Instructables

I've been going back through my piles of stuff from the back of a cupboard personal archives, and found a sheet I had put together way back in the late nineties.

It was how to play a game of four-in-a-row (usually known as Connect 4), entirely in one dimension.  Two dimensional Connect Four is quite common, and many coffee tables have a set of three-dimensional four-in-a-row, and I have even seen a version of the game played in four dimensions, but the one-dimensional version seems to be totally absent from stores and the internet.

According to my scribbled notes to accompany the sheet, the original article was by Angus Lavery in Games and Puzzles magazine, in 1994.  It was created as about a quick game to play with loose counters, but I decided to make a coffee-table version that also automatically re-groups the counters for you.





(Unfortunately, I did not keep the original magazine page, so the above is all the information I have.  I have tried searching the internet for Mr Lavery, to no avail.  If you know Mr Lavery, or you are Mr Lavery, please get in touch so I can make sure he's OK with this Instructable.)
 
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Step 1: Materials and tools


The main material is 6mm plywood, along with woodglue, varnish, and two contrasting paint colours.

Tools were; Jigsaw, scroll saw, files, sander and rotary tool with sanding bits.

This is also the first time I have used a Spanish Windlass in an instructable...

Step 2: Design.

You can create your own design, or use/modify the one I have attached.

The main features of the "board" are:
  • It needs three layers - the outside two layers create a raised lip to retain the counters on edge.
  • It needs to be curved in the fashion of a cartoon smile, so that the counters roll to the centre.
  • It needs to be a little longer than the ten counters
You may need legs for stability, or you may not.  It depends partly on the actual thickness of the board you use, and on the exact design you go with.


please come up with a good name for this so when i make it i have a proper name and so i dont feel like i am stealing your thunder when i call it something else
Kiteman (author)  parker davis2 years ago
What do you mean, like a brand-name?

It doesn't have a "proper" name - feel free to call it whatever you like.
Hi, I just wanted to submit a link to my blog where I (loosely) followed your tutorial and built my version of a one dimensional connect 4:
http://dragonsnbottlecaps.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/how-to-make-and-play-a-one-dimensional-4-in-a-row-connect-4/
I'd love your opinion.
Kiteman (author)  dragonsnbottlecaps2 years ago
That's really nice - I like the change you made to the base.

Thanks for sharing.
Kevin123452 years ago
Would the game work with 3 or more players, each with a different colored piece?
Kiteman (author)  Kevin123452 years ago
I think it might.

My eldest took it to his Cipher Club, and they played it with "no colour" - whoever made a four of *either* colour won the game.
nsnip2 years ago
Could this be played in a ring?
Kiteman (author)  nsnip2 years ago
I don't know - why not give it a try, and post an instructable on it?
lambsb3 years ago
Very interesting. I like it. I may try to make one because I have a lot of luan pieces laying around....
Kiteman (author)  lambsb3 years ago
Cool - post a picture if you do.
dkop13 years ago
Great 'Ible, but I think it's more of a two dimensioned thing. Playing connect four with 1 dimension would be stacking lines.
Kiteman (author)  dkop13 years ago
The playing pieces happen in a single line, and pieces outside of that line are not in play.

Mathematically-speaking, a single dimension does not have to be straight.
dkop1 Kiteman3 years ago
Considering that I have no counter-argument, I have to say you're right. BTW: Nice 'stache in the new picture.
Kiteman (author)  dkop13 years ago
Haha, thanks. It's to go with my most recent Instructable.
International entries and everything! :D
sunshiine3 years ago
Totally awesome! I loved that game! My kids loved it and my grandson loved it! Thanks for sharing! Nice work!
Kiteman (author)  sunshiine3 years ago
Thank you!
You are welcome! Are the international entries good on this one? I am curious.
Kiteman (author)  sunshiine3 years ago
No, I'm just hoping they are by the time the deadline comes.
Great thinker! I really do hope they find a solution! I was wondering why I have not seen your new stuff. Sending a MSG now, wonder how long it will take???? jUST CURIOUS.
Kiteman (author)  sunshiine3 years ago
(Replied)
VerendusVir3 years ago
Love it!! wish I knew how to make one in 4 dimensions now... :)
Awesome!
Kiteman (author)  Lithium Rain3 years ago
Thank you!

I've just realised, though, that if I had waited until my original planned release date I could have entered it in the Gorilla Glue contest!
tqwerty3 years ago
This looks fun.
I believe you could also play this as a one player game, for records? Not absolutely certain on how that would turn out, though.
Kiteman (author)  tqwerty3 years ago
What, you mean as a puzzle, to work out the fewest moves possible? That sounds interesting...
3 moves... I see couple of different ways to achieve it, but very similar. Don't believe it could be possible in 2.
PKM karossii3 years ago
Playing it as a solitaire, I think you're right: a 3-move solution is easy, I don't see a 2-move. From my experience of this sort of puzzle it instinctively feels like there is no 2-move solution and that it shouldn't be too hard to prove.

I wonder if this is the sort of game like tic-tac-toe, where perfect players never lose so two perfect players always end up in a draw, or whether you can play a faultless opponent into a corner and force a win. Again, instinctively it "feels" simple enough that it seems making no mistakes would lead to never losing, but I can't be sure. Perhaps I'll write an AI to play the game :)
Kiteman (author)  PKM3 years ago
Write an app and flog it?
Jayefuu3 years ago
Mind if I throw together a laser cuttable acrylic version?
Kiteman (author)  Jayefuu3 years ago
Feel free - that is kind of the point of the site, isn't it?

(I know I'm probably teaching you to suck eggs, but you'll have to use a slightly thinner acrylic for the counters, or they might wedge in the groove.)

Oh! You've just reminded me that I haven't attached the template I used!

Kiteman (author)  Kiteman3 years ago
Template now attached to Step2 as an SVG file.
AndyGadget3 years ago

Totally sick, K-man #;¬)
How long does a typical game take?  It strikes me as the sort of game which could go on for ages with two decent players.
I agree with you about the guards / goggles issue.  I do the same thing using a jigsaw or drill.  I find it virtually impossible to cut accurately with the guards in place.
Lil C3 years ago
Thats sick how did you think of that
Kiteman (author)  Lil C3 years ago
As I said, the game as a concept was invented by a chap called Angus Lavery in the 1990s, but turning it into a physical set like this just sort of came to me.

ChrysN3 years ago
Cool, I've never seen it played in one-dimension, looks interesting.
Kiteman (author)  ChrysN3 years ago
Thanks!