Equipment for Playing Go

Go utilizes the most basic materials and geometries, including line and circle, wood and stone, black and white. These are combined with simple rules to produce refined strategies and multifaceted tactics that can boggle the mind.


go10The Goban is the ground, or board, on which the game is played. The board has a printed grid measuring 19 squares by 19 squares, although some other sizes are also common. The smaller boards measure 9 by 9 or 13 by 13. However, it is possible to find even more unique board geometries. A customary Go board has four legs and stands on the floor, but countless contemporary boards have no legs and are manufactured for tabletop play. These are known as table boards.

Rookie players regularly play on paper with the aid of a 13 by 13 grid, permitting them to get the feel of the game without coughing up a lot of cash on a full sized board, or spending time on extra complicated, full-board games. Physical boards are traditionally made of light colored timber. They vary from inexpensive models like roll-up carpets and folding boards, to expensive, classy boards and stunning customized floorboards with legs, and assembled with profound attention to detail with exotic timber such as the sought-after Kaya. Either way, all these boards serve the same function of providing a field of play for the Go players.


go11The stones are the playing pieces of Go, and are positioned at the intersections of the lines on a Go board. They are usually black and white and made from plastic, glass, marble, clamshell or slate. These stones are made in many sizes, ranging from 7 mm to 11.3 mm in diameter. The price of a set of Go stones varies from a few dollars to thousands, depending on the quality and materials used. The most expensive stones are made from slate (black) and finely carved clamshells (white).

A complete set of stones comprises 180 white stones and 181 black ones. The stones are identical and round. It is customary to have a bowl for each participant’s stones, using the overturned cover of the bowl to keep apprehended prisoner stones of the opponent’s color during the course of play.


go12The bowls are merely a place to store one’s stones when they are not part of the play on the board. They are not an essential component of the equipment. They are customarily made from timber or plastic and are typically the most inexpensive component of a Go set. Some boards are designed to have drawers to store the stones so that one does not need a separate bowl. However, most boards do not have such drawers. The captured prisoner stones are simply place on the cover of the bowl.