184.108.40.206 04:59, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
- Can you tell which situation you mean? If X starts at 7 and O does not go to 5, then X forces a win with the described tactic. There might be other ways to win, but I don't think that matters. --Chtz (talk) 09:11, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
- Playing as X, you start in the upper left corner. O plays in any square other than the lower right corner (They might be able to block if they play the centre, depending on whether they anticipate this move). Then, when O blocks the centre, you play the upper right or lower left corner, depending on where O has played before, thus making it impossible to block because they only get one move. The only time this ever fails is when O knows what X is doing after the first move.220.127.116.11 19:57, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
- If it goes X7, O5, X3, then O must play anywhere but in a corner next (result is symmetric) X has to block and O can hold a draw. Just see the Map for O part. --Chtz (talk) 21:40, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
- I don't know the numbers for the squares. There are only nine of them. Could we just refer to them by their positions relative to the rest of the board?18.104.22.168 21:44, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
There is an error in the drawing when starting with (numpad coordinates) X7, O9, X1, O4, X3: Both O5 and O6 have the same picture. --Chtz (talk) 09:11, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
Tic-Tac-Toe is just a stupid simple game, Randall jokes about that. As the title text says "...waiting for your opponent to make a mistake". And the picture is just a part of this joke.--Dgbrt (talk) 22:04, 23 July 2013 (UTC)
I just don't want to analyze both maps, but I had a college assignment that made me look into Tic Tac Toe strategy, and I think that the explanation should start with "Each map shows every possible combination of moves which will result in that side not losing.". 22.214.171.124 23:40, 14 January 2014 (UTC)
The quote from War Games is "The only way to win is not to play", and it refers to the game Global Thermonuclear War, not Tic-Tac-Toe (although that was played earlier in the movie). I don't think the title text was based on this quote, but is only coincidentally similar. 126.96.36.199 (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)