Board games History: the Japanese game of Gomoku
Posted October 20, 2009on:
Gomoku (五目並べ) is a Japanese traditional logic board game, related with the game of Gobang (which uses the same board and pieces), and it’s also know in English countries as Five in a Row.
The rules of the game of Gomoku are in fact different and much simpler than the Gobang game and for this reason it’s a board game played mainly by children. But despite its simples rulres Gomoku is a strategy and logic board game more complex and difficult than Tic Tac Toe (also called Nine Mens Morris) and the modern Connect Four.
It seems that this ancient strategy board game is more than 4000 years old and that its rules have been developed in ancient China.
But we can find a similar board game with same rules, also in the findings of ancient Greece and pre-Columbian civilties of America.
The Gomoku board game was brought to Japan around 270 BC, with the name of Kakugo (which means something like “five steps” in Japanese), and soon became a national pastime, at least is described in this way by a book of 100 AD and it seems that every Japanese of the eighteenth century knew its rules. The first modern volume on this board game, called Kakugo, appeared in 1858.
The Gomoku game , It’s a classic board game of alignment, like the the modern Connect four, and has also many variants, called with different names. The Gomoku board game was introduced into Europe around 1885 and became known in England by the name of Spoil Five, another popular variant of this classic board game in wich the pieces are played in the boxes instead of in the intersections.
The Gomoku board game is a very easy and quick game to play and if you want give it a try you can play the flash version clicking here.