Number of Players: 2
Year of Publication: 1974
Creator(s): Milton Bradley designers, artists etc are uncredited.
The simplest and yet often the most frustrating of games!
Connect 4 is a popular game played most often by children of primary school age (7-11). It has a very simple your-turn-my-turn game play and can be quite frustrating if your opponent keeps winning.
What’s In The Box:
- 1 Fold-out game grid
- 21 yellow and red counters
Playing The Game:
Objective: To create a line of four of your counters either horizontally, vertically or diagonally, before your opponent.
This game is incredibly simple in its original form. The yellow player takes the first turn, and places one of their counters into the top of any column on the grid, this then falls to the bottom, taking a position on the lowest line on the grid. The red player then follows suit.
The game continues in this manner, with players each dropping counters into whichever column they like, until either one player has succeeded in creating a line of four, or both players have run out of counters.
Winning The Game!
Winning the game is simple, and would look like this:
This game is one of a group of games that can always be won by the first player, provided they play correctly. Strategically the best starting position for the first player is the central column, as from there they can choose to play on either side of grid whilst knowing that they’ll be connected to their other counters. I generally play to block off my opponent at every turn, whilst simultaneously trying to create a position in which I can create two lines of four, meaning that my opponent, at that point, cannot stop me from winning.
History and Interesting Things:
- The game was first sold under this name by Milton Bradley in February of 1974, but is also known by these names: Captain’s Mistress, Four Up, Plot Four, Find Four, Four in a Row, Four in a Line and Gravitaps (Soviet Union)
- The game is a Solved game, meaning that its outcome can be correctly predicted from any position, assuming that both player play perfectly.
- The game has been mathematically solved by several different people, the first of whom was James Dow Allen on October 1st, 1988.
- There are several different variations of the game; Pop Out, Pop 10, 5-in-a-Row and Power Up. They can be read about in more detail here.
- Hasbro produces various sized outdoor versions of the game, the largest of which is built from weather-resistant wood, and measures 120cm in width and height.
- A rumor that the game was created by David Bowie was started by NME broadcaster and reporter Stuart Maconie which then became an urban myth.
- Another version of the game, Connect 4 Twist & Turn was published by Winning Moves in 2015. This version features a game tower instead of a grid, with five rings that twist independently. The objective, to create a row of four of your colour disc, is the same, however as a player can choose to twist a ring after they’ve played a disc a new level of strategy is added to the game.
Look at that! I managed to find quite a few interesting things about this game!
This game is great, as a child I loved it (and am still good at it). I rated it 4.5 instead of 5 because of the problem where the first player can always win. Although there’s not much that can be done about it in the original form of the game it doesn’t still make the game technically unfair. Aside from that though, I have nothing to complain about, the game is great for kids as it makes them think a little tactically, plus, it’s simple enough that it can be learnt in a few minutes. I’d say that this a game to have in the house if you’ve got children, especially as it’s easy to tidy up due to not having lots of tiny pieces.