Having watched my nine year old niece and her seven year old brother’s skill at Connect Four (seriously, they can beat most adults without trying), I figured that those same spatial reasoning skills would make them natural go players. Not having a board handy, I decided to build one:
- Go to the Pittsburgh Go Association’s section entitled Materials and download the 9×9 Board.
- Print the 9×9 Board and fasten it to something. I used a glue stick (of which my sister had PLENTY) to attach it to the gray side of a piece of cardboard I had cut out from a Golden Grahams box. Use your discretion if Golden Grahams aren’t available. 🙂
- Go to your local game store (game meaning DnD or miniatures, not game as in xbox 360). Here in the St. Louis area, we have several options for stores, many of which can be found at the Game St. Louis website, in the Links section. Otherwise, just do a search for ‘st. louis game store’ and look for something in close proximity.
- Look for something called ‘gamer stones’ or as a more generic term ‘glass stones.’ They won’t look like your typical Go stones, but for the board I was building, this wasn’t an issue. In fact, I felt that being able to buy tubes of blue stones and tubes of yellow stones made the set more interesting for my younger audience. These tubes (with 25 stones each) cost me $2.50, but a few of the local places I’ve found have them for under $2.00. I made sure that each player had 50 stones (based on a 9×9 board having 81 points) and then bought them a nice velvety bag to hold them in.
Altogether, less than $15 investment for the knowledge that I’ve contributed to the mental development of my niece and nephew. While this set was for younger children, there’s no need to consider it only a set for juveniles. A club with a limited budget and newcomers would be just as well playing on a similar set.
Consider stopping by Wal-Mart and picking up one of those cheap lamination kits. Your board might have a tendency to last longer with this added layer of protection.
Also, I’ve read somewhere that local glass places will often have spare pieces of glass that could be used as stones. I haven’t tried it, but it might be worth it for the cost-conscious buyer (allegedly, these stones are practically given away).
Finally, remember you could always do something like making stones out of construction paper. Get a compass and construction paper in two different colors. Find the right size measurement (I’d estimate between .5″ and 3/4″), then draw and cut.
If there are any other suggestions about construction feel free to leave them in the comments field. Otherwise, good luck on your own endeavors.