No Four in a Row is played on a square grid, which can vary in size according to the level of difficulty. Some of the cells in the grid are filled with either Xs or Os. The objective of the puzzle is to fill in the rest of the grid with more Xs and Os such that there are never four (or more) of the same symbol appearing consecutively either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.
Here is an example of a small grid:
Here is what the example puzzle looks like once it has been solved:
Start with given symbols. Consider the rows and columns the pre-filled symbols are in, and ensure that placing symbols around them won’t immediately violate the "no four in a row" rule.
Look for safe plays. Initially, try to place symbols in positions where it’s impossible to form four in a row due to the grid's boundaries.
Blocking. Sometimes, it’s beneficial to place a symbol simply to prevent a row of three (which would necessitate a block to prevent a row of four on the next turn).
Mind the diagonals. Diagonal lines can be tricky. Keep a close eye on the longer diagonals of the grid to make sure you’re not accidentally forming a line of four.
Adjustments. Be ready to reassess and retrace your steps if you find yourself in a position where you’re forced to place four symbols in a row.
Consider future moves. When placing a symbol, consider how it will impact future moves, especially in the surrounding rows, columns, and diagonals.
The more you play, the more you'll begin to notice patterns and strategies that work, making it easier to navigate through trickier puzzles.
Want to try your hand at No Four in a Row? We sometimes include them in our free Puzzle Weekly magazine – you should totally sign up for that if you haven’t already, as it puts 28 brand new puzzles in your inbox every week.
You can also find four levels of the puzzle in our Jumbo Adult Puzzle Book – which happens to include more than 500 puzzles of 20 different varieties.