Connect Four: What You Need to Know to Play the Game

Before there were gadgets, board games were the preferred form of entertainment for a lot of people. And for those who love a good game of abstract strategy, Connect Four was a huge hit.

Also known as Captain’s Mistress, Plot Four and Four in a Row, this game designed by Ned Strongin and Howard Wexler were released by Milton Bradley in 1974 and it continues to be a favorite up to this day.

The gameplay

The objective of Connect Four is pretty straightforward: whoever is the first to form a diagonal, horizontal or vertical line of four of the same colors wins the game.

This means that each player needs to make the right moves and implement proper strategies to connect four checkers in a row while preventing the opponent from doing the same.

This two-player game is highly enjoyable and exhilarating, which is why it’s still enjoyed by a lot of people today.

The rules

The Connect Four board game comes with a grid, two ends supports and 21 each of red and black checkers. The rules of the game are simple:

  • Each player will be given 21 checkers to use during the game. Whoever chooses the black checkers will get to drop a checker wherever he likes. The red follows after.
  • Each player should only drop one checker piece at a time. This will give you the opportunity to build a horizontal, diagonal or vertical row, or prevent your opponent from doing so.
  • The game ends when a player completes a row of four similar colored checkers or when all forty-two slots in the board have been filled up. This is considered a stalemate.

To clean the board after the game, you simply need to switch a slide to drop all the pieces out of the board and catch them with a box underneath. Then, you can start the game all over again for more fun.

The tricks

Although the rules of Connect Four are pretty easy to learn, a lot of those who tried playing the game admit that mastering it may take some time. But here are some tricks that might just help you win the game:

Always stay in the middle. One of the surest ways to gain early control of the game is to stay in the middle. This is because any four connecting checkers that’s not vertical would require one checker to be from the center column.

So, if you want to give your opponent a hard time getting a connect-four, you have to take control of that middle column.

Take note of your opponent’s moves. Just like other strategy games, you have to keep an eye on your opponent’s every move. This will give you an idea about his strategy, which will make it easier for you to prevent him from winning.

Think ahead. One of the most important strategies for winning Connect Four is to always think ahead or you’ll be left behind by your opponent.

The trick here is to never let your opponent get three checkers in a row. Once he has two checkers in place, place your defense immediately or risk giving him the opportunity to win.

Go for the magic 7. If you want to win fast, you have to get two possible connect-fours in place with the final checker on two spaces that are on top of each other.

To do this, you have to form the magic “7” with your checkers so that your opponent will have a hard time blocking you. If he does, you can play on top to win in the next space available.

The magic “7” formation allows you to finish either horizontally or diagonally on the right with two spaces on top of each other.

Since it was released almost 50 years ago, Connect Four has enjoyed success as one of the best board games anywhere in the world. Through proper strategy and a good eye, you’ll surely get the best chances at winning this simple yet very tricky game.

If you don’t get lucky, you know that you’ll have the best time with whomever you’re playing this amazing game with.