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The Rules of The Captain's Mistress


The Rules of The Captain's Mistress

The Captain's Mistress is supposedly the game that so engrossed Captain Cook during his long voyages, that his crew gave it the name that has stuck to this day. Modern day copies such as Connect-4 are simply rehashed versions of this game.


The game is set in a box that also acts as a store for the wooden balls. The lid of the box, while opened, acts as the playing area. It has 7 channels into which balls can be dropped and there should be 21 balls of a light shade and 21 balls of a darker hue.

Preparation and Objective

All chutes start empty which is usually achieved by temporarily removing the retaining bar that lies along the bottom of all the chutes allowing the balls to fall into the box. A coin is tossed to decide which person plays with which set of balls. The player with lighter balls plays first and this is generally thought to be advantageous.

The aim is for a player to get four of a player's balls in a row, diagonally, horizontally or vertically. To offset any advantage in going first, a series of games should be played and the player with the most games at the end wins the match.


Players take turns to drop a ball into the chute. The game is won as soon as one of the players drops a ball into a chute that successfully completes a line of four balls. Should all the balls be played without a line of four balls having been completed, the game is drawn.



These rules are provided by Masters Traditional Games, an Internet shop selling quality traditional games, pub games and unusual games. For general information or for copying and copyright, see our Rules Information page.

Our rules are comprehensive instructions for friendly play. If in doubt, always abide by locally-played or house rules.

Copyright Masters Traditional Games © 2019. All rights reserved.

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