Human Tic-Tac-Toe

Who didn’t play tic-tac-toe growing up? I remember many a class period, passing a scrap of paper back and forth after each “move” and trying not to get caught. Sorry, mom. We even elevated the game sometimes and made a giant tic-tac-toe board with mini games in each quadrant and you had to win the mini game in order to mark your symbol in the space. Big leagues, I know. :)

You can only imagine my delight when one of my Youth Team leaders showed us how to play a HUMAN VERSION of tic-tac-toe… let me tell you friends, this one is e.p.i.c.

human tic tac toe 2

For those of you who have kids in your ministry with an abundance of energy and competitive tendencies, this is the game for you. This game is super fun, fast paced, and yields maximum group involvement. I love games where no one is having to sit and wait to play for very long. Here’s how it works…


All you need are nine chairs and two teams (with at least three people on each team). We find it helpful to differentiate the teams using colored pinnies, but that’s optional. The pinnies definitely make things easier in the midst of the chaos.


Arrange the nine chairs in three rows of three, with enough space in between for people to run in, out, and around them. It should look like a big version of a tic-tac-toe board. Have teams line up either side of the “game board”, facing each other with the “board” separating them.

Human Tic Tac Toe 1

Assign each person (on both teams) a number… 1 through however many people are on each team. Much like the game “Steal the Bacon”, you will be calling out a series of numbers and the players from each team that have those numbers will be playing that round.


Decide how many points you will be playing to and that will be the number of rounds you play. For each round, shout out at least three numbers. The players on each team with those numbers will then race to sit themselves 3-in-a-row in the chairs in the middle. The first team to make 3-in-a-row wins the round! As it turns out, players will simultaneously be trying to make their row WHILE preventing the other team from creating theirs. Did I mention that this game is a good communication and team work exercise too? :)  The only rule is that you cannot move the chairs (ex. pull a chair over to yourself to sit in it) and your team may not make their 3-in-a-row in the three chairs closest to where their team is lined up.

Human Tic Tac Toe

And because I know that for some of us, visual examples are easier to understand, here is a quick mash up of a few times we’ve played this with our kiddos. Enjoy!

We have so much fun with this game… a modern twist on an old classic! I hope this quick how-to gives you a fun new idea to try out at your next youth group, retreat, or maybe even family reunion! Let us know how it goes if you try it… we’d love to hear about it. :) Happy Playing!


  1. Thanks for the game recommendations! We tried it with our kids last night. The junior highers really got into it! :)

  2. Thanks for the game recommendation. Our Junior Highers really got into it! :)

Comments are closed

  • Subscribe via Email...

    Get posts delivered directly to your email!