Help for Nox - The n by n Noughts and Crosses Game


  1. Introduction
  2. Game Concept
  3. Starting the Program
  4. The Graphical Interface
  5. The Text Interface
  6. The Curses Interface
  7. General Points


This document gives details on how to use the nox game. This file is current as of nox-3r2. For details on changes between different versions see the changelist.

Game Concept

Nox is an expansion of Noughts and Crosses (that's Tic-Tac-Toe if you're from the wrong side of the atlantic). The concept is the same, starting with Noughts, two players, Noughts and Crosses, take it in turns to lay one of their pieces on one of the empty squares of the board. The game ends when one of them succeeds in forming a sequence (a straight line, which may be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal) of the required length with their pieces. In normal Noughts and Crosses the board is 3 by 3 and you need 3 in a line to win. If each side plays half way competantly it's a forced draw, which is a bit boring really. In nox you pick how big you want the board to be (it must still be square). Now if we asked for the longest sequence a board could hold (e.g. 10 in a line to win on a 10 by 10) then it would just be an even more boring draw than Noughts and Crosses normally, so the length required to win does increase with the size, but not as fast as the size. When you enter a size the computer will tell you how many you need in a row to win. On some interfaces (e.g. the graphical interface) you can set your own win length.

Starting the Program

Precisely how you run nox will depend on how you installed it. Details for the different installs are given in the Nox FAQ. If you have the compiled windows version then you will need to double click on the nox shortcut to get the graphical version of nox or on the TextNox shortcut to get the text version (fundamentally this is the same as for the source version, you just supply the switches to nox-3r2.exe instead of If you have the source version then you need to run python on The program will default to trying graphics, if that fails then it will switch to text. To see why it failed you can force graphics with the commandline argument '-g'. If you want text then use '-t'. So for example, if you wanted the text interface then under windows you would type at the command prompt python -t

The Graphical Interface

When you start the graphical interface you'll get a menu screen that looks something like this:

Well, if you can't do images you won't have much luck with the graphical interface anyhow ;-)

All the settings have been given sensible defaults but you need to put a size in (note that your cursor starts in this box). Simply punch in a number (e.g. 3) and hit enter. Then click okay to start (or adjust the other settings if you wish). The win box will get the default win length. It's probably best to stick to that, but if you feel like trying something different you can adjust it.
Once you're ready to begin just hit 'Okay'
The menu will be replaced with the game window which will look something like this:

Well, if you can't do images you won't have much luck with the graphical interface anyhow ;-)

If you have two humans playing then the moves are made with the same mouse, alternating (use the takeback button if there are any mistakes). Otherwise the computer player(s) will automatically move at the appropriate times.

The Text Interface

The text version is fairly simple. At the menu enter the size you want as an integer (e.g. 3 and hit enter. For the other options the question will have in brackets after each option a letter to denote it. Give the appropriate letter and hit enter (if you enter something else the program may try and guess, but will probably just end up asking again). Once in the game type 'help' and hit enter for a full list of the things you can do. This list is given below:

Hitting enter after each of these

The Curses Interface

At time of writing this is still in the pipeline. When finished it will work only on POSIX enviroments (read: not Windows, but all Unixs). I can't give you a precise finish date as one of my friends is working on it, not me. However, it does look very nice and is ideal for a command shell on a unix box. I'll get it up as soon as possible.

General Points

This document talks about 'interfaces' as a plural. This is because as of version 3.2 the program has a modular structure that lets you stick onto the program any interface that follows the appropriate standard. There are two interfaces I maintain, the graphical interface (which is what most of you will use, it's pretty and nice) and the text interface (which you should use on cut down applications that can't cope with the graphics, e.g. on a palmtop, or on platforms pygame hasn't been ported to). In addition to these there is a rather nifty curses interface presently in the pipeline. There may be other interfaces I don't know about.

On large boards and with the hard AI the computer may take a while to move.
The game will carry on until one side wins, or the game is a forced draw, unless you quit.
If you have any further questions of problems first try the Nox FAQ, if that fails you Email me.
Nox's home on the web is here hosted on Pinkstuff.
This program is released under a reasonably light license which essentially reads "No selling it to other people, you can only give it away free. Have fun."

Email me
Last modified: Sun Dec 29 22:19:10 GMT Standard Time 2002