Sunday, February 26, 2012

Tic Tac Toe with no starting grid

In our family, we've invented two ways to make Tic Tac Toe a bit more rich. The first one we invented more recently: Tic Tac Toe with no starting grid.

The first player puts an x somewhere on the page with lots of space around it. The second player has the first real decision: she can play an o anywhere within two squares of the x. In general, you can play anywhere that would leave all the marks within a three-by-three grid, i.e. that would leave a legal tic tac toe board. Three in a row wins, as usual.

There are more real choices than basic Tic Tac Toe, which makes this more fun, esp. if (as most of us have) you've already got Tic Tac Toe figured out.

Coming up next, Pay to Play Tic Tac Toe.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Covering the alphabet with states.

Lola and I were listing states by initial letter (turns out "M" wins at 8), and I was disappointed at how poor our coverage of the alphabet was. I thought we could maybe annex Canada to add a Q state, but turns out Mexico is much more helpful. It not only gives us a Q (Querétaro and Quintana Roo), it also covers B (Baja California and Baja California Sur), J (Jalisco), Y (Yucatán), and Z (Zacatecas).

The only holes left are E and X. We could admit El Salvador as a state, but we couldn't find any states or provinces in the Americas starting with X. Well, it turns out that that the Yucatan has lots of X locations, including one of its "municipalities".

So here's the simple plan for complete alphabetic coverage: we annex Mexico and keep all the states the same except Yucatan, which we divide up into three states: Espita, Xocchel, and Yaxcabá. Lola even prepared a map of the three new states!

Interesting trivia: Mexico is the only country besides the US of A which currently calls itself "United States of X".