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Code legend as seen in the EPF Handbook

The Tic-Tac-Toe Code is a secret code used by the Penguin Secret Agency and Elite Penguin Force as a means of communication among agents. In this code, spaces in three grids correspond to one of twenty-six letters in the English alphabet. This code was primarily used in missions, but was also sometimes hidden in the Club Penguin Times, or other locations.

In PSA missions, a toggleable section in the bottom-right corner of the screen shows the code and a key to which letter each symbol corresponds to. In Club Penguin: Elite Penguin Force and its sequel, the Spy Gadget can be used to decode messages. The F.I.S.H. and EPF Handbook also display the key for this code.


The code is represented as three different 3×3 grids, each with the next nine letters of the English alphabet. The letters in each grid occupy all nine cells by their order, from left to right and top to bottom, starting at the upper-left corner. Each cell has borders with the surrounding cells (up, down, left and right), and the Tic-Tac-Toe Code version of a letter is based on which sides of the cells have a neighbor. Finally, each letter is given a symbol in the middle. The first grid (A to I) has no symbol, the second (J to R) uses an "X", and the third (S to Z plus one extra) uses an "O".

Because there are twenty-six letters in the English alphabet but twenty-seven spaces in three grids of such size, there is one extra symbol. This symbol is used as The Director's signature.

Secret Code


The Tic-Tac-Toe Code was created by Screenhog to prepare players for then-upcoming missions, as well as a means to add content to The F.I.S.H., which only served as a catalog for spy gear at the time. This was also fuelled by Screenhog's enjoyment of word games and puzzles.[1]

The code was made with various rules in mind: to be simple enough for young players to understand, to not be a letter substitution code (A=B, B=C, etc) or a number substitution code (A=1, B=2, etc) (both code variants were also thought to potentially be too difficult to understand), and also be simple enough for players to use to send notes in their class in real-life.[2]

A code named the pigpen cipher, seen by Screenhog in a book he bought as a child named Codes & Secret Writing, was used as inspiration. However, due to the code's association with supposed secret societies and conspiracies, it was not directly used. But because Screenhog thought the code resembled Tic Tac Toe, the code was modified to resemble a Tic Tac Toe board.[3]

However, there was an extra twenty-seventh symbol leftover because of this. Screenhog thought about what this symbol could be for, and eventually thought of it being the signature for a potential secret agent director. Screenhog realized that because this symbol was after Z, it could be thought of as being "AA". This, among other reasons, led to Aunt Arctic eventually becoming the secret agent director.[4]

Appearances in Club Penguin[]

  • On the bottom left hand corner of the Clock Tower at the Snow Forts, there was a code that said "By G." - this reveals that Gary the Gadget Guy built the Clock Tower.
  • On the paycheck players receive for being an EPF agent it says "Elite Penguin Force" on the bottom left, and on the top, there's a hidden message, that when rolled over and decoded says "From the office of the Director".


  • It is a variation on the real-life pigpen cipher- a code that was developed in the 18th century.
  • The Tic-Tac-Toe Code is occasionally used on the Spanish and Portuguese versions of the What's New Blog, as part of challenges, where the first players to decode it successfully receive coins.
  • Despite being called a code, the Tic-Tac-Toe code is actually technically a cipher.