How to Play Gomoku ? Gomoku Rules

how to play gomoku gomoku rules

Today I’m going to talk to you about a board game that I like very much, namely Gomoku. In this article we will see the rules that compose it as well as the variants that are proposed.


Gomoku comes from the Japanese word gomoku narabe which literally means “alignment of the five pawns“. This game is basically a Chinese board game, or it is called Wǔzi qí.This game consists of aligning 5 stones on the intersections of a GO board. It is better known as Five in a Row.

Gomoku Rules

The gomoku is played on a 19×19 squared board (like Go). It represents a total of 361 intersections where it is possible to place a stone.

Each player has 60 stones that they take turns placing on the intersections. The player who starts the game is the one who has the black stones. The player with the black stones places his first stone on the central intersection of the board. Then the white player places his stone on one of the 8 intersections adjacent to the black stone. The black player does the same and so on until one of the two players succeeds in aligning 5 stones of his color.

It is possible to align these 5 stones in the 3 possible directions: vertical, horizontal or diagonal.

If both players place all their stones and neither player is able to achieve a 5 stone line up, the game is declared a draw, and they start again. A game is usually played in two innings, so that whoever started with black gets white the second time.

Gomoku – Renju Rules

The renju version is played on a restricted 15×15 board. The renju version has fewer intersections than the standard version, 225 intersections. The rules are almost similar to the standard version but with some modifications to reduce the advantage of the player who starts the game (Black).

These restrictions for Black are the following:

  • Black is not allowed to make a double series of 3 (three-three) or 4 (four-four) stones aligned or separated by a single intersection.
  • It is forbidden to line up more than 5 stones, e.g. by joining 2, 3 or 4 stones to make a line of six or 7 stones.
Example double series three-three

Gomoku – Swap Rules

Example – Starter Swap Rules

The first player to start the game places the first three stones anywhere on the board (Black, White then Black). The opponent chooses the color he wishes to play. The starting player must make sure that the stones are placed equally for both players so as not to give one player an advantage over the other. To win, 5 stones of the same color must be placed in a row. Overlines of more than 5 stones are not allowed.

Gomoku – Swap2 Rules

Example – Starter Swap2 Rules

This version of the game is an extension of the SWAP variant. The player who starts the game places the first 3 stones (Black,White then Black) anywhere on the board. The opponent then chooses the color he wants to play and can then place two more stones (one white and one black) and let the first player choose the color. To win, 5 stones of the same color must be placed in a row. Overlines of more than 5 stones are not allowed.

Gomoku Time Limit

The time limit on most tournaments is set at 10 minutes per player for one game.

Gomoku Board – Amazon

If you wish to buy a game board for Gomoku, I suggest you go and see this link (As an Amazon Partner, I make a profit on qualifying purchases) :

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By ayed_amira

I'm a data scientist. Passionate about new technologies and programming I created this website mainly for people who want to learn more about data science and programming :)

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