All About the Board Game Go: History & Gameplay

Go is a classic Chinese game that takes a lifetime to master.

Go the board game is a classic Asian strategy board game that is now popular all over the world. The game is ancient and easy to learn, but it requires strategy such that it can still be interesting to play for years after you have "mastered" it.

History of Go

Go is said to have originated in ancient China, and though the first written reference to the game is from the 5th century BC, it is believed to be much older than that.

The Chinese name for Go means "enclosure," and the basic concept of the game is to capture more territory than your opponent by enclosing more of it with your pieces (known as stones) so that your opponent cannot access it.

The basic Go board is made up of a square grid of 19 by 19 squares, but the amount of the board that is used for a game can vary. Playing on a 9 by 9 grid is a popular choice for teaching people how to play the game.

While Go the board game originated in China, it has been popular throughout East Asia, particularly in Japan and Korea. It wasn't known in the Western world until a German who worked in Japan wrote an article about the game in 1880. It became popular in Germany and Austria at that time, but didn't become a major sensation through Europe.

Go is still not incredibly popular among Westerners, though it has gained more popularity since the 1950s. In China and Japan, it was considered a game for the noble classes, and there is still a professional association of Go players that confers certificates and ratings on Go players from around the world.

Playing Go

The object of Go the board game is to surround your opponent's game pieces so that he or she can no longer move and to control as much of the game board as possible. It sounds pretty simple, but some have called Go the most challenging game in the world because of all the variables involved.

In terms of strategy, Go is similar to checkers and chess even though the rules are not similar.

Go game pieces are black and white and are usually either disks or have a seed-like shape. Players take turns placing their stones on the intersections of grid squares, with black going first.

A player can capture the other player's stones by surrounding them, at which point they are removed from the board. Stones that are placed next to each other become a unit and cannot later be moved.

When neither player can add more territory or capture more of the other player's stones, the game is over. The score is tallied by how many of your opponent's stones you have captured and how many empty points are enclosed by your stones.

Go the Board Game Strategy

There are many different strategies involved in the game Go, and it is said that this is a game that is difficult to play well. The best players spend years developing a winning strategy.

Basically, however, the most important strategies for Go the board game involve keeping your stones as connected as possible while keep your opponent's stones as separated as possible.

Go must be played with a balance of being conservative, sticking to the sides of the board and keeping your pieces together and playing with your mind on attacking, spreading out and trying to cover more territory than your opponent. While Go can be an educational game, and simple versions of it are sometimes used to teach math, it is complex enough that it will provide a lifetime of entertainment.

Buying Go

Go is a popular enough game that you should be able to find it at local toy shops or board game kiosks. If you can't find it locally, try one of these websites:

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All About the Board Game Go: History & Gameplay