Can You Tie Connect 4? (Is It Allowed?)

By Kimberly

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Connect four is a great family-friendly game that requires strategic skills to win. There are many lines we can use to win connect four. You may be in a tie situation when you and an opponent are equally matched.

It is possible and allowed to tie in connect 4. The board has forty-two spaces, so if all are full and a line has not been created, then there is no clear winner resulting in a tie.

To avoid any competitive arguments, read on for more clarity on how a draw can occur and the best way to win Connect 4.

An image of two little kids playing Connect 4 game outside on a blanket.

What a Draw (Tie) Is in Connect 4

A draw in Connect 4 is when there is no winner. This occurs when all the spaces on the Connect 4 board are full. If both players’ strategies focus on blocking any line by their opponent, a draw will likely occur. Draws and ties are the same things in Connect 4.

It is possible to tell earlier in the game if a draw will occur, but in most games, players will want to continue until the grid is full. This is wise, as an error by an opponent can lead to a late win in the game.

When a Draw Happens in Connect 4

A draw happens when the Connect 4 board is full, and both players cannot connect four checkers in a row. It is the players’ decision if they want to call it and draw or if they want to restart the game. As Connect 4 is a quick-paced game, it is common to play to the best of three games.

Double-check the full grid before ending the game, as it’s possible to unintentionally create a straight line, which isn’t part of the original strategy. Players who focus on their original game plan may miss winning lines they have accidentally created.

As we continue to play Connect 4, we will improve our strategy and be able to anticipate our opponent’s moves. Connect 4 is a game of problem-solving. As our skills improve, we’ll find new ways to connect a straight line and avoid a draw.  

How To Win Connect 4 (without a draw)

To win Connect 4, players need to connect four of the same colored checkers in a line. This line can be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal.

Players take turns placing checkers into the Connect 4 board. The board is a grid that consists of 7×6 spaces, a total of forty-two altogether.

To win Connect 4, players need to make a strategy for creating a straight line of four same-colored checkers. They must also be reactive to their opponent’s strategy and adapt their plan depending on the opponent’s moves. It’s possible to use redirection to confuse an opponent.

Connect 4 has a high probability of a draw, especially if the players are playing at the same skill level. Experience and the speed of play can improve a player’s chances of winning. We will have an advantage in the game if we place our checker first.

Does Connect 4 Have to be a Straight Line?

To have a winning line in connect 4, the checkers must be in a straight line and of the same color. If there are any breaks or corners in the line, then this does not count. Configurations such as squares do not count.

A winning line can be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal if it is checked off all the same colors in a consecutive line.

An image of two brothers playing a board game.

Key Takeaways and Next Steps

In a game of Connect 4, it is possible to tie. It’s allowed within the game rules and is highly probable to occur. This is more likely with opponents who are equally matched.

Players can decide whether to end a game as a tie or have a rematch to decide the winner. To win in a game of Connect 4 requires problem-solving and a strategic approach.

The goal is to first connect four same-colored checkers in a straight line. Connect 4 is a great family game that is quick and simple. It can also become quite addictive, especially for competitive players.

In my experience, the fact that draws are so common is part of why a game of Connect 4 should be played as part of a best-of-3 or best-of-5 scenario. That way, you’ll be able to have a clear winner.

Unless you’re just playing for fun. Then, you can consider adding some house rules to Connect 4. Make sure everyone agrees to the rules before the game starts. And maybe write them down – just in case!

Resources

Learning from your own experience is important, but learning from others is also smart. These are the sources used in this article and our research to be more informed as gamers.

  • Connect 4. Milton Bradley. Retrieved 10 Oct 2022, from https://www.fgbradleys.com/rules/Connect%20Four.pdf.

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