Manny's Reviews > Five-In-A-Row (Renju) for Beginners to Advanced Players

Five-In-A-Row (Renju) for Beginners to Advanced Players by Goro Sakata
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Mar 16, 12

bookshelves: games, japanese
Recommended for: Serious gamers
Read in January, 1983

You know that pen-and-paper game kids sometimes play, where you take turns writing Os and Xs on graph paper and the winner is the first person to get five in a row? Well, in case you weren't aware of this, there's a galaxy far, far away (sometimes called Japan) where it's played in deadly earnest. Professional players have subjected the theory to the same intense scrutiny that our culture has applied to chess, and it was long ago determined that the guy who moves first has a forced win.

But it would be such a pity to lose this fine game, so the rules have been modified to handicap the first player just enough to make it interesting. Read Sakata and Iwata's book if you want to know more. 99% of the people on this site will literally be unable to imagine anything duller. If you're in the remaining 1%, though, it will give you a unique buzz. I can't really describe it, but you feel the ground giving way beneath you in a manner that's simultaneously disquieting and rather pleasant... a little like the high you get from reading a good Philip K. Dick drunk at 3 am in a country you've never visited before. Try it and see.
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Comments (showing 1-11 of 11) (11 new)

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notgettingenough Perhaps this is the place to appeal to goodreaders in case one knows this game, I'd like a copy but I don't know how to find it.

I believe it was a Rubick invention. Each player has 'coins' which are circles one side and crosses the other. Each player is one or the other. It is played on a board maybe 5x5? I think the idea was to get five of yours in a row...but your shot always finishes by turning one of your opponent's over to become one of yours. Does that make sense? I hope I don't have the detail approximately right, I haven't played this for at least twenty years.

message 2: by Ted (new)

Ted Look up Gomoku on Wiki

message 3: by Ted (new)

Ted Although that actually may be a different game? They obviously have a lot in common.

notgettingenough Ted wrote: "Look up Gomoku on Wiki"

No, definitely not.

Manny Gomoku is the simple version without the handicapping rules...

message 7: by Josh (new)

Josh How would you rate this against Go?

Manny Josh wrote: "How would you rate this against Go?"

Go is MUCH more interesting! I have reviewed several Go books if you look on my games shelf...

Maduixa wrote: "What about this one?"

Oh, I think that's the one Not was looking for!

notgettingenough Maduixa wrote: "What about this one?"

Maduixa, well done! I see my recollection of it was rather on the hazy side. It's a remarkably good game considering its simplicity. I had a copy which a friend had hand carved from wood and then taught us to play, hence the lack of information about it.

message 10: by Manny (last edited Mar 18, 2012 11:47PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Manny Well, yeah, but in chess that's normal! Or at least I got used to it some time in my early teens. Seeing people suddenly doing the same thing with five-in-a-row, though...

Manny I'm reminded of the segment in Doonesbury where Zonker appears on TV. The presenter is making cruel jokes about these freaks who take part in competitive tanning events. Zonker, who's been looking forward all week to watching the show, turns to his friend in utter uncomprehension.

"Mike? Why are they laughing?"

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