Jan 27th, 2011 at 18:50:28 - Igo (Other)
= Introduction =
Igo is standardly a two-player strategy board game, but can be played with four players. The game is commonly played under two or three types of rules, but the ultimate goal is to control the most territory. Igo is also known as Weiqi (chinese) or Go (English) or Baduk
= Common Game Terminology =
goban - the game board
grid - a square grid on the goban that has the dimension n x n. The standard dimension used in professional games is 19x19.
stone - a game piece placed by the player that is either black or white
point - an intersection of a horizontal and vertical line on the board.
liberty - an adjacent point horizontally or vertically from a grid point that is unoccupied by a stone
group - all stones of the same color that are at least one grid point across horizontally or vertically. One stone is in its own group.
eye - a free point that is surrounded by a group of stones that are of the same color
dead group - a group in which no stone in the group has a free liberty or eye
alive group - a group of stones that have at least one free liberty; also, groups with at least two eyes that cannot be removed through any sequence of moves cannot be killed
pair go - A game of Igo with four players. Two players each play a stone color. Both 'teams' still play only one move at a time
ko - a single stone that has captured a stone that has only one free liberty after being played. This stone cannot be captured with the following move because it forces the players to play elsewhere on the board to prevent players from repetitively playing the same move sequentially.
tsumego - It can refer to either the life/death status of a group of stones or the study of how to keep a group of stones alive or how to kill a group of stones
joseki - a sequence of moves that seem to give both players an equal result in score or position on the board
= The Game =
Igo is played with two collections of stones -- white and black. Players alternate turns placing stones onto the grid intersections that lie on the board. As mentioned above the ultimate goal is to control the most territory and common strategies involve claiming territory, invading, attacking and defending.
= Players =
Players choose either white or black as their stone color. Typically the more experienced player chooses white because black has an advantage of going first because that player 'gets the first move.'
= Game Play =
The initial state of the game is usually on an empty board. Whichever player controls the black-stones places their stone first. A handicap may be given to the player controlling the black-stones by placing a few stones onto the board before the first move. In a handicap game, the player controlling the white stones plays first. Then, players alternate turns placing their stone onto the board.
Intersections of grid lines on the board are known as points. When a stone is placed on the board, nearby points that are vertically or horizontally adjacent are known as liberties. A liberty is free if no stone exists on that point. Stones can connect together to form groups through adjacent liberties that are either horizontally or vertically adjacent to that point. When a stone or group has all of its outside liberties surrounded by stones of the opposing color, the group is said to be 'dead' and removed after the last move.
When an unoccupied point or group of points are surrounded by stones of the same color, that area becomes the players 'territory' so long as those stones aren't killed when the game is ended.
Igo has existed for a long time and over that time strategies have been studied in hopes to obtain the perfect response to the opposing players moves. The study of keeping a group of stones alive or killing a group of stones is known as Tsumego. A sequence of moves that has been studied to give equal results, such as equal amount of territory surrounded by both players is known as Joseki.
= Game Rules =
Players usually play by two types of rules: Japanese or Chinese. However, both rules seem to result with an equal score.
Under Japanese rules, the player who has surrounded the most the most territory at the end of the game wins. Point occupied by the players stone do not count towards territory.
Alternatively under Chinese rules, players earn points for each stone on the board that is alive.
= Analysis =
Igo was a fun game; I really enjoy the game and admire how people have studied strategies in attempts to find the best result; however, I believe a really fun game comes from self study and analysis from both players. After you play versus so many people and reach a decent level of skill the game can't help but suffer from too much familiarity as any game would as players make very similar sequences of moves; Having an opponent make a 'mistake' and taking advantage of it can make it somewhat more enjoyable. The higher skill level you reach, the game seems to become more of a challenge to see who can memorize the most 'standard moves'. Alternatively, enjoyment can come from studying Tsumego problems by yourself.
This entry has been edited 6 times. It was last edited on Jan 27th, 2011 at 22:13:11.
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