And you thought Battleships was bad

Possibly only Christopher and Bravo will have heard of wei qi. It was while reading Henry Kissinger’s excellent book On China (hands up all those that thought TR/JW only read Spider-Man and stuff like that) that the diplomat described the game that originated in China 2,500 years ago.

Wei qi teaches the art of strategic encirclement. Where the
skilful chess player aims to eliminate his opponent’s
pieces in a series of head-on clashes, a talented wei qi
player moves into “empty” spaces on the board, gradually
mitigating the strategic potential of his opponent’s pieces.
Chess produces single-mindedness; wei qi generates
strategic flexibility.
(page 53 of said book. Who says TR/JW don‘t show his sources?)

Opponents take turns placing stones on the board with the object to protect territory and encircle the weak points of their adversary’s stones. Once a stone or stones are encircled they are taken from the board. They are now prisoners. This is more humane than Battleships. Devastating consequences can be had with a, for example O19 move that could cause HMS Megadeth to sink to the ocean floor. I feel a-tragic like I’m Marlon Brando.

Playing wei qi online move for move could take as long as a 10,000 piece jigsaw of a Picasso blue period painting exploded into dot to dots. The next Guns n’ Roses album will be here quicker. You need the patience of a kettle to play this game. However, soon you are hooked, lined and sinkered to the game. It is that good. It is as addictive as bubble wrap popping.

Time and space are infinite. Anyone fancy a game?

10 thoughts on “And you thought Battleships was bad”

  1. Mornin’ JW. We used to play this game (or something very similar) at school – I think we called it ‘Go’ back in the day, but I could be mistaken as it was a long, long time ago. I’ve no idea now what the rules were.


  2. OZ, Janus: “Wei Qi” is the Chinese name, “Go” is the Japanese name. I am terrible at the game, but I like it anyway — far more than Chess. Perhaps the greatest difference is that in Chess you aim to kill your opponent, in Wei Qi the point is to neutralise her/him but keep her/him alive.

  3. As a big chess fan, this also looks interesting. I need to get Mrs Gazoopi playing as a change from our daily yahtzee.

  4. We began playing yahtzee each day after breakfast in 2004. We expected to play for a few weeks before becoming bored with it as we thought it is a game of pure luck. To try to reduce the luck element we decided to play a ‘set’ up to 200 games.
    The first set took about 3 months. Afterwards we decided to add a new rule and play another set. We kept adding new rules at the end of each set until the point where the game is quite complex, and the ‘luck’ element is almost negated by the tactics and decisions to be made.
    As we are both mathematicians at heart we love it. We still play every day……how sad is that 🙂

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