Story of four in a row (match 4) (2023)

Four in a Row, better known as "Connect 4" or Captain's Mistress by Hasbro MB Games, is a ubiquitous yet simple strategy game where tiles are dropped vertically by shooting to arrange four tiles in a row horizontally, vertically or diagonally .

Match-4-Spiele – Connect 4™ i The Captain's Lover

It is not entirely clear when the first match-four game appeared.Story of four in a row (match 4) (1)

This is Robbie Bell's Four Balls game which he dated back to the early 20th century.

The earliest purported origin is the legend of the early explorer Captain Cook. It is said that Captain Cook spent so much time in his cabin and playing games with fellow travelers, naturalist Joseph Banks and botanist Daniel Solander, during his voyages that she became known as the captain's mistress. The author spent some time researching the veracity of this statement, but found no evidence that it was true.

In Robbie Bell's book, there is an illustration of a back-to-back four-player game he calls "The Four Ball". It is a high-quality wooden game made of mahogany with balls made of beech wood, thanks to which the elements fall into the wooden grooves. Bell says the game's date is uncertain, but gives it as an Edwardian date. 1901 - 1910 "Remy Martin Cognac" is written on the bottom of the packaging in gold letters. The author found an advertisement for a Remy Martin Cognac plate from the 1970s and although it is associated with R.C. Bell, the chief gaming historian, disagrees, in this case it seems unlikely that the game dates back to the early 20th century. and it's more likely to come out a few years after Connect 4 was first released... So the story was completely made up; This is just a fiction to sell, or whether there is a grain of truth to it yet to be seen - email me if you come across any evidence...

Story of four in a row (match 4) (2) A Travel Captain's Mistress game by Nauticalia that was sold until 2010.

What is more certain is that Milton Bradley (now Hasbro) started selling his hugely successful version of the game, called Connect 4, in February 1974 (1976 in the UK).

Could this be an example of a game actually invented by a major gaming company? The pattern is usually where companies claim to have invented a game for years, only to find out later that they either copied another game or bought out the inventor. Jenga and Monopoly are perfect examples of this, but there are hundreds of others. In fact, it's almost a rule that companies never come up with anything original; They just connect game developers. But this may be the exception that proves the rule...

A giant version of Four in a Row called Mega 4 in a Line.Story of four in a row (match 4) (3)

In addition to Hasbro Connect 4, many modern gaming companies are making a version of Four in A Row, ranging from small, cheap plastic travel versions to larger, prettier wooden versions.

A turn-of-the-century trend was the creation of a Giant version of the party game - British company Garden Games launched a version called "Up For It" (previously called Giant Connect 4 before losing its license to Hasbro). A more durable competitive product of the Spanish company Feber is the so-calledMega 4 in a row- another colorful, sturdy version of the Giant's Four in a Row, which can be seen everywhere in garden centers, playgrounds, etc. There are also Giant wooden versions that look much more refined.

3D-Match four and 3D-Tic-tac-toeStory of four in a row (match 4) (4)

Earliest evidence of a 3D matching game - US patent by Theodore R. Duncan.

Stack Four in a Row is part of the entire Line Up family of games that has a long history. The basic new concept someone came up with was the idea of ​​dropping pieces instead of just placing them on the board. Another game that is clearly related to Connect 4 etc. is the 3D version of the game. It was first sold by Funtastic, which was copyrighted as the Score 4 until 1967, and yet there are plenty of replicas to this day - including the inevitable Hasbro version. However, the classic version of the game is made of wood and consists of a grid of 4x4 vertical posts protruding from the board. Players drop wooden beads onto the posts and a line of 4 beads can be formed in any direction.

A 3D match-four game called Score Four.Story of four in a row (match 4) (5)

But wait, I hear an Eagle reader screaming, 1967? Well, yes, this game seems to have come out before Connect 4 in the early 1970s. So if Connect 4 is the first appearance of the 2D version of the game, it's most likely inspired by the 3D rowing games that existed before.

But wait, there's more. The score of 4 was not the first match lost in a row. If you think about it, this is of course just an extension of the 3D match-three game - also known as 3D noughts and crosses. And now we may have finally found the true inventor of the drop/apply concept. There is a patent filed by one Theodore R. Duncan on August 6, 1946 that appears to be the earliest known evidence of a 3D drop/stack tic-tac-toe or any kind of drop/stack game.

Thus, the evolution of the drop and stack game seems to have been one of ebbs and flows of complexity. Starting with Theodore Duncan's 3D game Tic Tac Toe, it expanded to a 4×4 version of the game; This gave rise to the 2D drop four in a row version, which is currently the most popular game of its kind.

3D Match 4 & 3D Tic Tac toe (no solving)Story of four in a row (match 4) (6)

Qubic first edition, published 1946. Courtesy of "Herace".

In fact, the idea of ​​discarding or stacking is a simplification of the concept, as each player's options are reduced each turn. For example, other 3D Four-A-Row games have been produced where the game is played on four different levels of a 4 x 4 grid, initially allowing a maximum of 64 squares to be played, rather than being limited to 16 columns. The most famous examples of this are Qubic, which first created Duplicon in 1946, and Space Lines by Invicta Games, which appeared in the 1970s.

Interestingly, the Qubic box cites a 1943 patent that describes a 3x3x3 "in a row" 3D game, not the 4x4x4 game that Qubic actually was. There is a later patent for a 3D 4x4x4 game four in a row from 1952, but the game apparently existed in the form of Qubic six years earlier. One would wonder if it was a coincidence that the concepts of stacked and unstacked 3D shapes emerged two or three years apart…

Four more in a row

Masters Traditional Games offers a wide selectionPlay four in a rowincluding Giant Connect 4 iMega 4 in a row.

For more information on Connect 4, refer to James Dow Allen's relatively inexpensive book, The Complete Book of Connect 4: History, Strategy, Puzzles.

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