Connect Four Variants: Enjoying the Game a Little Differently

Updated August 11, 2021
Girl playing Connect Four

When board game enthusiasts think about their favorite childhood activities, playing Connect Four games often tops the list. Want to play Connect Four with your own children or with relatives and friends? Learn more about this fun kids' game.

What Is Connect Four?

Game company Milton Bradley began selling Connect Four in 1974, and it quickly caught on. Also called "The Captain's Mistress," the two-player game uses two colors of checkers, which the players drop into spaces in the vertical game board. The object of the game is to connect four of your own color checkers before your opponent. Rows of four can be made horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.

Gameplay typically takes about ten minutes, and the game is best for children over the age of six. Because of the strategy involved, this game can be fun for adults too!

Alternative Connect Four Games

Besides the original method of gameplay, you can play other fun games with the Connect Four board and checkers. Looking for a new way to play? Check out some of these alternatives.

Pop Ten

Tired of the same ol' Connect Four Game? Give pop ten a try.

  1. To get started, players take turns filling the bottom row with their opponent's color checkers.
  2. When the bottom row is full, they move on to the second row and continue until the entire game board is full.
  3. Then players alternate turns, each removing their own color of checkers from the bottom of the game board and placing it in the top.
  4. If a player removes a checker that is part of a string of four, that checker is placed aside.
  5. The player then takes another turn.
  6. When one player has accumulated ten checkers, that player wins.

Connect Three

Just as the name implies, this version of Connect Four is far simpler than the original. Instead of connecting four checkers, players simply need to form a string of three pieces. This is a perfect variation if you play the game with a younger child, since gameplay goes more quickly.


You can also give the pop-out variation of Connect Four a try.

  1. In this version of Connect Four, players take turns placing their own pieces in the slots.
  2. This is like traditional Connect Four, except instead of placing a piece in the top, a player can choose to pop their own checker out of the bottom.
  3. Removing checkers from the bottom gives the board a different alignment, providing another chance for the player to connect four checkers.

Connect Five

Are you looking to add a bit more challenge to your child's play? Then you might try the connect five game.

  1. This version is similar to connect four, but you are connecting five of your colors in a row.
  2. To make things a bit more fun and challenging, you can attach five-in-a-row sliders to the game board.

Connect Four Variants

Connect Four is a trendy game. And, you can actually buy Connect Four games from many different manufacturers. There are wooden versions, travel versions, and even variations featuring cartoon characters like Spongebob Squarepants. Ready to have some fun? Grab your Connect Four and give these games a try!

Connect Four Variants: Enjoying the Game a Little Differently