Go: A Game As Old As Time

Chances are you’ve seen people playing a game of Go in the park or on TV, maneuvering around little black and white stones on a large wooden board. While Go may be one of the simplest games to learn, it offers countless opportunities for developing strategies and tactics to beat your partner and steal their territory out from underneath them. Go gives you the ability to develop your own unique style, providing you with countless of hours of mindbending fun.

The History of Go

Go is one of the oldest board games in history, but its simple rules belay an endless amount of depth. Go was first mentioned in the Analects of Confucious in around 500 BC, while the earliest physical evidence of the board game was a Go board discovered in 1952 in the tomb of the Han Dynasty, which lasted from 206 BC to 9 AD.

There are many urban legends and scholarly anecdotes about the origins of Go, the most popular of which is that it was invented by either Chinese emperors, court astrologers, or an imperial vassal. Many claim that Go was invented by Emperor Yao to amuse his son, while others claim that Emperor Shun created the game to make his son smarter. No matter who invented Go, its popularity and endurance have certainly been well established.

Learning the Rules

Because Go has been around for so long, there are plenty of different variants of the game that come with all sorts of different rules. However, the standard game is usually the same. It starts with an empty board, which is a 17×17 grid. Each player is given a bunch of stones to use, with one player using black stones and the other using white.

The goal of the game is to use your stones to form territories by blocking off empty spaces on the board. Players will take turns placing one stone at a time on the intersections of the lines. Once you’ve placed a stone, you can’t move it. However, you can surround your opponent’s stones and capture them, which allows you to take them prisoner.

The game ends once the board has been filled or when both players agree to end it. At the end of the game, players will tally up the points by collecting one point for every empty space within their territory and one point for each of their opponent’s stones they’ve captured. Like the game of chess, Go requires you to think many steps ahead to anticipate your opponent’s strategy and thwart their plans before they can succeed.

Variants of Go

Go has many different variants that differ in areas such as the scoring method and the placement of handicaps. Tibetan Go begins with six stones from both colors placed on the third line within the grid. The Korean form of Go (called Sunjung baduk) begins with eight stones of each color laid out on the grid in a specific pattern, while Capture Go simplifies the game by declaring the first person to capture a stone the winner.

There’s even a variant of Go called Joker Go that uses a special deck of cards to spice things up. Each player is given a deck of 27 cards that show a unique configuration of stones. Players can then either play a stone normally or draw and play a card, which allows them to place the stones as shown on the card. This can throw a wrench in your plans or your opponent’s plans by reshaping the board in a dramatic way.

Ready, Set, Go

Go is the ultimate 2-person game, as it’s very much a one-on-one game of getting into your opponent’s head. It’s suitable for ages 8 and up, as it has incredibly simple rules that can be understood by any player regardless of their level of skill. Playing time lasts around 30 minutes, although the game has been known to go on for up to three hours depending on the skill of the players.

Go is an excellent abstract strategy game if you’re looking for something to stimulate your mind. Buy Go today and enjoy the limitless fun of this ancient game!

Chess: The Original Game Of War

Chess is the kind of game that separates the men from the boys. While most board games try to ease in newer players as they learn the game, Chess throws you right into the center of the battlefield. Warring kings send their loyal subjects to capture the enemy’s forces and defeat their rivals in this classic yet enduring board game. The opportunity for endless strategies and maneuvers makes Chess the kind of game where no two plays are alike.

Moving the Pieces

As difficult as Chess is to master, it’s incredibly simple to learn. Each piece on the board has its own unique movement that it can use to traverse the board and capture your opponent’s pieces. While the pawns can only move forward one space (or two spaces on the first move), they can only attack diagonally. Bishops can move an unlimited number of diagonal spaces, while rooks can move an unlimited number of spaces left and right.

The knight can move in an L-shape of three spaces forward and then two spaces perpendicular, although you can aim the direction of their movement either forward, to the back, or to the side. The queen is the most powerful piece on the board, capable of moving an unlimited number of spaces in any one direction.

However, the whole game is centered around the king. Although the king can only move one space in any direction, he must be protected at all costs. If another player captures your king, it’s game over. Players typically call out “check” when they’re one move away from capturing their opponent’s king, and “checkmate” when victory is certain.

Chess Strategies

Chess is notable in that there are a number of popular strategies that you can employ to win the game. While new players can certainly play without a strategy, you’ll need to think several steps ahead in order to beat a more advanced player. There have been countless books devoted to chess strategies, laying out classic defensive and offensive strategies for opening the game and capturing your opponent’s king.

Chess is also played in championships all over the world, pitting players of various ranks against each other in an effort to win titles, fame, and fortune. However, you don’t have to be a Grandmaster to enjoy the thrill of Chess. This board game can be enjoyed just as easily by two friends in the park as it can by two masters in a heated championship.

Chess Spinoffs

There are countless spinoffs of Chess that add new elements to the game in order to make it even more chaotic and fun. Code Geass: Knightmare Chess uses two decks of cards in addition to a chessboard that allow you to bend the rules of the game with special abilities. Players will play a standard game of Chess while also drawing and playing cards from the deck, giving you increased opportunities to thwart your opponent and get the upper hand.

Devil’s Chess is another spinoff card game that adds a deck of cards to your typical chessboard. It’s marketed as bringing Chess out of the 6th century and into the 21st by adding modern-day mechanics to this classic game. Players will draw playable cards throughout the game as well as Rule cards, which add special conditions that can mess up your game. It also adds new conditions for winning that can allow you to sneak a victory without taking your opponent’s king.

Take a Dive Into the Classic World of Chess

Chess is a 2-person game, pitting the minds of two players against each other in an incredibly intimate and competitive setting. It’s suitable for ages 6 and up, as younger players can easily understand the mechanics. In fact, younger players are often the ones who become the most adept at the game as they quickly learn new strategies and develop into Chess prodigies.

The playing time for Chess really depends on the expertise of the people playing the game. It can end within minutes if you make a sudden wrong move, but it’s also been known to go on for hours with more advanced players. Buy Chess today and put your mind to the ultimate test!

 

Axis & Allies: The Ultimate Game Of War

Axis & Allies takes the spectacle of World War II and condenses it down to a board game small enough to fit on your kitchen table (but only just barely). Like the game Risk, Axis & Allies uses a board game of a map of the world broken up into various pieces that forces you to strategize your path to victory. Players will have to coordinate with their teammates if they want to beat the opposite powers and win the war.

Choose Your Power

Axis & Allies puts you right smack dab in the middle of World War II in the year 1942. For those of you who aren’t history buffs, this was right when the Axis powers were at their peak. Players have to choose between the Allies and the Axis powers to decide which cause they’re going to fight for during the game. The Allies are split up into the US, Great Britain, and Russia, while the Axis powers are Germany and Japan.

Depending on which power you choose, you’ll have a different goal. The goal for the Allied powers is to claim the two Axis capitals on the board. For the Axis powers, however, you have two options: either take over two of the three Allied capitals or absorb enough of the other side to claim an “Economic” victory.

Pieces of the Game

Axis & Allies is well-known for its length, its intricate game board, and its sprawling number of pieces. The gameboard depicts the world as it was during the Spring of 1942, with countries that are color-coded based on where the power lies. The game board is quite large to allow for all of the pieces to fit within the various countries.

Every player in the game gets a little styrofoam tray packed with little pieces including Infantry, Bombers, Submarines, Aircraft Carriers, and more. They’ll also use little chips to denote extra units of a certain type, which you can stack underneath to signify major forces. Players also get to use paper money to buy new units or to use in weapons development.

Let There Be War

The game goes in turns, with Allies and Axis powers going back and forth to make moves, develop weapons, and stage assaults. Players begin by trying to develop weapons or purchase more units before moving their pieces into position to stage an attack. The main portion of the game occurs when the Axis and Allied players engage in combat, using Bombers, Fighters, Infantry, and Tanks to wipe out the other players.

Axis & Allies certainly involves long and tense gameplay as players go back and forth engaging in combat, transporting troops, building Factories, and earning income. The possibility for endless strategy makes Axis & Allies one of the most intricate and challenging games on the market, but it’s well worth it for hardcore gamers who love a good challenge.

Axis & Allies Later Editions

Axis & Allies has released several later editions since the board game was initially released in 1981. The Axis & Allies Anniversary Edition adds the third Axis nation of Italy while expanding the game board and including over 600 pieces. 

Axis & Allies: 1942 also expands the game board while adding five new sculpts and a few rules changes to make the game even more challenging. Axis & Allies: 1941 goes in the opposite direction, simplifying the game in order to introduce new players to the mechanics of A&A.

Axis & Allies: A Blast from the Past

Axis & Allies is playable by 2-5 players, as there are a total of five possible world powers to choose from. It’s also suitable for ages 12 and up, although it may take younger players a while to get acquainted with the rules of the game. The playing time for Axis & Allies is around 3 hours, so it’s definitely not the kind of game you can play a quick round of.

Axis & Allies is definitely on the more advanced side when it comes to board games, but it’s been a lasting power for decades. The complexity of the game is both its best and worst attribute, but if you’re up for a good challenge you’ll love it. Put your brainpower to the test and buy Axis & Allies today!

 

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