June 10, 2020
A majestic Go board can really pull together a room. It says to any visitor: “Would you like to play Go now? It's right here.” Hopefully the answer is yes.
And if you're looking to be a Go influencer, it's essential for those Instragram photos.
But if you want to play Go somewhere other than your home, theoretically even outdoors, a majestic board isn't going to cut it. It's heavy, awkward, and it's going to get scratched to shit.
So I needed a good travel board. Just in case I want to be a, uh, Go influencer at some point.
My first one was a $20 set from the mall:
It's light, and slides into a designer backpack or shoulder bag easily. But these stones have all the weight of chewy fruit candies; it's impossible to play with force without stones skittering off the board. A gust of wind could end a photo shoot.
Even more portable is this one, folded into book format. It was a gift from a friend who keeps rats as pets, and has the quality of having actually been chewed by rats:
The stones are bigger, and it's got a 13x13 on the back, but aesthetically, it leaves something to be desired. The rat story is cool, but how are you going to be a top Go influencer with a piece of red cardboard and a book telling you what atari means?
So I went online. Years ago I'd ordered my good board from GoGameGuru, but the site has since shut down, so I needed a new retailer. I soon found myself on the Kiseido site, looking at some very unique boards:
Ordering from this place, though, looks sketchy. The SSL is broken and the reasons do not inspire confidence.
Seeing as I don't want my payment information compromised en route, or perhaps stored in a plaintext file somewhere, I kept looking.
Now this one looked ideal: a roll-up magnetic Go board, in a convenient travel sling. It's like I'm going to Yoga, except I'm definitely not – the sweat is rather from spending the afternoon generating affiliate links.
The stones stay in place, and there's even the option to stick it to the fridge, so you can consider Go problems while you're making smoothies. Or you can write out motivational phrases for yourself!
But now your hordes of followers expect new phrases all the time, so it's a fridge board now, and not a travel board at all.
What I needed was a mix of everything. A set I could take from the office to the bar. Something with heft, but not too much. One with an intoxicating Cherry finish.
It came with a convenient carrybag for the bowls, and the board slips into a large tote bag. I wouldn't want to carry it around all day, but my assistant can.
When this pandemic is over I am going to be such an influencer.