Go, or Weiqi, is considered the oldest board game continuously played today. While I was fascinated by the AlphaGo dominance over human players, I never got around to learning the game myself. My hope was that the Black long Di fang Travel Magnetic Go Game Set would be a low-stakes introduction to this – at least at its highest levels of play – notoriously complex and abstract game.
It comes in an unassuming box. The no-frills presentation continues with what’s inside. You get the foldable 11″ (19 x 19) game board with built-in storage cubbies for the two included plastic cases of black (181) and white (180) magnetic playing pieces. That’s it, which would normally be fine, but unfortunately, I found the quality a bit lacking.
The game board itself is nice enough in its own way and certainly looks the part. Where things start to fall apart is with the plastic piece storage bins. They’re lightweight, to say the least, and really don’t stay closed well, something I found out all too well when the black pieces spilled out when unfolding the board.
The black and white “stones” are reasonably well-formed, but they feature really weak magnets. While this makes sliding the pieces on the board a breeze, it doesn’t bode well for the “travel” part of the game. There’s zero chance I would trust these pieces in a moving vehicle or any other similar situation where I wouldn’t want pieces to go everywhere.
While I can do without instructions – after all, that’s what the wonders of the internet are for – even at the competitive price point, it’s harder to live with the relative lack of quality, especially as a travel set. I think I’ll definitely be looking to something else for a deeper dive into the world of Go.