Connect Four, also known as four-in-a-row or plot four, is a mathematical game that has been around for decades that can be played as a computer-based game but was originally developed as a board game. It has also been adapted into a giant backyard game that can be mounted outside, making it an exciting challenge for children and adults alike. It is played in a similar way to Tic-Tac-Toe but with the aim now being to get four of the same colors in a row.
How to Play Connect Four
You can start by setting up the game frame to play Connect Four, which comes as a 6×7 frame. It first needs to be assembled together. Once outdoors, the frame can be placed upright on the level ground. The game comes with two sets of discs or counters in two different colors, each for the two opponents in the game.
The counters can be separated by color and placed in boxes on either side of the main game board within reach of the players. The bottom of the frame needs to be temporarily sealed to prevent the counters from falling out once the game has started.
The game is normally played by two players who each start off with 21 counters each. The aim of the game is to be the first player to get four counters in a line, whether vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. What makes this game a fun challenge is that the corner four board is placed in an upright position, resulting in the discs inserted at the top of a column, all falling to the bottom rows. The discs cannot be displaced or rearranged, so the frame fills up from the bottom, going up.
Connect Four Rules
To play, the two opponents must take turns. A player drops one counter of their assigned color in whichever column they choose.
The game ends when all the game board slots are filled up. The winner is the first player to get four discs in a row. If none of the players get four discs in a row after completely filling up the frame, the result is a tie.
It is possible to lose or forfeit the game to your opponent if you get more than four counters in a row. Some the only option left for a player is to insert their disc in an opening that connects several of their colors together, ending up with a row of five or more.
Variations of Connect Four
The giant outdoor Connect Four game makes an exciting and competitive backyard game for all. Backyard games are normally flexible and lighthearted, so you can mix it up to include more people in each round by creating teams.
You can have several members in each team, though smaller groups of two to four players would work better for coordination among members.
Backyard games can be adjusted to suit the social occasion. You can get creative and get as many people involved in the fun.
Tips for Success
Try to look for opportunities to build up a line of four in any direction, either vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. As you look for opportunities to complete a winning line, keep an eye out for the other player’s pieces, and block any potential threats from the other player.
Another tip to gain an advantage over the other player is to avoid trying to get three discs in a row too quickly. Build up your game by trying to create at least two clusters of two of your discs in a line, potentially setting you up on the offensive and in a better position to win.
Furthermore, the disc that gives a player an increased chance of getting four-disc in a row are the ones in the middle columns, so it’s best to build up your game from the central columns rather than the side columns.
Giant Connect Four is an interactive and competitive game that can create hype at family events and gatherings. You can make the game area cozier and inviting by adding beanbags or stools for players to sit on. Adding some decorative pieces and outdoor lighting can make the game even more memorable with family and friends interchanging and playing the game into the night.