In 3D Tic-Tac-Toe, there are 3 2D planes, each 3x3 in size, stacked on top of each other. A winning line can go through each of the layers (in addition to the standard winning lines of normal Tic-Tac-Toe). If two players are playing with the standard rules, how could they achieve a tie?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ we only consider only 3 2S layers like seperate ttt or need to think it is actually 3D ttt with all possible 2d layers? $\endgroup$
    – Oray
    Aug 27, 2018 at 4:07
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Can you confirm if any three-in-a-row wins or just in-layer and straight-down ones? $\endgroup$ Aug 27, 2018 at 6:54
  • $\begingroup$ This is not possible. If it is, could you please give a hint? $\endgroup$
    – user44188
    Aug 27, 2018 at 10:40

1 Answer 1


It is not possible.

There are only 3 essentially different ways have a filled a layer without three in a row:

  X O X    O X X    O X O
  X X O    X O O    X O X 
  O X O    X O X    X O X
Each of these can of course be rotated/reflected, or have O and X interchanged. It is not possible to have 6 pieces of one player and 3 of the other without a winning line.

Count how many rows/column in these patterns alternate (i.e. are XOX or OXO). All three filling patterns have exactly two such rows/columns on the outside, and only the third pattern has an additional alternating row/column in the middle.

If you fill the middle layer of the cube, the middle row of two of the faces on the side of the cube are alternating. This forces those two side faces of the cube to use the third filling pattern. Those two faces can be opposite or adjacent, but either way it leads to problems. In both cases it makes two edges of the top and bottom layers alternating, which means the other two edges in each of those layers are not alternating. The other two side faces of the cube then have at least 3 or 4 edges that are not alternating, and so cannot be filled with one of the patterns.

Therefore it is impossible to fill the cube without having 3 in a row.

  • $\begingroup$ This assumes that the players fill out each tic-tac-toe board one after another, but that wasn't specified. There can also be a layer with more Xs than Os if there is another layer with more Os than Xs $\endgroup$
    – b a
    Aug 27, 2018 at 9:43
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @ba No it doesn't. For a game to be a draw, the cube will be completely filled at the end of the game. I am just trying to find what that filled cube looks like. It also just happens to be the case that there is no filling pattern with 6X and 3O without a winning line, so they must all be 5X/4O or 4X/5O. $\endgroup$ Aug 27, 2018 at 9:51

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.