Connect Four was created in the 1970s by Milton Bradley and became popular before Hasbro acquired it.
The game may have originally been created with youth in mind, but it has continued to be a popular choice of game for youths and adults alike.
This may be shocking to some, who may consider the game less interesting than other options on the market.
Why Is Connect Four So Popular?
Perhaps one of the greatest reasons that the game continues to be popular is that it is so easy to learn and play, making it relatively accessible to most.
Despite the relative simplicity of the game, it also provides some of the first foundations of learning for young players outside of a classroom.
The game has the opportunity to bring together families and friends of all ages to join in on some friendly competition.
It also does not require significant concentration on the players, making it perfect for social settings such as breweries, bars, or family and friends events.
Another reason for the continued popularity is that there are multiple versions available, including outdoor sets and unique twists on the original.
1. It’s Easy To Play
The game does not involve a multi-page set of rules that require each player to study beforehand.
Rather, Connect Four may be one of the very few games that welcome all cognitive levels and skill sets to play together.
In addition to the relative ease of learning the rules, the game also has physical ease of access.
Some other games, like card games or more extensive board games, may require the player to hold on to a number of cards or manipulate a dice simultaneously.
Connect Four simply requires players to have the ability to physically grasp the playing pieces and move them into position above the vertical game board, dropping them into place.
This may make the game more attractive to players with a range of physical abilities that may normally inhibit them from playing other games.
2. Insider Tricks
It may appear that the game itself does not rely on any knowledge or forethought while playing, beyond matching the moves of your opponent.
However, some people believe that there are insider tricks that can be used to increase your chances of winning.
For example, the popular gaming blog Game Saver states that the player who begins the game has a higher chance of winning.
Game Saver also believes that if a player can gain control of the middle rack, or center of the game set, their chances of winning also increase.
The reasoning is that if one player dominates the center columns, they are able to make more connections more quickly than their opponent.
3. Educational Opportunities
Connect Four can provide young players with learning opportunities outside of the classroom, in a casual and stress-free environment.
The game provides players with experience in anticipating future moves, detecting patterns, and developing problem solving skills.
It also requires players to use mental math as they continuously tally up the number of discs on the board to ensure their opponent does not reach four in a row.
Lastly, it teaches the basics of horizontal, vertical, and diagonal problem solving.
The Reading Kingdom blog recommends the game for preschoolers in particular, who receive the benefits of learning about colors, numbers, and patterns in space.
These are all skills that are further developed in a child’s future elementary school experience.
The game also has the added desirability of being advantageous for youth who have a diagnosis of autism or other cognitive disorders.
Hands in Autism, an Interdisciplinary Training and Resource Center, even offers a free PDF template to successfully play the game with children who have been diagnosed with autism.
Connect Four is one of many educational games that can be used in the classroom to teach young children basic skills.
Other games include Go Fish, Uno, Chutes and Ladders, and more.
4. Family And Friend Connections
Related to its relatively easy directions, the game has the opportunity to bring together family members of all ages.
Grandparents are able to play together with their young grandchildren to enhance bonds across the generational gap.
It also provides grandparents and parents with the ability to feel like they are enhancing their child’s educational learning outside of the classroom in a fun and family-oriented environment.
Additionally, the game evens the playing field between the older and younger generation who may both have physical limitations that prevent them from playing a more elaborate game.
Individuals working towards goals of enhancing the physical strength and fine motor skills required to grasp the playing pieces have the opportunity to enjoy Connect Four together.
5. The Perfect Social Game
If you enjoy visiting breweries, you may have noticed that Connect Four has become a popular yard game for breweries to offer to visitors.
Additionally, some schools have even taken to utilizing online versions of the game to encourage competition and socialization between students.
After a long two weeks, we spent some time playing connect four and battling against our classmates to review common third grade routines and expectations! 🤗 #iginspires #RTSD26LifeReady pic.twitter.com/yxZtrhxVfs
— Miss Isaacson (@ShineinIsaacson) January 11, 2023
The game doesn’t require significant concentration, allowing for easy conversation throughout the playing time.
It can also be considered a game that tears down social barriers, as complete strangers in these settings often play together and form a new acquaintance (or even friendship) that they may never have gotten to experience otherwise.
Particularly, players who utilize online streaming platforms to play the game have the opportunity to meet and interact with other players across the world.
6. New Versions Of The Game
The small plastic game sets many are accustomed to using during their childhood are no longer the only version available.
Players now have the opportunity to purchase giant, lawn-sized versions of the game to play outdoors.
The giant size allows for a larger gathering of individuals to come together, without the restrictions of how many chairs can fit around a single table.
There are also opportunities online to customize your Connect Four game set, by selecting colors and materials of the game pieces.
Although it’s important to note that the more you customize your playing pieces, the more expensive the final product will be.
Additionally, the original game has experienced several unique upgrades which may make it more appealing to a wider audience.
For example, Connect4 Spin is a unique twist on the original and involves spinning entire columns in full rotations to increase the difficulty of play.
Connect4 Shot involves bouncing game pieces into the game board and is a much harder version of the game as it requires aim and precision to secure a space.
There are also versions of the game made specifically for those with eyesight impairments and who may utilize Braille.
These tactile versions of the game increase the accessibility over a wide variety of players and encourage equal opportunities.
7. Increased Prevalence Of Online Gaming
There are also online versions of Connect Four which have become more popular during the Coronavirus pandemic when individuals were staying at home for their safety.
In fact, Frontiers in Public Health conducted research on online gaming.
Researchers found that, among the individuals studied, 41% of boys and 23% of girls reported more frequent online gaming after lockdowns became more prevalent as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The results in the article support the researchers’ belief that decreased times of physical activity, such as during the pandemic when individuals remained indoors for extended periods, lead to increased passive activities like gaming.
Where Can I Buy Connect Four?
If the giant-sized Connect Four has captured your interest, you can find a wide variety of game sets online.
However, bigger does not always mean better, especially as it relates to our pocketbook.
The larger the game set, the more expensive the materials are.
If you are looking to purchase the lawn-sided game for a party or single-use occasion, it may be less desirable to spend more money on it.
To combat this, some companies have Connect Four available to rent.
Triangle Lawn Games offers an opportunity to rent the lawn-sized game of Connect Four alongside a variety of other outdoor games such as Jenga, Cornhole, and Putterball.
Retailers like Walmart and Target often carry the original version of the game within their stores.
Customers looking for a more unique version like Connect4 Spin may need to rely on online sources like Amazon to find what piques their interest.
Beyond the game boards available at retailers for players, some individuals have taken it one step further and created their own Connect Four masterpieces.
This pastry chef created a Connect Four set using chocolate and cookies, making it so realistic that individuals may not realize what they are seeing is an edible version of the game.
The chef uses high-tech machinery to craft the game board out of blue chocolate and the round playing pieces contain a lemon ganache and vanilla lemon sable.
The creator’s Instagram page claims the creation is fully functional for gameplay, with a sweet treat for players at the end.
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