Compare with Connect 4

Connect 4 is solved

Connect 4 is a popular two-player board game. In Connect 4, players take turns dropping colored discs into a grid, aiming to be the first to connect four of their own discs in a row, either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. 

Connect 4, a classic game, has been successfully solved using computer algorithms and extensive computational analysis. This means that with perfect play, the outcome of the game can be determined. The solution, which was first published in 1988 by James D. Allen, a computer scientist at the University of New Hampshire, revealed that Connect 4 is a first-player win.

To achieve this solution, researchers employed retrograde analysis, a technique that involves working backward from the end of the game. By analyzing all possible positions and moves, they were able to determine the optimal strategy. This analysis was conducted by exhaustively exploring the game tree, which represents all possible moves and positions.

Connect 4 presented a manageable number of possible positions compared to more complex games like Chess or Savvy Four. The total number of possible positions in Connect 4 is approximately 4.5 trillion, which, although still large, allowed for computational analysis.

Through the utilization of powerful computers and sophisticated algorithms, researchers analyzed all possible positions and determined the optimal moves for both players. They discovered that the first player can always force a win or a draw, regardless of the second player's moves. The optimal strategy for the first player involves creating threats, positions that force the second player to respond in specific ways. By strategically placing discs, the first player can create multiple threats, ultimately leading the second player into a losing position. This strategy ensures that the first player will either win the game or force a draw.


The solution to Connect 4 not only has implications within the game itself but also extends to broader practical applications. It serves as a testament to the effectiveness of computational analysis in solving complex problems and offers valuable insights into game theory and artificial intelligence. The techniques employed to solve Connect 4 can be extrapolated to other games and real-world scenarios that involve strategic decision-making.

Furthermore, the solution to Connect 4 has paved the way for the development of highly competent computer players capable of playing the game at an advanced level. These computer players utilize the optimal strategy derived from the solution, enabling them to make intelligent moves and present a formidable challenge to human players.

However, it is worth noting that playing against an AI opponent that never loses when it starts, unless it intentionally lets the human player win, may raise questions about the enjoyment derived from such interactions. While it is fascinating to witness the prowess of AI in action, the absence of uncertainty or the possibility of defeat can diminish the thrill and excitement that come from engaging in a competitive game.

In summary, Connect 4 is a game that has been solved through the use of computational analysis and retrograde techniques. This solution not only sheds light on game theory, artificial intelligence, and strategic decision-making but also serves as a foundation for the development of strong computer players. However, the implications of playing against an AI opponent that is virtually unbeatable may raise considerations regarding the enjoyment and satisfaction derived from such encounters.

The advantages of Savvy Four

Savvy Four revolutionizes the traditional game of Connect 4 by introducing dynamic and challenging gameplay. Unlike Connect 4, Savvy Four allows players to place tokens freely on the board, expanding the number of possible moves exponentially. This change injects more strategy and unpredictability into each game.

To illustrate the increased complexity, consider starting with an empty game board and thinking five steps ahead. Connect 4 offers 7^5 (16,807) possible constellations, while Savvy Four, depending on the number of initially blocked tiles, presents around 50^5 (over 300 million) constellations.

In Savvy Four, connecting the first row of tokens only scores one out of five points needed to win, adding depth and excitement to gameplay. Players must carefully plan their moves to maximize their scoring potential and secure victory.

Another captivating aspect of Savvy Four is its ability to span multiple sessions. This allows for longer, more strategic gameplay, with alternating starting players. This fairness factor enables players to adapt their strategies based on the score of previous sessions.

The game board in Savvy Four is larger, measuring 8x8 compared to Connect 4's 7x6 grid. Additionally, the inclusion of randomly blocked tiles adds surprise and variety to each game. With every game being unique, players are constantly challenged to develop new tactics and adapt their strategies accordingly.

The combination of these distinctive elements makes Savvy Four a more engaging and intellectually stimulating game than Connect 4, without introducing complicated rules or gameplay mechanics. The increased number of possible moves, the unique scoring system, the multi-session gameplay, and the larger, randomly blocked game board all contribute to a dynamic and strategic gaming experience.

By choosing Savvy Four over Connect 4, players can immerse themselves in a game that offers greater complexity and depth. The expanded move possibilities, scoring system, multi-session gameplay, and larger game board with randomly blocked tiles create an exciting and ever-changing experience that challenges players to think strategically and adapt their tactics. Whether you are a casual player seeking a fresh take on a classic game or a seasoned strategist in search of a new challenge, Savvy Four is a compelling choice.