Game tree

The number of leaf nodes in the complete game tree is the number of possible different ways the game can be played. For example, the game tree for tic-tac-toe has 255,168 leaf nodes.

Two-person games can also be represented as and-or trees. For the first player to win a game, there must exist a winning move for all moves of the second player. This is represented in the and-or tree by using disjunction to represent the first player's alternative moves and using conjunction to represent all of the second player's moves.

The diagram shows a game tree for an arbitrary game, colored using the above algorithm.

It is usually possible to solve a game (in this technical sense of "solve") using only a subset of the game tree, since in many games a move need not be analyzed if there is another move that is better for the same player (for example alpha-beta pruning can be used in many deterministic games).