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The chalk game in Dying to Know you

Has anyone ever analyzed the game Nick and Schanke are playing while they wait for Denise Ford to finish her "investigation" in Dying to Know you?

While rewatching this episode, I took a closer look and froze the frame. When the scene starts, they have already 2 games completed and Schanke started on a third marking the centre position with a cross. Nick obviously has the circles.

We used to play this game in school when lessons were boring. If I recall correctly, both players take turns marking a box in a 3 x 3 square, while trying to achieve 3 marks in a row or diagonal.

I noticed that the 2 completed games both ended in a tie. What does that say about Nick and Schanke in this early stage of their partnership? The game is a strategy game. We know that Nick is well trained in these since we've seen him playing chess in addition to living in close proximity with a Roman General.

But what about Schanke? The fact that Nick didn't win shows that Schanke is at least as efficient in strategy games. As a detective he probably has to be. Yet, I find it amazing compared to Nick's experience. Or did Nick refrain from winning on purpose?

Any thoughts on the matter?


Tic-tac-toe is a famously easy game to tie. :-) In my opinion, no reasonably functional adult familiar with the game will lose unless he wants to... or is not paying any attention whatsoever.

(In the US, we call the markers "X"s and "O"s, like the letters of the alphabet, not "crosses" and "circles"/"naughts," so the question as to whether an "X" might somehow affect Nick like a Christian cross is not as immediately apparent to a US viewer. ~grin~)
"In the US, we call the markers "X"s and "O"s,"

In Canada, the game is actually called "X"s and "O"s.
It's definitely "crosses" and "circles" over here and the game is called "Three wins".
Interesting about the different wordings for the signs around the world while the game itself is known world-wide.
I think the German name is "Drei Gewinnt" (Three wins). Wikipedia says it goes back to the 12th century. So Nick might actually have played it in childhood.
Thanks for commenting.
>"Wikipedia says it goes back to the 12th century."

Interesting. :-) At the moment, the history subsection of the English Wikipedia entry does not mention the middle ages, but instead focuses on an early version called "Terni Lapilli" played widely in the Roman Empire, which you might find interesting for a Lacroix connection.
Interesting indeed!
According to game theory, it's always easy to force a draw in this game.