How To Play Gomoku Step By Step (+ Gomoku Rules)

how to play gomoku

Gomoku, a game of strategy and intellect, is a captivating journey into the world of abstract board games. Originating from East Asia, this game, also known as “Five in a Row,” offers a unique blend of simplicity and complexity. The objective is straightforward: be the first to align five stones of your color in a row, either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally on a 15×15 grid. However, achieving this goal requires careful planning, strategic thinking, and a keen eye for your opponent’s moves. This guide will walk you through the step-by-step process of playing Gomoku, ensuring you understand the rules and strategies that can turn a novice into a master. So, whether you’re a seasoned player looking to refine your skills or a beginner eager to dive into this intriguing game, let’s embark on this exciting journey of Gomoku together.

What is Gomoku?

Gomoku, also known as Five in a Row, is a traditional board game that originated in East Asia, particularly in China. Gomoku is a fascinating abstract strategy board game that has its roots in East Asia. The name “Gomoku” translates to “five pieces” in Japanese, which is a direct reflection of the game’s primary objective: to be the first player to get five of their pieces in a row on the game board. The game is typically played on a 15×15 grid, although variations can include larger or smaller boards. Each player has an arsenal of pieces (or “stones”), usually black and white, and they take turns placing a stone on any intersection of the grid lines. The beauty of Gomoku lies in its simplicity; the rules are easy to understand, yet the strategic depth is immense.

The game begins with the player using the black stones, and the players alternate turns thereafter. The goal is to place five stones of your color in a row – horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. While this may sound simple, the challenge comes from blocking your opponent’s attempts to create their row of five while trying to create your own. Gomoku is more than just a game; it’s a battle of wits, a test of strategic thinking, and a wonderful way to challenge the mind. Whether you’re playing casually with friends or in a more competitive setting, Gomoku offers endless hours of entertainment and mental stimulation.

how to play gomoku

How to play Gomoku?

Playing Gomoku is a simple yet strategic game. The objective is to be the first to form an unbroken row of five of your symbols on the game board. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to play Gomoku:

Game Setup:

  • Begin with a square grid board. The standard size is 15×15, but variations can be played on different-sized boards.
  • Each player uses a distinct symbol, often represented by ‘X’ and ‘O’.

Turns and Starting the Game:

  • Gomoku is a two-player game. Players take turns placing their symbols on vacant intersections of the board.
  • Decide who goes first. This can be done by a simple coin toss or any agreed-upon method.

Placing Symbols:

  • The first player places their symbol (‘X’ or ‘O’) on any vacant intersection of the board.
  • Players alternate turns, placing one symbol at a time on any empty intersection.
how to play gomoku


  • The main goal is to create an unbroken row of five of your symbols horizontally, vertically, or diagonally on the game board.
  • The row of five can be interrupted by empty spaces, creating strategic opportunities for both offense and defense.

Blocking and Strategic Moves:

  • Players need to strategize defensively by blocking their opponent’s attempts to create a winning row.
  • Additionally, players aim to form their own winning rows while simultaneously preventing their opponent from doing the same.

Winning the Game:

  • The first player to successfully create a row of five of their symbols wins the game.
  • The winning row can be straight or have a combination of horizontal, vertical, and diagonal placements.

Draws and Variations:

  • In the case of a full board without a winner, the game is often considered a draw. Some variations may have additional rules to handle drawn games.
  • Various Gomoku variations exist, introducing different rules such as free-style Gomoku, where two separate rows of five can lead to a win.
how to play gomoku

Strategic Considerations:

  • The center of the board is considered strategically important, as it allows for the potential creation of multiple winning lines in different directions.
  • Players need to balance offense and defense, making strategic moves to advance their position while hindering their opponent’s progress.

Online and AI Play:

  • Gomoku has adapted to modern technology, allowing players to engage in online matches with opponents worldwide.
  • Artificial intelligence programs are designed to challenge players and offer opportunities for skill improvement.

What are Gomoku rules?

Gomuko is typically played on a square grid board, and the objective is to be the first to form an unbroken row of five of your symbols (either ‘X’ or ‘O’) horizontally, vertically, or diagonally. Here are the detailed rules for playing Gomoku:

  1. Board Setup: Gomoku is typically played on a 15×15 or 19×19 grid. Each player has an unlimited supply of pieces which are usually black and white.
  2. Starting the Game: The game begins with the black piece (the player who goes first) placing a stone on the board. Players then alternate turns.
  3. Placing Stones: On each turn, a player places one stone on any intersection of the grid. Once a stone is placed, it cannot be moved or removed.
  4. Winning the Game: The game is won when a player forms an unbroken chain of five stones in a row, either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.
  5. Draws: If the entire board is filled and no player has formed a chain of five stones, the game is a draw.
  6. Overlines: In some versions of Gomoku, forming a row of more than five stones (an overline) does not constitute a win.
  7. Optional Rules – Three and Three, Four and Four: Some versions of Gomoku include rules to prevent easy wins. The “Three and Three” rule states that a player cannot place a stone that forms two open rows of three (a row of three stones with empty points at each end). The “Four and Four” rule states that a player cannot place a stone that forms two rows of four. If a player makes such a move, the opponent can remove the offending stone.
  8. Optional Rule – Swap: Another optional rule is the “swap” or “pie” rule. After the first player places three stones, the second player can choose to switch colors.
how to play gomoku

Remember, the specific rules can vary based on the version of Gomoku being played. It’s always a good idea to clarify the rules before starting the game.

How to Add Gomoku to iMessage?

After figuring out about how to play gomoku To add Gomoku to iMessage:

  1. open the App Store and search for “Gomoku.” Once you find the app, tap “Get” to download and install it.
  1. Once the installation is complete, open iMessage and tap on the “+” sign to bring up the apps drawer. Tap on the Gomoku icon to start a new game.
how to play gomoku

Also Read: pokemon go evolution calculator


Gomoku, or Five in a Row, is a captivating game of strategy that is easy to learn but offers depth and complexity. The game revolves around the simple goal of aligning five stones in a row on a grid, with players taking turns to place a stone on an intersection. Despite its straightforward rules, Gomoku requires careful planning, anticipation of the opponent’s moves, and strategic placement of one’s own stones. Whether you’re a beginner learning the basic rules or an experienced player mastering advanced strategies, Gomoku offers endless opportunities for mental challenge and enjoyment. So, grab a friend, set up your board, and step into the fascinating world of Gomoku!


  • What was the goal of Gomoku?

The goal of Gomoku, is quite straightforward yet requires strategic thinking. The primary objective for each player is to be the first to form an unbroken chain of five stones in a row. This chain can be formed horizontally, vertically, or diagonally on the game board.

  • Is Gomoku 4 or 5?

he name “Gomoku” itself comes from the Japanese language, where “Go” means five, and “moku” means piece. Therefore, the “5” in Gomoku refers to the goal of getting five pieces in a row.

However, the number “4” can also be significant in the context of Gomoku. For instance, having four pieces in a row is a strong position as it forces the opponent to block at one end in their next move. Additionally, some versions of Gomoku have a rule called “Four and Four,” which states that a player cannot place a stone that forms two open rows of four pieces.

  • Which is harder Gomoku or chess

The difficulty of a game like Gomoku or Chess can depend on several factors, including the player’s familiarity with the game, their strategic thinking skills, and the complexity of the game rules.

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