Training tips on new ways to use the Tic Tac Toe game show format

New Ways to Use A Game Show: Tic-Tac-Toe

Game shows are a flexible tool for trainers, and they can be used in a variety of ways. It's no surprise, then, that with a few modifications, a game show can provide a completely different game experience. Here is one of the most popular new ways to play the game show: Tic-Tac-Toe.
Tic-Tac-Toe as Hollywood Squares:
Tic-Tac-Toe and Hollywood Squares have essentially the same game objective: get three squares in a row by answering a question correctly. The major difference is that in Tic-Tac-Toe, contestants have to answer the questions themselves to win the square; in Hollywood Squares, the contestant only has to guess whether or not the "guest" (celebrity, expert, etc.) answered the question correctly.


Reasons to use the Hollywood Squares format:
Hollywood Squares has some advantages over a straight Tic-Tac-Toe game show:

  • It's a more "theatrical" game show, and works well as part of a large event.
  • It's perfect for difficult materia--where a trainer is not sure if contestants can come up with answers on-the-spot.
  • It gives organizations a chance to feature experts: the Product Development team, Executives, other Trainers and Subject Matter Experts, etc.


Modifying Tic-Tac-Toe:
Have the X team (who always goes first) select a square. Reveal the question associated with the square, and defer to the "expert" to answer the question. When the expert is finished answering, start the answer timer, and ask the team whether they agree or disagree with the answer that the expert has given.

If the expert's answer was correct and the contestant agrees with the answerthe contestant gets their mark in the square. If the expert is incorrect and the contestant disagrees with them, the contestant also takes the square. Conversely, if the expert is right or wrong and the contestant inappropriately agrees or disagrees with the answe--they do not get the square and the other team gets a chance to play.

Typically squares are only acquired through correct guesses, not by defaulting to an opposite team. Game play continues, with teams taking turns every question, until one team acquires three squares in a row (or until all the squares are used up--in which case the team with the most squares on the board wins).

Experts can also elaborate after a team guesses and the square is given/not given to clarify material, add additional content points, and elaborate on information.