Gomoku Narabe Renju

Connect Four is probably the simplest and best board game ever, just try to connect four with your tiles before your opponent blocks you. There’s actually a Japanese version…or Chinese depending on whatever port you’re playing, Gomoku Narabe Renju (or 5 Points in a Row, or Chinese Chess or Five Chess if you’re playing it on bootleg games or devices) and I have no idea who made it first or last but it was originally released for the Famicom, published by Nintendo and was released in 1983.

The game is pretty much Connect Four except…well let me explain the rules in detail, there is White and Black tiles, it plays similar to tic-tac-toe, the usual end to this game is a tie if you pay attention, you have a board with your tiles, which comes to this fact:

Did you know? Since 1936, studies proved that players who control the black tiles are able to win if you play a perfect game throughout. But some rules have been introduced to keep the game fair and reduce the black tile’s advantage on the board.

In this game it follows the Renju rules, if you control the black tiles you can only win with five black tiles in a row, if you get six tiles or more it’s called overlines and this actually results in a loss. White tiles have no restrictions and can win with five or more tiles. This is a really a simple game…if you’re Japanese, you really need to understand how the game works, how you can outsmart your opponent, start at beginner and then work up to expert, but even then it’s just going to end with a tie for the most part, for English speaking and reading people, it’s going to be difficult to understand the text.

Overall, it’s a piece of East Asian culture I’m happy to discover, even if I don’t understand how it properly works half the time, but you learn as you go, you’re most likely to study things that you discover that might be interesting to you.

You can get it on Famicom, Virtual Console and countless bootleg games and devices.

Rating: 3.5/5

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