Connect 4 is a deceptively strategic tic-tac-toe game with one simple goal: create a line of four using the tokens of your color before your opponent does. The line can be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal.
However, what makes Connect 4 so challenging is the potential for players to ruin their own chances of winning. Your opponent can use your tokens to stack their own lines, break your lines, and even set up a winning strategy whose effects you’ll see ten turns from now.
If you want to be a master at Connect 4, below are a couple of strategies and tips you need to keep in mind.
Drop your first tokens in the middle column
The middle column is the most strategic position on a Connect 4 board. You can complete your rows from either side at any point in the game. In fact, if you get the first turn, dropping your token in the middle column will automatically block your opponent from making horizontal lines.
Look for a winning line midgame
The best way to win Connect 4 is to make sure that you have a winning strategy early on. If the board starts to fill up, it’s time for you to plan out which spaces will form your winning line. Then, start blocking the spaces that will allow you to eventually connect your winning line. If your winning line gets blocked, search for another one.
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By the way, it’s good practice never to play below your winning line (too much). You don’t want to sabotage your chances of success by allowing your opponent to eventually stack tokens on top of you and block your solution.
To successfully build your winning line, however, you need to make your opponent think that you’re looking to connect another line instead. So, aside from your winning line, you must also look for other potential four-in-a-row setups you’re not going to pursue and set traps seriously. Confuse your opponents by making it look like you’re looking to connect those lines instead of the winning solution you’ve had in mind from the beginning.
As long as you play the long game while being conscious of your opponents' moves, you’ll win most Connect 4 games you participate in.