The old board game Gomoku is not just popular in the Orient. This abstract strategy board game is rather adored in the Occident too. But if you’re still unaware of this wonderful game, you’re in for a treat. For those who are thinking that they’re going to have to wait to play it with their friends until after the whole ‘social distancing’ situation simmers down, let’s put those wicked thoughts to rest.

Apple users can play Gomoku with their friends over iMessage. If you’ve never played a game on iMessage before, dare we say – a double treat! Playing games over iMessage is way more convenient than traditional online games. You don’t have to wait for the other person to come online: just start a game, and the other person can get to it whenever they have the time.

Another perk of playing games over iMessage is that you don’t have to play the entire game in one go. Just get to your turn whenever you find the free time. And the other player would do the same. Each turn in iMessage is sent as a message so you can open the message, see what the other player has played, play your turn, and send the message at your convenience. It’s that sophisticated. So let’s get started!

How to Get Gomoku in iMessage

To play Gomoku in iMessage, you’ll first have to install the game within the Messages app. These games are available to play only within iMessage and not as standalone apps on your device.

Go to the Messages app on your iPhone and open an iMessage conversation thread. You can open an existing chat or start a new one.

Then, tap the ‘App Drawer’ icon on the left of the messaging textbox.

The options for iMessage apps will appear underneath. Tap the App Store icon to open the App Store.

Now tap the ‘Search’ icon and search for the app ‘GamePigeon’. If you search for Gomoku instead, you’ll end up empty-handed. GamePigeon is a collection of two-player games in iMessage that offers Gomoku and other games like Mancala, 8-ball pool, etc., under their umbrella.

Tap the ‘Get’ button to add GamePigeon to the roster of your iMessage apps.

How to Play Gomoku

Now that you actually have the game on your phone, it’s time to get down to the actual business of playing it. After installing the app, close the App Store and return to the App Drawer. Swipe left to navigate to the icons on the right and tap the icon for ‘GamePigeon’.

All the available games will appear. Tap the thumbnail for Gomoku.

The game will load into the message textbox. Tap the ‘Send’ button to send the game invite. The other person will get to the play the first turn should they choose to engage in a game with you.

Game Rules

The iMessage game consists of a 12×12 board and sets of black and white stones. Player 1 gets the black stones automatically. Both players alternate turns to place a stone of their color on the intersection of the tiles. The objective of the game is to get 5 of your stones placed consecutively on the board.

To play your turn, place the stone on the intersection, and tap the ‘Send’ button at the bottom. You can change the position of your stone any number of times before sending your move to the opponent. But once you tap the ‘Send’ button, you cannot change it – you could say it gets set in stone.

The first player to get five consecutive stones on the board either horizontally, vertically, or diagonally wins. So, in addition to trying to get your 5 consecutive stones on the board, you also have to block the other player’s stones from forming the winning pattern. Once you get the basics of the game down, you’ll have to strategize your moves to win.

Hot Tip: The player who gets the first turn traditionally enjoys an advantage that increases their odds of winning over the second player. So, when you want to have a match of Gomoku, the first strategy you can employ is to get your friend to send you the game invite so you can have the first turn!

Gomoku is sure to prove a stimulating pastime for you and your friends where you’ll have to engage just the right amount of your brain – neither too much that it starts to feel like a task nor too less where you start to get bored. What are you waiting for?