Written by Anonymous
About Connect Four:
“Connect Four is an interesting game of strategy and planning.”
Strategy is a life skill. It’s not something that can be taught, instead, it’s something that must be developed. Throughout my life, I’ve realized that every step I have taken in life has dealt with planning and attempting to be strategic. Every move in my game has brought me to where I am now.
“Connect Four will come with a grid, 2 end supports, 21 red checkers, and 21 black checkers + the official Connect Four game rules and instructions.”
The grid is the pathway of my life, plain and simple. As a Muslim, I was taught that everything that is supposed to happen in life is already maktoob, or written for me. From the moment I was born, to the moment I will die, Allah (SWT) has a plan for me. Although the directions for Connect Four are written in black and white, the directions for my life are written on my forehead in invisible ink. Those are the directions God has provided for me, but I have to be able to plan and strategize effectively to figure out what those directions are.
My two end supports have been my mother and father. Without them, I wouldn’t be half the person I am today. They have sheltered me, clothed me, fed me, and groomed me to be the person I am today. They have given me love and anything else I have ever asked for — including their countless support.
Growing up, I remember arguing with my siblings over who would play with the red checkers and who would play with the black ones. I always wanted to play with red. Red was a real color: vibrant and bright. Not dull and boring like black. For some reason, whenever I played with red, I always won. I wanted to win every time. The pieces were what made the game. Without them, I couldn’t play. And with each piece, I had to make a strategic placement choice or risk losing the entire game.
How to Play:
- Decide who plays first. Players will alternate turns after playing a checker.
I always made sure to go second. I liked watching the player opposite of me make a move and then mess up — allowing me to go in with a strategic plan of both defense and offense. The same still holds true in my life. I like to see what other people do first in situations so I can react accordingly. During one of my secret relationships during my teenage years, my mom became more overprotective, forbidding me from leaving the house at certain times or from staying after school. She began to hint at the idea of other Arab girls being caught doing something wrong.
I knew she had a hunch at what I was doing, so the next day, I ended my relationship with my boyfriend. When my mom asked me later that day if I had a boyfriend, I was able to respond truthfully with the “No, of course not, Mom. I know better than that,” response that she wanted to hear. Her next move was to alleviate some of the restrictions that she had placed over me. My next move was to go back to my relationship… which I happily did.
- During your turn, drop one of your checkers down one of the slots in the top of the grid.
It can’t just be any slot. The whole objective of the game is to prevent the other player from winning. If they connect four checkers in a row, they win. I have to win. This is where strategy comes in. Am I playing offensively or defensively? Am I playing both sides? Is my opponent seeing the same moves on their side of the board that I am on my side? I have to choose the correct slot or I risk losing it all. The directions didn’t tell me anything except to connect four.
Do I drop my checker into the slot that is meant for me to be a teacher? Or will that cause me to lose? Do I drop it into the slot that says hold off for the perfect guy? Or do I settle? What if I pick the slot that is wrong for me? Will that cause the game to end?
- Play alternates until one player gets four checkers of his or her color in a row. The four in a row can be horizontal, vertical, or diagonal.
Basically, I have three ways to win. It doesn’t matter how I get there, as long as I win. I have to line them up the right way, while being able to outsmart my opponent: fate.
My education was what I wanted, so I placed my checker in that line of the grid. Fate had it planned to make it difficult for me to find a job, so it blocked my move. I decided I wanted to get married, so I found a man and got engaged. Fate had it planned to ruin my relationship, so it blocked my move and my engagement was called off. I decided I would work in any school I could find and not be picky. Fate had it planned to make my teaching job difficult, and at times, unbearable, so it blocked my move. I decided that it was time to return to school for more education. Thankfully, Fate hasn’t seen the opportunity to block this move.
Currently, I have two checkers lined up; I need to strategize to find the other two spots in the grid where I should place the last two checkers. Is it marriage? Is it moving away? Is it death? I’m not sure, I can’t see the directions.
How To Win:
If you’re the first player to get four of your checkers in a row, you win the game!
I have to work on my strategy. Everyone else in my life seems to have won their game so far. Granted, game play can start over if needed. But I haven’t finished my first game yet. I think I’m playing with the black checkers, not the red.