Tic Tac K.O. - Rules of Play

From Unstable Games Wiki


Forget everything you thought you knew about Tic Tac Toe! Okay, now remember a little bit of it. Tic Tac K.O. is a 2-4 player game in which players vie for control of a Grid by playing Character cards and fulfilling Objectives. The first team to complete 3 Objectives wins the game!


  • Dragon deck (40 cards)
  • Unicorn deck (40 cards)
  • Objective deck (12 cards)
  • 1 Grid


Divide players into two equal teams. If you have 3 players, you'll find a modification at the end of these rules.

Next, each team selects a Character deck. The team with the youngest player chooses their deck first.

Teammates should sit next to each other, and the other team should sit across from them. Unfold the Grid and place it in the center of the table. In Standard gameplay, use the 3 by 3 Grid with spaces marked 1-9. In Advanced gameplay, expand the Grid to 4 by 4 by using the spaces marked A-G.

Each team shuffles their team's deck and places it facedown in front of them. Each player draws 5 cards from their team's deck. Leave space next to your team's deck for a discard pile.

Next, shuffle the Objective deck and place it to the side of the Grid, where both teams can reach it.

Each team must take an Objective card in secret and place it in front of them— you and your teammate may look at your Objective card, but make sure the opposing team does not see it. In Standard gameplay, look only at the numbered spaces on your Objective card corresponding to the 3 by 3 Grid; these represent the spaces you need to claim on the Grid in order to complete an Objective. If you want to play the Advanced version, you must claim both the lettered and numbered spaces marked on your Objective card to complete an Objective.

The team who chose their deck second starts the game, and the player on that team who last took out the trash goes first. The opponent sitting across from that player goes second. Continue alternating teams until the remaining players have gone, and then repeat this order for the rest of the game.

Now you're ready to play Tic Tac K.O.!



Your turn consists of two phases:

  • Draw phase: Draw a card from the top of your team's deck and add it to your hand.
  • Action phase: Play a Character or Magic card from your hand. If you cannot or do not want to play a card, you may draw a second card instead.

At the end of each turn, either team may reveal an Objective card if they have successfully completed its Objective on the Grid. That team keeps the Objective card face up in front of them to keep track of completed Objectives. When you complete an Objective by claiming the required spaces on the Grid, clear those spaces by moving the corresponding Character cards from the Grid to your team's discard pile. After your team completes an Objective, take a new Objective card (and don't let the other team see it!)



The Grid is where you will play cards to complete Objectives. The spaces numbered 1-9 are for Standard gameplay. The spaces marked with the letters A-G are for Advanced gameplay and can be ignored for Standard gameplay. Each Objective card includes an Objective for Standard gameplay (the numbered spaces only) and one for Advanced gameplay (both the numbered and lettered spaces.)



Tic Tac K.O. includes four types of cards:

CHARACTER CARDS are cards that you play to claim spaces on the Grid. These cards count toward your Objective. There are two types of Character cards:

  • TTKO-Cards-Uni-03.png Basic Character cards are used to claim spaces on the Grid, but they do not have special effects. The Dragon deck includes Basic Dragon cards, and the Unicorn deck includes Basic Unicorn cards.
  • TTKO-Cards-Drag-05.png Special Character cards are used to claim spaces on the Grid, and they also have effects. Some effects are ongoing, meaning that their effects are active as long as they are on the Grid. Other effects are used just once, as soon as the Special Character card enters the Grid. The Dragon deck includes Special Dragon cards, and the Unicorn deck includes Special Unicorn cards
  • TTKO-Cards-Drag-16.png MAGIC CARDS feature one-time use effects. Magic cards may allow you to DESTROY, SWAP, or DISPLACE cards on the Grid to give you an edge or help you complete an Objective. After you play a Magic card, immediately move it to your team's discard pile.
  • TTKO-Cards-Uni-20.png INSTANT CARDS disrupt another player's actions. They can be played immediately when their conditions are met, even on another player's turn. Any number of Instant cards can be played during a single turn.
  • TTKO-Cards-Obj-06.png OBJECTIVE CARDS highlight which spaces on the Grid your team needs to claim to complete an Objective.


The first team to complete 3 Objectives wins the game! But beware: if your deck runs out of cards, your team loses the game immediately.


  • Adjacent: Only Grid spaces that are next to each other in any cardinal (up, down, left, or right) direction count as adjacent. Diagonally touching spaces are not considered adjacent.
  • DRAW: Add the top card in your team's deck to your hand.
  • DISCARD: Move a card from your hand to your team's discard pile.
  • DESTROY: Move a card on the Grid that belongs to the opposing team to that team's discard pile.
  • DISPLACE: Move a card to an open space on the Grid.
  • SWAP: Switch the positions of two cards on the Grid.
  • SACRIFICE: Move one of your team's cards from the Grid to your discard pile.


If there are no empty spaces on the Grid at the start of your turn, and you cannot or do not want to play a card, the game is Gridlocked. Each player has one turn to attempt to resolve the Gridlock by playing cards. If Gridlock has not been resolved after all players have taken a turn, each team must SACRIFICE all of their Special Character cards.


If you are playing with two players, make the following modifications to gameplay:

  • Each player starts by taking a team deck.
  • At the beginning of the game, each player draws 6 cards instead of 5.
  • During your action phase, you may play 1 Character card or up to 2 Magic cards. If you cannot or do not want to play a card, you may still draw a card instead.


If you are playing with three players, make the following modifications to gameplay:

  • One team will have two players while the other has one.
  • The solo player will take a turn in between each of the other two players’ turns.
  • At the beginning of the game, the solo player should draw 7 cards instead of 5. The other two players should still draw only 5 cards.