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  • How to win

    We know that every pattern can be categorized as win or loose. A first step in studying different patterns is to break the pattern into pieces that can't be connected with a rod. Rotations and reflections of a connected piece can be considered as equivalent. Translations can become non-equivalent,  and  are not the same. The simplest loosing position to give the opponent is . Working backwards from this, other loosing patterns are found.
     +   ,  +  +  ,  +  et cetera.

    The first table enumerates patterns that are connected. The second table shows all patterns and Win or Loose.

    The empty grid is a loosing pattern. There seems to be a lot of different moves to make on an empty board but they all lead to winning patterns for the opponent. Here is a recipe for winning:

    Let the opponent start the game. Complement the move so that one of the black regions are covered with rods. You may have to rotate or reflect one of the images to find one that fits. After his or hers second move, create one of the grey patterns. From here on it should be no problem to connect to smaller loosing patterns. Some examples for the last figure is given below.