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Connect 4 : A great game for children

Another abstract game. Yes this time, it's Connect 4. This game works well with children. Connect Four is a two player strategy game. Each player can choose a color and take turns dropping those coloured discs into the vertical grid. This grid is a 6x7 suspended grid which can hold 42 discs. 

The disc falls straight down occupying the lowest available grid. The objective of this game is to be the first person to form a line of four of one's own coloured discs either vertical, horizontal or diagonal lines. The first player can ideally win by playing the right moves. What if the board fills up before either player gets a four in a row, then the game will be declared a draw.

During the lockdown, my interest in board games had increased magnifold, and I felt like a kid or more like a teenager. It's a very simple game with many tactical solutions which even allows you to force the opponent to make the moves that you wish, ultimately winning the game. One such simple method is to count the grids where the next move can happen, i.e. the holes which the opponent would settle their disc. Most of the time you will get enough information to plan and play ahead of your opponent. 

Even though the game is very simple, it's addictive and great to introduce to children. The rules are simple and easy, and kids can learn and enjoy the game very easily . The game is fast to play and it may take just 10 minutes maximum to finish a single game. Kids can play several games in a row to try different strategies and moves and they would learn visualizing the winning moves even before they have made the moves. 

During the course of game play, skills the kids would acquire are very critical.

  1. Visualize the winning situations : The aim of the game is just to get four discs in a row ( vertical / horizontal / diagonal ). That means, you could even win within the first four moves. However, there is a potential opponent who will block you at the third move, so you would start visualizing the moves up ahead and make the opponents make the moves which helps you. For example, to create a strategy which helps in building a four in a row diagonal winning by building the three columns with the help of the opponent to make that diagonal winning move. 
  2. Opponents Threats : Kids below 5 would struggle, they will be more focused on dropping the discs into the slot. However, older kids would learn from different wins and losses, on how quick they could understand the opponent moves and block them from winning which in turn lets them win the game. Winning will depend on the skills they attain while playing. The more difficult the opponent, kids can sharpen their skills. 
  3. Bright forced moves : Kids would play like double sided swords, they would create a two way line, i.e. a pattern with three discs with open grids on each side. In such scenarios it doesn't matter where or how the opponent places the disc. They already won the game. Even if you block on one side, they have the other side which is open for them to win. It's a forced win. Mastermind kids would definitely outrun you. 

Should I buy ? The answer is definitely 'yes'. We recommend this game for everyone, be it a young kid or for the complete family. The game is so simple and easy to set up, kids would play it even without adult supervision. It may look very simple but it's a great gift for your kids. This game can be used to enforce relationship between kids and parents. 

It's a keeper.


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