Gomoku: how to play, cheats, tips, and tricks

Tim Vickers

How do you play and win at Gomoku? If you are a fan of strategy board games, you have probably heard of the game.

Or you’ve probably come across the name on internet forums or games review pages – the game has become increasingly popular in recent times.

Unfortunately, even with the increasing popularity, it is not as popular as other strategy games, for example, chess. As such, not many people know how to play it. But worry not, Gomoku gameplay is quite easy.

Being a two-player board game, Gomoku involves making moves and countermoves against your opponent until there is a winner. The winning strategy is to arrange five of your pieces in a row.

In this article, we are going to take a detailed look at Gomoku gameplay, strategy, and rules. We will also look at tips and tricks that can help you become a better player.

What is Gomoku?

Gomoku is a traditional Japanese strategy board game that is quite similar to the Gobang game. In fact, it is often confused or even referred to as  Gobang.

The game is played on a board (Go board) measuring either 15” x 15” and using Go pieces (white and black stones).

The name Gomoku originated from the Japanese word gomokunarabe. The word is a combination of three phrases: go (meaning five), moku (meaning pieces), and narabe (meaning line-up).

Who invented Gomoku?

Gomoku is an extremely old game that is thought to have developed in ancient China.

However, its exact origins are unclear, as there has been evidence of a similar strategy game in several ancient civilizations – Greece, Pre-Columbia America, among others.

The game found its way to Japan around 270 BC where it was then known as Kakugo (meaning 5 steps). It became increasingly popular and was soon a national pastime.

Around the 18th and 19th centuries, the game was introduced to Europe, from where it spread all over the world.

Gomoku is known by different names in different countries. Examples include Wuziqi in China, five in a row, Omok (Korea), Go Bang, Spoil Five, among others.

Gomoku gameplay and rules

Image: Undothefuture

Are you looking to learn how to play Gomoku? Below is a look at the game’s strategy, gameplay, and rules.

What is the objective of Gomoku?

Like any other strategy board game, the objective of Gomoku is to win against your opponent. You do this by playing until you build a row of 5 consecutive pieces (your own pieces).

The pieces can be arranged either in a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal order.

Rules of the Gomoku game

Like any other game, Gomoku has rules. Below is a look at them:

  • Gomoku is a two-player game where the players make alternating moves by placing their pieces on the board
  • A player places their piece at an empty intersection on the board – there is no restriction on where to place
  • The player with the black pieces always makes the first move of the game
  • The game continues until a player creates a row of five pieces, be it horizontal, vertical, or diagonal
  • Only a row of five pieces can win a game. Should a player create a row of more than 5 pieces (which are called overlines), he/she does not win.

Gomoku tips, tricks, and cheats

Looking to improve your chances of winning? Below is a look at tips and tricks that can help you create a better Gomoku strategy:

  • Play more games (especially live/in-person ones) to improve your strategy
  • Study moves and game strategy of better players
  • Focus on your opponent’s weaknesses, for example, slow thinking and poor positioning
  • Always study your opponent’s pieces before making a move for better positioning
  • Use the opponent’s time to think and plan moves
  • Think several steps ahead and not just the next move

If you are new to Gomoku, you might find yourself having trouble outplaying your opponent and winning.

However, through practice, especially by playing against better players, you can improve your skills greatly over time.

Are there Gomoku cheats you can use to win?

Since Gomoku is a strategy board game, cheats are nearly impossible, especially with live games. The trick to winning is to outplay your opponent.

However, if playing Gomoku online, you might come across several cheats, hacks, and Gomoku solvers promising a better chance.

That being said, most will either not work, or are based on tips and tricks for improving strategy – not actual cheating. So, if you want to win, gain more experience and improve your gameplay over time.

Wrapping up

If you are looking for a great strategy game to keep you occupied, Gomoku is a great choice.

It is a game that has been around for several centuries and has spread all over the world, where it is known under different names.

When you play Gomoku, you’ll realize it is one of the easiest board games with simple rules and strategies. Simply outplay your opponent to line up five of your pieces in a consecutive row.

And with the digital age, the game is now available online, meaning that you can play it wherever you are.

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