Personally I consider the game Go a classic – but I’m frequently surprised by the lack of people aware of this one. I always figured it was known more amongst the “chess crowds”, if you will- if for no other reason than because it is such a strategic game. Not to say that it isn’t well known- I’ve seen it being referred to as the National Game of Japan- so I know it has to have some street cred!!
If you’re someone who knows nothing about Go, here’s how it goes:
The game starts with an empty board. Each player essentially has an unlimited supply of pieces, which in this case are referred to as stones. The object of the game to take control of the board by creating boundaries/territories with your stones. In doing so, you can (and will want to) capture your opponents stones.
Each player places one of their stones on an empty point on the board – black always starts first. One thing I still forget for no good reason is you place the stones on the points between the squares, not inside them. Once you place your stone, it can’t be moved by your opponent but it can be captured. Once your opponent collects your stones, they essentially have prisoners.
When you have run out of space on the board, the game ends. Each opponent will count one point for each empty point inside a territory they created, as well as one point for each prisoner. Whoever has the most points and territory is the winner!
That’s the basic summary but there are a lot of additional rules which both complicate and enhance the gaming experience. For example there are specific situations which your stone is vulnerable for capture and other times where it is won’t be- it’s all about placement. For me this caused some confusion the first few times I played it because I usually misinterpreted the “danger” my stones were in… and possibly outraged upon capture…
This game is a must play for anybody who enjoys what I would call “old school” board games. There are no gimmicks here- just space, two opposing sides and foresight. I’ll admit, you’ll want to play with someone of a patient nature. Sometimes it can drag- depending on how aggressive it gets (and how early – if at all… which could almost be a bad thing). But in my experience if you’re playing it right- you’ll love it!!
I appreciate the element of creativity you are required to bring to the game. Maybe it’s just me but designing a simple territory ahead of your competition so you can win requires a lot of thought and manipulation. You will continuously try to throw them off by creating multiple territories at once- alternating placement as to confuse your opponent. “Which fire should I put out first” is the essence of this game.
Please, go get Go!