Xuanshuo Zhang: Rubric Tic Tac Toe (Appropriation project)

by | Oct 23, 2021 | Artwork #2: Appropriate

Xuanshuo Zhang

Appropriation game


Note: for convenience’s sake, the coordinates of a face are represented by numbers as below

1             2             3

4             5             6

7             8             9


Rules: Two players are needed for the game. The players play rock, paper, scissors to decide who goes first. The game runs similar to tic tac toe. The first player can choose to put their piece any place on the cube. Then, the cube rotates depends on where the player places the piece. If it is a corner of a face (1,3,7,9), the corresponding column of the cube gets rotated up if it is on top and down if it is at bottom (up 1,4,7 for 1), and then the row where the piece lands on gets rotated left if it is on the left side and right if it is on the right side (left 1,2,3 for 1). If it is placed on one of the blocks connecting to the center piece, that row or column gets rotated depends on to what position that block is to the middle piece (left for 4, top for 2, etc.). A face is won if before or after the rotation there are 3 connecting pieces on any face. The color of the face is decided by the center piece. For example, if player 1 gets 3 in a row with pieces on position 3, 6, and 9, and the center piece of the face is yellow, player 1 won the yellow face. Rotating a 3 in a row with the center piece would not win another face because the center piece is the same. If a 3 in a row that does not include the center piece is rotated, it would not score the player another face until the 3 in a row is disconnected at least once. After the rotation and checking for scoring, the other player takes their turn. They can only play a piece on the face that the first player’s piece lands on after the rotation(s). If it lands on a face that is won by any player, instead of having to play on that face, the player can choose to play on any face instead. The first player to win 3 faces wins the game. If there is a tie, the player who scored the first face wins. If both players scored the first and second face respectively during the same turn (after rotation(s)), the player that made the last movement wins.

Artist statement: I decided to do my appropriation game as a game combining tic tac toe and a rubrics cube. I really like ultimate tic tac toe (3 x 3 tic tac toe games in a 9 x 9 board, each move in a certain tic tac toe game determines where the next move will go) as a game, and I think it features some key aspects like strategy that is massively different from the original game. I came up with the idea because I wanted to make a strategy game featuring the base mechanics of tic tac toe. I really liked the idea of white chess, which is to make a game that is already complicated into something that is playable, but extremely difficult to play. For my appropriation project I wanted to make tic tac toe, a game that is known for being extremely simple, predictable, and unwinnable if both players use the optimal strategy, into something that is complicated, playable but extremely complicated. I decided to use a rubrics cube, because putting the 2D game into a 3D space would make it more complicated, and the rotational mechanics would make the game much more complicated and would potentially cause more confusion because pieces move, and one player’s move can potentially set themselves back and score their opponent a face. However, the game becomes really difficult to run, and there are quite a few issues to make the game balanced (in terms of people trying to score 3 in a row with the same 3 blocks). I decided to use stickers so that the pieces can be tracked easier as well, and they are easily removable and not expensive so the game can be run repetitively without destroying the cube. After a few play tests, I added some specific rules so that the game would not cause nearly as much confusion and much more playable. I think I reached my goal in a way that my game is runnable and playable, but is extremely complicated both to play and to win.