So... I started playing Five-in-a-row a bit more recently, mainly with @Svalinn and sometimes with @Blitz. It's been an interesting experience, I never gave the game much thought until now and just thought it was an actually fun version of tic-tac-toe. (Because well, it takes 10min to memorize all possible moves in tic-tac-toe, that's not really fun to me.) But after playing a fair amount of games, I started to realize it was a lot more complex than I originally thought.
Trying to come up with winning sequences and being able to follow through with them takes quite a bit of effort, there's a pretty big amount of thinking involved when making each move after the first few ones... And after a while, you start realizing you need to imagine what your opponent will do next when planning your move, to make sure you're cutting their attack in the best way possible, or that you're making your own attack in the ideal way.
I started to exercise a skill I had long stopped using from the time I played chess in a semi-competitive environment. Reading the opponent's plan and starting reading ahead in the game... As in, rather than playing each move on its own, needing to actually plan things out and work in making the plan function the planned way. Often times you end up realizing a plan in your head won't work out due to some constraint you didn't foresee, so you need to go back to the drawing board... And well, that's fun~
I ended up googling a bit about strategies of the game, but uhn... The stuff I found was either too basic and said nothing I didn't already know about or was far too advanced and I didn't understand a word of it. I'd need to search more if I wanted get better at the game... And like... I kinda got interested in learning and getting better.
At the same time, I don't think it's actually a good idea to try learning it seriously... I mean, I only play it here on NUF, and studying to get better at the game to only play here would probably just create a skill gap that would ruin the very fun of the game that I'm having right now... It's somewhat of what I feel when I play chess nowadays actually, pretty much everyone that invites me to a match ends up losing because I still have the experience and skills from the time I played semi-competitively... I'm definitely not as good as I was back then, but I'm fairly confident I can win against anyone that never studied... It's not really the kind of situation I wanna get into in a game I play as casually as this one! xD
Overall, I'm having fun, been a long time since I played a Chess-like game and found someone that wanted to play it regularly (last one I got a bit into was Go, and while I had plenty of fun with it, I only found some people in university that played it before lunch, and then they changed their playtime and I never met anyone to play it with... >.>). I guess I just like this kind of game, it's nice to experience some of them after being stuck with only chess for so long~