Thursday, 28 June 2012

Let’s play–Go

I absolutely love boardgames and some of my fondest memories involve boardgame evenings with friends. Luckily for me, I have some friends with a huge collection of games because frankly, many of them are outside my budget. On top of that there is the fact that they often come in lovely but huge boxes which are impossible to take anywhere and a pain to store. That's why I want to make a little series about games that are quickly improvised wherever you are, have reasonably simple rules that are easily remembered and are still fun to play. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against shop bought games. There are many commercially available games that are well worth their money but the point here is to collect games that can easily be assembled why out and about.

The first game I would like to introduce you to is Go because this series was inspired by a conversation I had with a good friend of mine over a game of Go last weekend. I only just learned to play it and I discovered that it has one of the most important features of a good game: It is easy to learn but very hard to Master. It also doesn’t need much to set it up.



Go is a strategy game that is apparently over 2 000 years old. The idea is to imagine that you are a general, placing your troops on the board such that by the end of the game, you control over half of the territory. Don’t get too greedy though, or it will backfire. Here, I laid out the materials needed for a game on a 9x9 board. A full game is played on a 19x19 board but that takes many many stones, a large sheet of paper and is too complicated for the beginning anyway. 

Players: 2

Time: ca 30-60 minutes on the small board shown here


  • A4 sheet of paper
  • pen
  • 2 sets of playing stones with ca 40 stones each. I suggest coins, bottle caps, pebbles, smarties, small Lego cubes,buttons etc. Pretty much anything of about that size will do just make sure that the two sets can easily be distinguished.
  • a ruler is helpful but not necessary

Making the game:

Draw a big square on your piece of paper and then draw in lines to break your square into a field of 8x8 little squares. Don’t just use the edges of the paper as Go pieces are placed on the intersections and that could get annoying. Check that your pieces actually fit into one of your small squares. If they don’t they will later overlap and it will be impossible to play.


I’m not going to try and explain the rules for this one. I only just learned them myself and it requires a few diagrams to get the idea. Don’t be too intimidated though, I had the rules explained to me in about five minutes. There aren’t many. This website here is enough to start playing: Introduction to Go  After that, just give it a go  (sorry, that must win the price for worst pun ever. I tried so hard to keep them at bay but what can you do with a name like that…)

More explanations, which are useful but not necessary.

Some notes on playing on a 9x9 board –> If you don’t know where to start the actual game.

I also found this little booklet on the website of the American Go association: The Way to Go. (<- at least I’m not the only one exploiting the pun potential). It reads a little old fashioned but it’s not too long and also has some more information on the history of the game.


Do you love to play games? Do you know any games that definitely have to be included in this series? I still have a few myself but I’d be very happy about some input.


  1. I always loved to play "Mensch ärgere dich nicht" when I was younger. Somehow, know nobody wants to play board games anymore... definitely should find some people who want to play something with me. I also always loved DKD (the same as monopoly I think, we got this really old version from the flea market which actually had Reichsmark as its currency.. ^^° well not that we/i support that policy but it was a nice old game and came really cheap)

    1. *now, not know XD somehow that typo occurs very often *sigh* dunno why!

    2. I learned, while researching Go, that "Mensch ärger dich nicht" is a simplified version of Pachisi: I think I will have to try this game at some point soon. It looks interesting. :)

  2. Hehe, my boyfriend is really interested in Go, but unfortunately I am not at all. Too much to think for me.. managing and thinking quite a lot in advance is not a thing I like when I play (I don't like to play chess either). So he keeps playing and trying to solve go problems on the internet /with our boards alone. I really adore the look of the board and the stones (same with chess or backgammon) but I prefer looking *lol*.

    We really love to play Pandemie at the moment, it's a cooperative game where all players are playing togehter against the game. Really fun and losing together at least is not that bad.. (even losing means that the world is lost..). You talk a lot with your partners in that game, I really appreciate this. But we own a lot of other games like Carcassone, Fiji (also quite "different" and fun to play), Funkenschlag and so on..

    1. At this rate I might have to end up playing on my own as well. Nobody feels like joining me. Oh well.
      I do love cooperative games as well. I have played a lot of Arkham Horro recently, which is great fun. I find that the only downside to cooperative games is that some people think it's okay to cheat because it is for everybodies benefit. I personally think this defeats the point. It is still fun though.

  3. I'm always wanting to play board games but I don't have any so I'm going to remember this one to play when the time is right! I can't wait to see more if you decide to post them ;)

    1. I definitely will because I don't really own any either. Luckily I have some friends who do but still. Time to make our own little collection ;)

  4. I am quite conservative when it comes to board games. I have few I really love (Monopoly, Trivial Pursuit) and I hate to learn new ones.
    When traveling I prefer to play cards, especially Canasta.
    And if I had to improvise a game like you did, Halma, nine men's morris (Mühle) and draughts (Dame) are the ones I would think of. The have all more or less easy drawable boards and can be played with plain improvised stones. But Go sounds really interesting, maybe I should overcome my aversion and read the rules, only to see if I could like it.

    1. I've somehow never really got into card games, at least not the variety played with a standard deck of cards. I do love some more complex ones like . Gosh, I havn't played Halma in years. As for Mühle and Dame, I played them when I was too young to really put much strategy into it. It might be time for another try.


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