Forget everything you thought you knew about tic tac toe! Welcome to the latest card battle game from the creators of Unstable Unicorns, Here to Slay, and Happy Little Dinosaurs. In this diabolical twist on tic tac toe, you and your friends will divide into two teams to duke it out in the ultimate brawl!
Tic Tac K.O. is a 2-4 player game for ages 8 and up that takes roughly 30-60 minutes to play. Two teams—in this case, Team Dragon and Team Unicorn—fight for control of the Grid by playing Character cards to fulfill Objectives. You’ll smack your opponents to the side and ruthlessly claim spaces in your quest for victory. The first team to complete 3 Objectives wins!
Tic Tac K.O. contains two team decks of 40 cards each, a 12 card Objective deck, and 1 Grid. The Dragon deck features lovable characters like Book Wyrm, Sir Scales, and Chonk. The Unicorn deck features its own magical crew, including Angy, Spike, and Mare-O. But don’t be fooled by their punny and adorable names! These ruthless creatures won’t hesitate to destroy their opponents with fire, lightning, or a swift kick in the patoot.
To begin setting up the game, divide players into two equal teams. If you have 3 players, well too bad! Just kidding. If you have 3 players, one team will have two players and the other will have one. When the game starts, the person who is all alone will draw two extra cards, and they will take both turns for their team.
Next, decide who gets each Character deck. If everyone wants to be the Unicorns—trust us, we get it—the team with the youngest player gets to choose first. Place the Grid in the center of the table. All of your teammates will sit beside you, and your mortal enemies—er, opponents—sit on the other side of the Grid. In Standard gameplay, use the 3 by 3 Grid with spaces marked 1-9. For Advanced gameplay, expand the Grid to 4 by 4 by using the spaces marked A-G. (Think of the Grid as a Bingo card with a row of letters across the top and a numbered column going down the side.)
Next, shuffle your Character deck and place it face down in front of you, while your opponent does the same. When everything is shuffled, each player will draw 5 cards from their team’s Character deck. Leave space next to the deck for a discard pile. Then you will shuffle the Objective deck and place it to the side of the Grid, where both teams can reach it. To start a round, each team will 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 doesn’t see it! In Standard gameplay, you will look only at the numbered spaces on your Objective card corresponding to the 3 by 3 Grid; these are the spaces you will 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 the Objective.
Now, you can begin the battle! Your turn consists of two phases: the Draw phase and the Action phase. In the Draw phase, you’ll draw a card from the top of your team’s deck and add it to your hand. In the Action phase, you’ll play a Character or Magic card from your hand. If you can’t or don’t want to play a card, you may draw a second card instead.
At the end of each turn, either team can reveal an Objective card if they have claimed the necessary spaces on the Grid. After you reveal your Objective card, you will place it face up in front of you for the rest of the game. Then, you’ll clear the claimed spaces by moving the corresponding Character cards from the Grid to your team’s discard pile. Also, you get to take a new Objective card. Just make sure the other team doesn’t see it!
Now, let’s talk about the types of cards. There are four of ‘em! : Objective, Character, Magic, and Instant.
Objective cards highlight which spaces on the Grid your team needs to claim. The Standard Gameplay spaces are marked 1-9, and Advanced Gameplay spaces add spaces A-G.
Character cards—the cute lil’ dragons and unicorns—claim spaces on the Grid. They count toward your Objective, and there are two types: Basic and Special. Special Character cards have effects that can give you an edge over your opponent.
Magic cards have one-time effects, allowing you to destroy, swap, or displace cards on the Grid to screw over your opponent or help you complete an Objective. For example, if the Dragons play “Burning Breath,” they can destroy any card on the Grid! And the Unicorns can displace any Character card from the Grid with a “Tail Twister” card. After you play a Magic card, you will immediately move it to your team’s discard pile.
Instant cards are played immediately to stop another player’s actions. Any number of Instant cards can be played during a single turn. Take caution, because you never know what Instant card your opponent might have up their sleeve.
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.
You won’t have to wait long to engage in this magical battle! If you would like to spend this holiday season pitting Team Dragon against Team Unicorn with your Grandma or younger brother, we have some great news: Tic Tac K.O. will be available starting October 2021!
What is Unstable Games? We launched our first game, Unstable Unicorns, in 2017, and have been obsessed with making games ever since. All of our games are created by a team of in-house game developers and artists who pride themselves on making games that walk the line between adorable and diabolical. Keep an eye out for jokes and Easter eggs as you play, and you may find some delightful details.
While our games can be brutal and vicious, we actually create them to bring people together. After all, the strongest friendships begin with good old-fashioned power struggles during game night. Our games are created to be accessible and easy to learn for new players, but complex enough to keep seasoned veterans intrigued for years to come.