How to Play Connect Four (Rules and Instructions)

This guide will explain how to play Connect Four, including the Connect Four rules and everything you need to know to have fun playing Connect Four. 

Connect Four is a 2 player game in which players use discs to try to be the first to get four-in-a-row. It is simple and fast to play, so you can easily play multiple rounds with your friends and family. 

Connect Four is easy to learn and will leave you on your toes. 

This Connect Four rules guide will cover the following:

  • What is Connect Four?
  • History of Connect Four
  • What you’ll need to play Connect Four
  • Connect Four rules
  • How to play Connect Four (Video Tutorial)
  • FAQs

Continue reading to learn how to play Connect Four and the Connect Four rules. 

What is Connect Four?

Connect Four Board Game Info Image

Connect Four, also known as Four Up, Plot Four, and Four-in-a-Row is a two-player game where each player drops discs onto a grid to make a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal row of four discs of the same color. The grid has seven columns and six rows. Discs are dropped into the grid vertically. 

Each player then takes turns to drop their disc color into the grid to make four-in-a-row or stop their opponent from making four-in-a-row.

Number of Players: 2

Ages: 6+

Difficulty: Easy 

Length of Play: 5 Minutes

Similar to: Chinese Checkers | Memory Card Game | Tic-tac-toe | Zingo | Sequence

Main Objective: Be the first to get four-in-a-row

Why We Love It: This game is fast and easy. Multiple rounds can be played in a short amount of time. 

A Brief History of Connect Four

Versions of Connect Four have been dated back to the early 1900s, and several people patented similar games. However, Connect Four was officially licensed by Milton Bradley (now Hasbro) in 1974.

In October of 1988, a man named James Dow Allen officially solved Connect Four, meaning he found a way for the first player to win the game every single time if they follow the strategy that he found. Other people (and technologies) have also solved the game. 

Connect Four has been a very popular game and has been made into an electronic game, portable game, and even a giant game. Connect Four can be played online as well. Giant Connect Four is great as a lawn game, and the portal game is great for traveling.

What You’ll Need to Play Connect Four

Everything you need to play Connect Four is in the box, which contains the following components:

  • Grid
  • 2 Legs
  • Slider Bar
  • 21 Red Discs
  • 21 Yellow Discs
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Setting Up Connect Four

To set up Connect Four, follow these steps: 

  • The first time you play, you will need to disconnect the slider bar and the legs from the plastic. You can use a nail file to make the plastic parts smoother. 
  • Put the slider bar on the bottom of the grid. 
  • Slide the legs up each side of the grid.
  • Distribute the yellow discs to one player and the red discs to the other. 

Connect Four Rules

The Connect Four rules are incredibly easy to follow:

  • Decide who will go first. 
  • Player 1 drops a disc into any of the slots at the top of the grid. 
  • Player 2 drops a disc into any of the slots at the top of the grid. 
  • Players will alternate turns in this manner until someone gets four-in-a-row vertically, horizontally, or diagonally. 

How to Win Connect Four

The first player to get four of the same color discs in a row in any direction wins!

Other Connect Four Rules

  • Each player can only put one disc in at a time. 
  • The game ends if there is a four in a row or no other moves can be made. 
  • Each player should alternate who goes first each time they play. For example, the first player of the first game will go second during the second game. 

How to Play Connect Four- Video Tutorial

Connect Four Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a strategy to Connect Four?

Yes! One strategy people like to use is to start with the discs in the middle because that opens up different possibilities when considering how to make your next move. 

What age is Connect Four for? 

Connect Four is recommended for ages 6 and up. 

Where was Connect Four invented?

Connect Four was officially licensed by Milton Bradley. Milton Bradley was located in Springfield, Massachusetts. 

Alternative Games to Connect Four

Goblet Gobblers (see Gobblet Gobblers rules) is an excellent game that involves memory and, like Connect Four, is similar to tic-tac-toe. Goblet Gobblers is excellent for kids!

Checkers (refer to Checker rules) like Connect Four use two different colored tokens. Checkers, however, is more advanced and for older players. 

You might also want to try out other fun games like Pass the Pigs (see Pass the Pigs rules) or Othello (see Othello rules).

If you are looking for more fun games, be sure to check our guide for Marbles rules.

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Read all the articles (4) written by Sammy Bohannon