Gomoku is an abstract board game for people who often prefer an intriguing game to a mindless one any day. The ancient Japanese game, also referred to as "Five in a Row," is traditionally played with black and white stones referred to as "Go pieces" on a 15x15 board, but sometimes it's played on a 19x19 Go board. The game's popularity has led to hundreds of people wanting to know how to play Gomoku.
The two potentials required for this game are strategy and tactics. With it, you won't be an easy side to mess around with, but if you're a newbie, don't feel down because there are a lot of strategies you can apply to help yourself out. Before we jump right into those strategies, let's first look at how to play Gomoku.
How To Play Gomoku
For anyone desiring to know how to play Gomoku, they must first understand the rules and the game's pattern.
Gomoku, as described earlier, is a board game played by two people only by using stones. Each player takes turns placing white and black pieces on the board with the aim of being the first player to create a straight line of 5 pieces in any direction.
The player with the black piece plays first by placing his first piece on one of the intersections made by the squares on the board, then the player with the white piece makes a turn.
Both players continue taking turns on the board until there is a winner. A winner will only be declared if either of the players gets five pieces on a roll, either vertically, horizontally, or diagonally.
The first player with the black piece has an advantage of being a winner if they play optimally. Since he made the first turn, his opponent will always focus on alternating his game plan more than on him focusing on his.
Variety Of Gomoku
During the 1989 and 1991 world championships, the pro opening rule was adopted for the competition. This rule mandates that the first player must place his first stone in the center of the board, while the second player may place his first stone anywhere on the board. The first player must place his second stone at least three intersections away from his first stone.
The Long Pro is similar to the Pro Opening Rule. Here, the first player's first stone has been placed on the center of the board. The second player is allowed to place his first stone anywhere on the board. The first player's second stone must be placed at least four intersections away from his first stone.
Freestyle Gomoku has no restrictions on its players. The first player places a black stone on the center of the board, while the second player places theirs anywhere on the board. Both players take turns until a player creates a straight line of five.
In Swap, the first tentative player places three pieces (stones), one white and two black, anywhere on the board. The tentative second player chooses which colour to play with and the game proceeds as usual until there's a winner.
In Swap2, the first player places three pieces (stones) on the board, one white and two black. The second player is then offered three options:
- Play as black (becoming the first player).
- Play as white by placing a second white stone.
- Or place two more stones (one white and one black) and pass the choice of what colour to play with over to the tentative first player.
The Swap2 protocol helped create a more balanced game option for both players and also limited the excessive studying of lines by only one player if the tentative second player chooses option 2 or 3.
Useful Strategy In Playing Gomoku
1. Always prevent your oppone nts from getting an open four.
When an opponent has a straight line of the same colour with four stones and open space at both ends, it's known as "open 4". When an open 4 is achieved, your opponent is definitely going to win the game with their next move since you'll only be able to block one end with your move, leaving the other open. It is well advised to always watch out for an open 3 and close one end rather than waiting to intercept an open 4.
2. Create 2 Attacking Lines At The same Time
One of the most common strategies used by professionals is "Fork". When you successfully create a situation where you have two potential victorious lines of pieces (stones) at once, it is known as a fork.
A fork is hard to defend against, like an open 4, since your opponents have to pay attention to and block multiple threats with each move. While playing, always watch out for opportunities to create overlapping lines that will be open at all ends.
You could aim to play 2 open 3s of x shape at the same time with 5 stones, resulting in an X-shaped formation on the board. When your opponent closes one of your open 3s, you will be able to create an open 4 with your next move.
3. Analyze the games of more experienced players.
Studying the games of more experienced players will improve your understanding of the game and may teach you some nice moves that you can use in your next game. You can head straight to YouTube and watch some of these videos, but also ensure that while watching you don't just look out for their moves alone; take out time to pause for a while and think about why these players made such moves (remember both of you won't be playing against the same opponents).
4. Learning Different Variations
Always remember that the first player with black stones has a greater chance of winning while playing the Freestyle Gomoku variation. For a more balanced game, the Swap, Swap2, Pro, and Long Pro variations are recommended. It is highly recommended that you learn different variations of the game and be a master of one or all of them if possible.
5. Concentrate On The First Ten Moves
The first ten moves of the game determine how it will end, which is why you don't have to make your first ten moves in a hurry. Remember, if you put yourself in a very bad position while making your first ten, it won't be easy to get out of it during the rest of the game. You might just spend the rest of your moves trying to intercept your opponents' attempts to obtain an open 4.
Gomoku On iMessage
There are lots of gaming platforms and apps where you'll be able to play Gomoku on your mobile device instead of a Go board. For Apple users, they can play Gomoku on iMessage anytime of the day, but first you'll have to install the game, and here's how to do it.
How To Install Gomoku On iMessage
- Go to your iPhone's Messaging app and open an iMessage conversation thread (either a new chat or an existing one).
- Click on the ‘App Drawer’ icon on the left side of the messaging textbox down below.
- Options for various iMessage apps will appear underneath. Click on the App Store icon to open the App Store.
- Click on the Search icon at the top right corner and search for "GamePigeon". Note: if you search for Gomoku, you won't find any search results for it. GamePigeon is a collection of two-player games such as 8-ball pool, Gomoku, Mancala, and many more in iMessage.
- Click on the 'Get' button to add GamePigeon to the list of your iMessage apps.
How to Play Gomoku on iMessage
Now that you've successfully installed the game on your device, let's proceed to how to play Gomoku on iMessage.
- Close the App Store after installing the app and return to the App Drawer. Swipe left until you find the 'GamePigeon' icon and click on it.
- All the available games for 'GamePigeon' will appear. Look carefully for the Gomoku thumbnail and click on it.
- Hold on for some seconds as the game loads into the message textbox. Click on the'send' button to send the game invite to your opponent. Note that whoever you send an invite will get to play the first turn should they choose to play with you (they will play the black piece).
Gomoku Rules on iMessage
Gomoku Rules still remain the same on iMessage. There's no difference, but there are some little adjustments since it's been played on a mobile device.
- Gomoku on iMessage consists of a 12x12 board and sets of white and black stones.
- Gomoku on iMessage only uses the Freestyle variation, which means the first player has more chances of winning.
- To play your turn, you'll have to place the stone on the intersection and click on the "Send" button at the bottom. You can change the position of your stone on several counts before clicking on the send button. After clicking on the 'Send' button, you won't be able to change your stones' position.
- Always remember that the first player to get a straight color of 5 stones is the winner.
If you want to have a more interesting experience while playing Gomoku on iMessage, always have your friends send you an invite to help increase your chances of winning.