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Three-dimensional tic-tac-toe -- win with four in a row.
I bought this when my kids were 4 and 6 years old--they are now both teenagers--and the game is still played. I consider that an outstanding value. This game also has incredible universal appeal--I have seen it everywhere from children's classrooms to campground lodges to nursing homes. To me, that is another indication of excellence.
From a game and logic standpoint, it is a wonderful way to introduce children to strategy and thinking games. My kids progressed from this to Set, to Quarto, Master Mind and other strategy games. I would definitely recommend it for every family.
Connect Four is a two-player vertical checker game and is a distant cousin to tic-tac-toe. Players alternate dropping their own checkers down one of seven columns or 'chutes.' The object is to get four (or more) of your checkers in a row, either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.
Although marketed as a game for kids, there is a surprising amount of depth to Connect Four that even adults can appreciate. It almost goes without saying there is no luck involved. If you're losing most of your games, you're not a victim of bad luck, you're being outplayed. If all of the columns are filled up but one, and you're forced to place your checker in the remaining column, resulting in a lost game, your skillful opponent probably planned it this way, many moves earlier.
Draws are certainly possible, although even between two experienced players they are actually quite rare.
Connect Four is a great game for kids. It forces them to think carefully through the consequences of what both players are attempting to do. As they become more experienced they begin to look further ahead than just the next turn or two.
Although the colorful board and pieces are visually attractive, I think it's time the components were redesigned. If you're not careful (and sometimes even when you are), the bottom safety bar that holds the checkers in place often gives way, resulting in a lost game when all the checkers immediately come tumbling out (unless you're a nut like me and you record the moves of your games).
In 1987, both Victor Allis and James Dow Allen almost simultaneously (and separately) solved the game of Connect Four. On the standard seven column six row board, using a computer they both discovered the game is won by the first player. When I read this, my fascination for this game actually increased, since in most of my games I seem to have an easier time winning when I go second! I still enjoy playing Connect Four even after knowing it's solved. Not all of the winning moves are intuitive, and in some lines, many look downright ugly. If I lose or draw going first I'm anxious to find out where I went wrong. A computer may be able to play perfectly, but we humans still cannot!
My recommendation to Milton Bradley/Hasbro might be this: upgrade the components to something a little nicer and increase the board size to something else... maybe 8 x 8. (Deluxe Connect Four!) But then again, if they did this they'd be messing around with a modern-day classic, which is what Connect Four is. Four stars.
I'm sorry, but I don't think diversity in the places you find a game make it good (as a previous review implies). Connect Four is a dull game just like its father, Checkers.
We do have this game in a travel version which is about the only time I can tolerate it. If I'm already sitting, and doing nothing, I guess playing Connect Four is more fun (barely).
The strategy is not that deep or involved, and I have beat experienced players despite the fact that I rarely play.
Connect Four is a good intro game for children, but aside from that it's not good for much else.