The myth of the Captain’s Mistress
March 24, 2011
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The story goes that Captain James Cook took a Connect Four on his exploration voyages and became so engrossed with it during the long periods at sea that his crew gave it the name
Captain’s Mistress, a name that has remained till today. This is most likely baloney.
Apart from this anecdote, there is absolutely no evidence that Connect Four existed in any form before it was published 1974 by Milton Bradley. Furthermore, it is highly unlikely that it did.
Because it’s far too complicated, not complicated to play, but complicated to make. Traditional games have always been very simple in their physical form. One of the reasons that Mancala is so popular is no doubt that it can be played anywhere, with anything, starting with six holes in the ground, with coins, in an egg carton.
A game that needs a relatively complex contraption for playing makes sense only if you want people to be only able to play that game if they buy that contraption from you. That was definitely the Milton Bradley’s reasoning in 1974, but nobody’s at the times of Captain Cook.