Game play of Connect Four
|Age range||7 and up|
Connect Four (also known as Captain's Mistress, Four Up, Plot Four, Find Four, Fourplay, Four in a Row and Four in a Line) is a two-player game in which the players first choose a color and then take turns dropping colored discs from the top into a seven-column, six-row vertically suspended grid. The pieces fall straight down, occupying the next available space within the column. The object of the game is to connect four of one's own discs of the same color next to each other vertically, horizontally, or diagonally before your opponent. There are many variations on the board size, the most commonly used being 7x6, followed by 8×7, 9×7 and 10×7. The game was first sold under the famous Connect Four trademark by Milton Bradley in February 1974.
Mathematical solution 
The game was solved mathematically by James D. Allen (October 1, 1988), and independently by Victor Allis (October 16, 1988). With perfect play, the first player can force a win by starting in the middle column. By starting in the two adjacent columns, the first player allows the second player to reach a draw; by starting with the four outer columns, the first player allows the second player to force a win.
Rule variations 
To win the game, the player must connect only four pieces together. In some variations of the game, a connect five is what is known as a bust. Although the object is to be able to successfully connect four pieces, the player loses if they are unable to limit the gameboard to only connecting four pieces.
Pop Out 
Pop Out starts the same as traditional gameplay, with an empty board and players alternating turns placing their own colored discs into the board. During each turn, a player can either add another disc from the top or, if one has any discs of his or her own color on the bottom row, remove (or "pop out") a disc of one's own color from the bottom. Popping a disc out from the bottom drops every disc above it down one space, changing their relationship with the rest of the board and changing the possibilities for a connection. The first player to connect four of their discs horizontally, vertically, or diagonally wins the game.
Pop 10 
Before play begins, Pop 10 is set up differently from the traditional game. Taking turns, each player places their opponent's color discs into the slots filling up only the bottom row, then moving on to the next row until it is filled and so forth until all rows have been filled.
Gameplay works by players taking turns removing a disc of one's own color through the bottom of the board. If the disc that was removed was part of a four-disc connection at the time of its removal, the player sets it aside out of play and immediately takes another turn. If it was not part of a "connect four", then it must be placed back on the board through a slot at the top into any open space and the turn ends, switching to the other player. The first player to set aside ten discs of his or her color wins the game.
Other versions 
|This section requires expansion. (December 2010)|
Hasbro also produce various sizes of Giant Connect Four, suitable for outdoor use. The largest is built from weather-resistant wood, and measures 120 cm in both width and height. Connect Four was released for the Microvision video game console in 1979, developed by Robert Hoffberg. It was also released for the Texas Instruments 99/4 computer the same year.
With the proliferation of mobile devices, Connect Four has regained popularity as a game that can be played quickly and against another person over an Internet connection. The most popular games run on one or both of the two main smartphone operating systems (iOS & Android). These include on-line leagues such as 'Construct 4 ONLINE', 'Touch4' and 'Fantastic 4 in a Row' as well as one-player games such as '4 in a Row' and '4!'. In late 2011, Baytek Games, an arcade games manufacturer in Wisconsin, started producing a "real-life", giant sized, coin operated arcade version of Connect 4, which started shipping in early 2012.
Giant Connect 4 is also produced under license in the UK by Garden Games Limited - http://www.gardengamesltd.co.uk/acatalog/519_Hasbro_Giant_Connect_4_by_Garden_Games_Limited.html The game was introduced to their range in 2006 and have been producing this 1.1m tall version of the game since. This truly giant version of the connect 4 game is suitable for indoor or outdoor use.
Popular culture 
- Broadcaster and writer Stuart Maconie—while working at the NME—started a rumour that Connect 4 was invented by David Bowie, which became an urban myth.
- On The Hub's game show Family Game Night, there is a game under the name "Connect 4 Basketball" in which teams use colored balls.
See also 
- "A City College Toy Story". CUNY Matters. City University of New York. Winter 2001.
- "Obituary: Ned Strongin". New York Times. April 18, 2011.
- "John's Connect Four Playground". Homepages. May 25, 2010.
- "Connect 4: Flash demo". Hasbro.com. July 15, 2008. Retrieved November 3, 2009.
- Thair, David (22 May 2009). "HIGNFY Guest interview: Stuart Maconie". Comedy Blog. BBC.
|Wikibooks has more on the topic of: Connect Four|
- Connect Four at BoardGameGeek
- Connect Four at MathWorld
- John Tromp's history of solutions
- Victor Allis's Master's Thesis containing the solution of the game