Connect 4 Rules – How To Play Connect 4 (The Right Way)

This article is for those who want to learn about connect 4 rules and how to play the game.

Connect 4 is a classic two-player strategy board game popular among kids and adults. The game is easy to play and anyone above 4 or 5 years old can play the game.

Only two players can play the game at the same time. it’s a competitive game so sometimes it takes a longer time to complete the game.

In the Box

2 end supports
21 yellow checkers
21 red checkers

Objective of the Game

To be the first player to Make 4 same color checkers in a row diagonally, horizontally or vertically.

Game setup

The game has many different variants, and the board is, slightly different design in every one of them, but basically, they all come with a grid and stands to hold the grid.

The grid stands come with end supports and hooks for both sides of the grid. After attaching the end support. Put the board on a flat surface.

Place the game board between you and your opponent.

There are two colors of checkers that come with connect 4. Red and yellow, choose with which colors you want to play and take all checkers of that color on your side. ( if for any reason you can’t decide the color. you can put one both colors checker in any container, then close your eyes and take one from the container).

Deciding who will play first matter but you can make a rule to alternate turns after making a move with a checker.   

Connect 4 Rule

The connect 4 game rules are pretty straightforward. The game name says it, what you have to do “connect four” to win the game. After choosing the color of your choice, you have to make a row of four checkers of the same color. The rows can be done vertically, horizontally or diagonally.

Each turn, the player will get the chance to drop and make the row of his checkers, but sometimes instead of making your row, the player has to stop another opponent from making his 4 checkers row by dropping your color checker in that place.  

The game ends when any players make four checkers of his color in a row, or when all the 42 slots are occupied, in that case, the game ends in a tie.

If you playing another round of game after ending in a tie and deciding who will play first.

usually, the loser plays first, but in that case, you can decide by tossing the coin.

After playing, the cleaning process is simple. the game board has a switch in the bottom, just slide it to make the checkers drop out of the board.

Tip; Before sliding the bottom switch, put your game box below the board to collect the checkers in one place.

Scoring and winning

The first player to make 4 checkers of the same color in a row, wins the round but It depends on you, how many rounds you wanted to play. If you have more time you can choose 10 rounds winner, will be the overall winner.

4 More Ways to play Connect 4

You can not play these 5 variations of the game with classic connect 4 board. You need a board that had options to pop out in the bottom and power checkers.

Below rules are only for those connect 4 player, who has different variants than the original classic variant of Connect 4.


Object – same as the original connect 4, making four same color checkers in a row.

The game stars the same as original connect 4, with an empty board and players taking turn dropping their colored checkers into the board. Except for one rule now players can either drop a checker from the top or remove a checker of there own color from the bottom.

Removing a bottom checker from the board can change the game in many ways. It will change the checker’s relationship with the rest of the board.

And if you don’t think this through, unintentionally you can even help your opponent win the game, because removing your checker will also change the place of your opponent checkers.

All the rules are the same as, the first player to make a row of 4 checkers of the same color, wins the game.

Note: popout sometime results in both players completing 4 rows of the checker at the same time, in that case, the player who Pops out the checker gets the win.  

Pop 10 

Objective – The first player to collect 10 checkers of his/her color wins the game.

The game setup differently from the original game. Taking turns, both players will place one checkers of their color into the slots filling up only the bottom row, then moving onto the next row until it is filled, and so forth until all rows have been filled.

On a player’s turn, each player will remove checkers of their color from the bottom of the board. if the checker, which was removed as part of 4 checkers row at the time of its removal, the player will set it aside from the checker and plays another turn.

If that checker was not part of the 4 checkers row, then it must be dropped back on the board into an open space in any alternate column and the turn ends, the other player will take his/her turn next.

Whoever, set aside 10 checkers first wins the game.

Power Up           

The game starts as the original connect 4 but in these variations of the game, you have power checkers to make the game more strategic. Below are the 4 power checker and their powers.

  • Anvil checker – if you play this power checker, you may pop out all the checkers below it and anvil checker stays at the bottom.
  • Wall checker – when you play wall checker, you can immediately play a non-power checker, but it can’t make a four in a row.
  • x2 checker – when you play x2 checker, you can immediately play 2 non-power checkers.
  • Bomb Checker – if you play this bomb checker, you can pop out one of your opponent’s checkers.

Note: only one power checker can be played once in a game.

5 In a Row

The 5 in a row variation of the connect four games is played on 6 high, 9 wide board. the game creator added two additional board columns, already filled with player pieces in an alternating pattern.

The gameplay is the same as the original game, except now you have to make 5 checkers in a row.

That doesn’t mean, you need more than 42 checkers to play this game, the extra two-column have already filled with the checker.

Though the connect 4 rules are simple but the game can be challenging. People make strategies to win the game. There are some strategies that guaranty to win every time you play the game.