Tag Archives: Board & Card Games

MoyoGo for Free

Moyo Go Studio is now available for free. You won’t be able to get technical support from the author, the database isn’t nearly as big as in the paid version, the printing/publishing module isn’t there, and you don’t get the lifetime of free updates, but if you wanted to check it out you now can. Just follow the previous link to the programs homepage. You will need to use some sort of torrent software such as Azureus or utorrent, as the file is fairly big (205 MB) and torrent is the only practical way of distributing it, plus, I am sure, it saves him tons on bandwidth.

My First Teaching Game of Go

I got my first teaching game of Go today, but before I did that I played yet another bot on KGS. I paid no real attention to the marking of dead stones at the end and hit done quickly. Bad mistake, as the game thought Black (the bot) won by 360.5, when the reality was that White (me) won by 66.5. Unfortunately that was a ranked game and is part of my record. So the lesson from that is, pay attention during the mark the dead stones phase.
Anyhow, for my teaching game, I played a game against a gentleman from Germany (I won’t say his online name here as I am not sure the rules on such things). It was a quick 13 x 13 game where White won by resignation. I was Black and I had a 4 stone handicap, but was far too defensive. My weakness continues to be corners, which even with the computer I tend to loose out on.
Specific things I need to work on. 3×3 invasions when I am on the default 4×4 star point. Building corners period really. Remember to look to connect stones, even if I can’t make a second eye close to the one set, if the other set I might connect to has one eye, then all of them will live. I need to view more moves down the line as I tend not to view too many moves ahead.
Reading the review is a bit harder to follow than the initial time through it since the comments appear when they were entered in, and some of my reactions may have been when he was a few moves from where he mentioned something.

Great Go Blog

ChiyoDad Learns Go is my favorite Go Blog. It is a very good website, especially for beginners. It is where I first learned of Hikaru No Go, which I will probably talk about at some future point (warning, don’t read past the Spoilers warning on that page until you have finished the series). Anyhow, ChiyoDad Learns Go, GoDiscussions and Sensei’s Library (a wiki for Go) are all things that every Go player should have bookmarked and visit regularly.

Where I First Learned of Go

I first heard of Go eons ago when Atari was the king of video games. I knew they were named for a Go term, but not much more than that. When they made their Tengen division, I again learned it was a Go term, but thought nothing more of it for a long time.
When Pente came out, I once again learned of Go. This time I gained a more active interest in it, but didn’t do anything about it.
Somewhere along the line I got back into it again and started learning the game. I learned some basics, and attended a local Go club meeting. Unfortunately for me, the club met at a time and date that didn’t work well for me and I was unable to go. They have since stopped meeting after one of the main guys in the club moved out of the area… not that it would matter since it would most likely still be a bad time for me. 🙂 After being unable to go to meeting, and too intimidated to do anything online, I stopped for a few years, once in a great while picking up a Go book and looking through it. As all things go full circle for me, I am once again pursuing Go, and this time will do more online since there are no local Go clubs. I am learning more this time, and once I get a few teaching games under my belt, I am sure I’ll be good to go (no pun intended).

Interesting Lesson on Counting Liberties

I was looking ahead a bit in my reading of The Second Book of Go (Beginner and Elementary Go Books) and came across the following (I changed it slightly from the book by adding an extra letter, but otherwise is the same save this one is in color rather than 2d black and white):
Counting Liberties in Go
Here we see the marked white stones has liberties at A and B and the marked Black stones have liberties and B and C. Generally when counting liberties that is where I would have stopped. However Black in this case has one more liberty.
White can play neither B nor C, else she puts itself in atari. That is, if she played B, Black would capture that stone and the marked stones by playing A. If she played C, Black would capture that stone and one more by playing D. So White must first play C, meaning even if White plays first she’ll loose as it would take one more move on her part. (Generally in a capture race, with everyone having the same number of liberties, the one who goes first will win.)

My Go Book Collection and Books I Want

Here are the Go Books I currently have:

First is Janice Kim’s excellent Learn to Play Go series. These are basically English translations of books from the Korean Go Association. Very good books to have in your Go library. Some say the problem is that it is spread across so many books, and you get the lessons in one or two books from others, but I like them.
Learn to Play Go: A Master's Guide to the Ultimate Game (Volume I) (Learn to Play Go)
Learn to Play Go: A Master’s Guide to the Ultimate Game (Volume I) (Learn to Play Go)
A very good introduction to Go. As a matter of fact, I would say this one is nearly a must have for anyone who doesn’t know how to play Go at all. Once you know more than just the basics, it might be a bit to basic, but a great introduction.
The Way of the Moving Horse (Learn to Play Go, Volume II) (Learn to Play Go Ser)
The Way of the Moving Horse (Learn to Play Go, Volume II) (Learn to Play Go Ser)
I am nearly done with this one right now. This is probably the first book to get after the basics are learned, even if you skip the first book.

One of the must have books from Kiseido Publishing Company is
The Second Book of Go (Beginner and Elementary Go Books)
The Second Book of Go (Beginner and Elementary Go Books)
I plan on reading this soon. I started it a long time ago, but never finished it.

Go: More Than a Game
Go: More Than a Game
I am reading this one too right now. It is a nice book. Not an introduction to the game, but an okay book after you know the basic rules of the game. I like the other stuff it covers such as the history of Go and the like.

Every Go library needs the Graded Go Problems for Beginners. I have the first 3 volumes. Anything above the first volume right now is above my current level, though I can do some of the 2nd volume stuff.
Graded Go Problems for Beginners, 30 Kyu to 25 Kyu (Beginner & Elementary Go Bks.)
Graded Go Problems for Beginners, 30 Kyu to 25 Kyu (Beginner & Elementary Go Bks.)
Graded Go Problems for Beginners, 25 kyu to 20 kyu (Beginner & Elementary Go Bks.)
Graded Go Problems for Beginners, 25 kyu to 20 kyu (Beginner & Elementary Go Bks.)
Graded Go Problems for Beginners, Vol. 3: Intermediate Problems
Graded Go Problems for Beginners, Vol. 3: Intermediate Problems

Books I want:
Continue reading My Go Book Collection and Books I Want

Another Go Update

I have been playing SmartGo a bit… well I only played a couple games, but I have been playing with some of the other features and I have to say that if you have any interest in playing Go at all, you really should get this program. Speaking of playing games against it, here is my second attempt at a 13×13 board with it. I took a 5 stone handicap since I am still a high kyu player… probably lower then I think, but it has been a while since I played anyhow, so until I get used to thinking that way again I’ll stick to saying I am a high kyu player. I added comments to that game… To use that file you’ll need SmartGo or another good SGF reader, of which there are lots out there.
For those looking for a nice screensaver, there is SunXi’s Go Screensaver. This reads SGF files and displays them on your screen with a very nice 3D effect. Beautiful to watch.

Bunko, A.K.A., Bunco

Bunco, sometimes spelled Bunko, is a party game using dice. Looking around the Internet, there seems to be no “Official Rules of Bunko,” rather a general consensus of the rules.
You need:
12 people. Alternatively you can have 16, but it probably doesn’t work so well with 20 or 24 and so on.
A bell.
3 tables with 4 people each. Obviously if you are playing with 16 people, you’ll need a fourth table.
At each table you need 3 dice, 2 notepads for each team’s “temporary” scores and a pencil or pen for each notepad to mark the score. Alternatively, you can have one notepad and pencil at each table with one scorekeeper per table.
Each player will get a scorecard, to be talked about in a moment.
There is an optional rule for a large fuzzy dice or other soft object.
There is yet another optional rule for another soft fuzzy item.
Not required, but perhaps helpful is a 3 or 4 place holders to say which table is which. You’ll learn more about that in a bit.
Also not required, but as it is a party game, food and drinks is a good idea.
Read on to learn more. Continue reading Bunko, A.K.A., Bunco

Best Board Game?

In the new Knucklebones magazine, Erik Anderson writes an article on the Top 10 Essential Games. Feeling a deck of cards is cheating, he goes on to the list, with Chess as the #1 spot (which he admits “If listing a deck of cards is cheating, this is close.”I agree, it is cheating but hey…) and his #2 choice is The Settlers of Catan made by Mayfair Games, a game in it’s default form for 3 to 4 players. Now, this isn’t the first time I have heard about this game and how great it supposedly is. I have seen it listed as one of the best if not the best board game from many websites that sell games as well.
In the game you setup hexagonal pieces that make up an island, this is apparently random in order so the game is different each time. Each pieces has a resource and is further enhanced with a dice number from 2 to 12, so if you roll that number you collect that resource if you have a settlement or city next to it… We really need a picture here.. An example might serve, you have a grass field who’s resource is sheep, on the top 3 sides of it is water, on the bottom left is a wheat field resource who’s resource is grain, directly below it is a mountain who’s resource is ore, and the bottom right is a forest who’s resource is lumber. You then add a dice value to each, here we’ll say 8 for the grass field, then 10, 3 and 4 for the others in order. You place your first initial settlement at the intersection between the grass field, the mountain and the forest, and then lay a road along the edge lines somewhere. Now, if you or an opponent rolls 8 on the dice you collect 1 sheep resource, if a 4 is rolled you collect a lumber resource as they are the areas you are next to. You want to be in a spot where you can collect the most resources so you can build more settlements (you get two at the start), roads (outside of your first two settlements, the rest must connect to one of the first two by a road), change your settlements into cities (raising the value or resources collected to 2, so in the above example rolling a 4 would net you two lumber resources after the settlement was changed to a city), or buying developer cards. Developer cards either move a thief marker, allow you to build roads without the resources required, give you extra points to the end game, etc.
Now the thief marker is moved on rolls of 7 on the dice, or, as noted, with a soldier developer card. The person who rolls it, moves it next to a settlement/city and steals one of the cards from the player who owns it. The resource that the thief is sitting on will not give up any resources to anyone near it until the thief marker is moved, so you don’t put it next to yours even if you stole from another player who is sharing the same resource.
During each player’s turn, the rolling player may trade resources with the others. They may offer a trade to him, or he may offer a trade to them. You may need one more ore to change your settlement into a city, so you offer a brick resource, which is refused, you then offer two bricks and somebody takes you up on that.
You get points for each settlement, city and for bonus stuff like having the largest army, longest road and the like. The game generally ends at 10 points, and goes fairly fast so long as people don’t spend too much time trading, or raising the end game point value past the rules stated end.
The game was invented in Germany by Klaus Tuber, who apparently is a well respected game designer, mostly because of the Catan games. Seems lots of the more well respected games (not the mainstream games like Monopoly, etc.) come from Germany, not sure why that is…
Anyhow, the game has lots of expansion packs. There is:
Settlers of Catan: 5-6 Player Expansion which as one can see, allows up to 6 players to play the game.
Seafarers of Catan: Expansion Game of Seafaring, Exploration, and Trade, which the Mayfair site says “Expand your Settlers of Catan game in new directions, add Islands, Pirates, Gold, Ships, Islands and Trade.
Explore and colonize the newly populated Archipelago of Catan. Building settlements, roads, and villages by trading commodities from the land and islands around you. Trade sheep and wood for a ship, bricks and wood for a road, build new settlements and improve settlements into cities”
There is Seafarers of Catan: 5-6 Player Expansion which expands the Seafarer’s expansion by allowing up to 6 to play.
There’s Cities & Knights of Catan Game and of course a 5-6 player expansion in the form of Cities & Knights of Catan: 5-6 player exp.
Replacement cards and stuff is available from Mayfair, along with lots of variations on it, like Settlers of Canaan, Kids of Catan and more.

So is it the best board game? I don’t know, but it sure gets lots of good ratings (click the links to the game itself and the expansions to see the Amazon reviews) from everyone, so it must be right up there.

The Wikipedia entry on Settlers of Catan has a far better description then I do…