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Best Games based on the ancient Chinese game of Go

Updated on September 3, 2011

Like Chess, Go is a game of strategy and smart maneuvering. It is one of the longest lasting games in history, dating back over 3,000 years to ancient China. In fact, Go has been such a powerful game that the the fate of countries have been decided on the outcome of a game. The future of ancient Tibet was once decided over a game of Go. Refusing to go into battle, the Buddhist ruler instead challenged the aggressor to a game of Go.

Go is a turn based, territorial game. The object is to occupy as much territory on the bored, called points. At the end, the person with the most points wins. The game is played on a board marked with a grid of 19 lines by 19 lines. Each player then places stones on the intersections on the grid, trying to trap the other opponents pieces.

In each of the games listed below, detailed, easy-to-follow instructions are included.

Basic Go Games

While there are many variations of Go, these classic games remain most popular. For the strategist, there is no more intense game than Go. It's both easy to learn and easy to play. As players advance in skill, so does the skill required to play the game. It's simply one of those games that one can't outgrow.

Typically, Go games run upwards of $100 or more. After scouring for the best and cheapest Go games, the ones listed here remain the best. I have personally played the game listed at the top and found it both affordable and well designed. I was most impressed by the detailed game guide, as it easily walked me through how the game is played. For those that love strategy games, this one can't be beat.

Games based on Go: Othello/Reversi

For many of us, the first time we learned of this game was when it was made popular in Microsoft's collection of Windows games. Still, the game has been around a lot longer than Microsoft Windows. Othello was created by Japanese Salesman Goro Hasegawa in 1971, and has been a popular game ever since.

The rules are based on the ancient game of Go, and the strategies still remain the same. The point is to capture as much territory as one can while protecting their own holdings. The game is much smaller than Go, and, as a result, is much simpler and quicker to play. As the slogan says, it only takes a minute to learn...a lifetime to master.

Games based on Go: Pente

Pente has been around since the 70's, and is quickly gaining in popularity. Essentially, it is an Americanized version of the game Go. While the basic game-play is the same as Go, some of the rules have been altered in order to make the game easier to play.

Games based on Go: 3 Stones

The object of 3 Stones is to get three beads of your color (black or white) in a row on the game board. While similar to Go in concept, this variation steps away from the traditional game and adds a new twist. Before each players turn, the player draws a stone out of the bag. The stone could be black, white, or clear. If the player draws their own color, they play it as normal. If they draw a clear stone, the player uses it as if it was neutral. What makes the game intense is when the player draws the opponents color. Then they must place it to work to their best advantage while trying to help their opponent as little as possible. This game has been one of the most popular games to come out lately, and is a delight to play.

Other Popular Abstract Strategy Games

While these games take on the strategic aspects of Go, they shy away from using the traditional Go rules and game-board. Still, they are excellent games for the strategy-minded game-player and must be included within the Go genre of strategy games.


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