Quick-Play Travel "GO" Set




About: Hello. I am #1 Son. Yes, my Dad is Kiteman.

The ancient game of Go pre-dates chess and draughts, has simpler rules, yet its subtleties defy attempts to computerise it.

Normally played on the intersections of an 18x18 grid (thus giving a playing area of 19x19 points), quicker games can be played on smaller boards.

This Instructable details the manufacture of a 7x7 travel board with unique reversible pieces and the capability of preserving a part-played game.

(I have to own up to this being a collaboration with Kiteman. Blame him for any weird language.)

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Materials

You will need:

  • A large, empty matchbox (known as "cook's matches" or "kitchen matches" in the UK)
  • Some dead matches, burned as little as possible (yes, I lit and extinguished these matches deliberately)
  • Scrap card, preferably corrugated.
  • Decorative paper.
  • Sharp things, including a Dremel with a 2mm drill-bit, glue (we used PVA woodglue) and a permanent marker.

Step 2: The Board

Draw a square grid of six by six squares. You can do this by hand or with the software of your choice, just make sure the grid is slightly smaller than the internal width of the matchbox drawer. For our matchbox, we made a grid 55mm wide inside a square 63mm wide.

Glue the grid onto the corrugated card and trim to size to fit the drawer. If you have enough corrugated card, use two or three thicknesses glued together.

Trim it square by sawing it with a serrated knife blade.

At each of the 49 intersections, use the sharp thing of your choice to poke holes through the board, large enough to accept a matchstick. We ended up drilling the holes with Kitedad's Dremel.

Glue the board into one end of the matchbox drawer.

You may like to cut a rectangle of card to form a fourth wall around the board, which will also prevent the spare pieces falling across the board.

You may also like to decorate the outside of the matchbox (mainly to prevent it looking like a matchbox!) - the easiest way is to glue coloured paper around the box. You can also decorate it to suit your personal taste. If you are making this as a gift, then decorate it to suit the recipient's taste.

Step 3: The Playing Pieces

As you may have guessed, the playing pieces are not the traditional stones, but matches. We'll still call them stones, though.

Trim the matches to slightly shorter than the internal height of the matchbox drawer. For our matchbox, that turned out to be 2cm long, which also meant we could get two stones out of each match.

Oddly, I have found that the best tool for trimming matchsticks to size quickly is a cheap pair of wire-cutters (the kind with the square notch in the blade).

Use the marker to colour one end of each match black. Each match can now be used as a "white" or "black" stone, depending which way up you place them in the holes.

The matches can be stored in the drawer, lying beside the board.

Step 4: Playing the Game

"GO" is normally played for territory - far-reaching tactical moves to capture as much of the 19x19 board as possible.

Such tactics do not work on a smaller board, and the game is instead played to "first capture", making it ideal for the beginning or impatient player.

Starting with black, players take turns to place single stones on the board, one at a time, wherever they like.

When a single stone is placed on the board, all the spaces immediately adjacent to the piece are called "liberties". Stones in the main board have four liberties. Stones on the edge have only three liberties, pieces in the corners have only two.

If all the liberties of a stone (or of a continuous block of stones) are filled by stones of the opponent's colour, then that stone (or block of stones) is captured. In this short version of GO, this ends the game.

Players can play as many games as they like, scoring either by the number of captures, or by the total number of stones captured.

For more on playing Go, check the British Go Association website. They have a brilliant comic that teaches play to capture.

Epilog Challenge

Participated in the
Epilog Challenge

Be the First to Share


    • Book Character Costume Challenge

      Book Character Costume Challenge
    • Made with Math Contest

      Made with Math Contest
    • Cardboard Speed Challenge

      Cardboard Speed Challenge

    20 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    another marvelous instructable, kiteman! Even though you weren't the only one working on it, it still has that "kiteman pizazz" that only you can add in. Awesome job!


    10 years ago on Step 4

    Great looking ible! I've been looking for a design for a travel Go board - can't wait to try this out. I think I'll try what you suggested and dip the matchsticks in ink, rather than trying to colour by hand, though.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    9x9 didn't fit in the matchbox with enough space to handle the matches comfortably. You can still play to first capture on a 7x7.

    KitemanRock Soldier

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Starting at the right-mos corner, count three spaces along the back row. A white piece there fills all the liberties of the right-most black piece, making first-capture.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for the idea, I plan to make a wooden versions for my Go club.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Simple but effective- I like it!

    Here's an idea- you could make paper inserts to go over the top of the board to give boards for playing different games. I'm specifically thinking of a chequerboard for draughts or a grid for Nine men's morris (or mill as kostya calls it).

    I've been meaning to pick Go up again and have a long train journey tomorrow- maybe I should make one...


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Very, very well done! Clearly you are learning from a Master. Good language, lots of very clear photos and drawings with each step (and annotated!), sufficient for anyone to reproduce or modify. This is the sort of I'ble that deserves to be referenced in a "how to make an Instructable" guide.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Nice instructable! I used to play English board game of mill with my son. I wonder if it is still played in England. We used halves of matches as checkers. I think there's a problem with the cardboard. After a few games you'll find that the holes are too loose to hold "stones'. I would recommend to add a sort of stopper in the middle of each match.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    You should have made the Altoids tin version and used self-striking matches with the heads intact for a survival kit.

    Haha, weird language, you're a rebel.

    1 reply

    10 years ago on Introduction

    Nice, will vote when it is ready. Subscribed and favorited.