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Rules - How to play Simultaneous Captain's Mistress

Simultaneous Captain's Mistress is a two player game designed by Richard Hutnik in 2009.

The goal of Simultaneous Captain's Mistress is to create a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line of four of your checkers in a row. On each turn:

  1. You and your opponent both pick a column where you will drop a checker. Your choice is hidden from your opponent until both of you have made your selections.
  2. If you picked different columns, both checkers drop normally.
  3. If you picked the same column, the conflict is resolved with an "initiative token" initially owned by red. The player with the initiative token drops their checker. Then, only if there is space left in the column, the other player drops their checker. The initiative token then switches hands.

The first player to get four in a row wins. If both players get four in a row on the same turn, the player who had the initiative token at the beginning of the turn wins.

This implementation of Simultaneous Captain's Mistress and the above description of the rules is based on the IAGO World Tour rule sheet, a copy of which is included here for reference.

Simultaneous Captain's Mistress by IAGO World Tour Enterprises (copyright 2009)


Captain's Mistress is a game with a long history, that has been published under multiple names, such as: 4 in a line, Connect Four, and 4ToWin. It is simultaneous because both players select their moves simultaneously, then resolve. The end result of this change turns the game into more of a war of nerves, and gives it additional depth, even though it stops being a pure abstract strategy game in the process. Note: These rules are encouraged to be distributed for free.


  • Standard Captain's Mistress set.
  • Two sets of cards (numbered 1-7), each number having one of these numbers: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. An 8 sided die may be used, with 8 being no option, or 6 sided. Each player would have one.
  • Two sets of stickers to mark each column 1-7.
  • Initiative token. This token is used for tie-breaking purposes in the event both players select the same column. An item that stands out and is small enough to pass from player to player, can be used.

Preparation of Equipment for Play:

  • Each side has stickers placed on it, either Each column is marked on both sides with the same number on both sides for each column. One side has numbers go from left to right from 1 to 7 incrementally by 1, while the other side goes from left to right 7 to 1, decrementally by 1.

Set Up:

  1. Separate piles of cards 1-7 into two even piles. Give each set of cards to each player. These cards are used to select moves. Determine which player will start with the initiative token. This can be done randomly or by some other method.


  1. Players at the same time select which column they want to drop a checker into. This process is done simultaneously and is hidden. If using cards, one suggestion is to put the selection at the bottom of the hand of cards players have.
  2. Players then reveal which column they selected.
  3. If the players selected different columns then players drop their checkers into their own column, and go onto next turn.
  4. If players both select the same column, then the player who has the initiative token would place their checker first, and their opponent would then place after them, and the initiative token is then passed to the opponent, who then now has the initiative token.
  5. If, when players simultaneously pick the same column, and the first player places their checker in the last open space in a column, then the second player forfeits the ability to place a checker during that turn. However, even though they forfeited the chance to place a checker, they still gain control of the initiative token. Win conditions are checked BEFORE the initiative token switches sides.

Winning the Game:

  1. First player to get four in a row wins the game. In the case that both players win at the same time, the player with the initiative token wins.


  1. As an intro game, use only columns 1-6. Block off column 7. This gives people a good feel for the game before playing the full way. This version is proposed so that players can get used to the game, and also eliminate the middle column advantage found in the normal game. This is how the game was originally intended to be played, but people felt that the simultaneous element eliminated the first player advantage that is gained by playing in column 4. Also, you can play this version using six sided dice as selectors.
  2. Dice may be used instead of cards, if this is what players have available. Six or 8 sided are recommended, depending on how many columns you need for your game. Players would conceal what they select as their move, and the put the facing representing the column they want to select, and then reveal.
  3. A single selection die (or sets of cards) may also be used (rather that two sets of cards, or two dice), and it also acts as an initiative token. In this case, the player with the initiative, who has the selection die (or cards), secretly selects what column they want to drop their piece into. The other player announces where they are dropping their piece, the selection is revealed and then it is resolved. In case of same column selected, the selection die (or cards) is passed to the other player.
  4. In the case that both players win at same time, the player who DOESN'T have the initiative token wins the game. This is a flipping of the normal conditions to resolve simultaneous wins.


For more information on Simultaneous Captain's Mistress, or other abstract games with strategy, contact Rich Hutnik of IAGO World Tour Enterprises at or call (845) 592-0845 in North America.