Go is a 3000-year-old game of strategy played by over 24 million people world-wide. Play is simple, place stones at key positions to surround territory and capture enemies. The rules can be learned in minutes, but Go has yet to be mastered.

Ancient Go is designed specifically to be new player friendly.

The current Early Access version of Ancient Go include basic tutorials which explain all that is needed to play and a computer opponent.

Additionally there is an early version of online play available. I will be doing my best to make it robust and keep the server online, but due to the nature of development, it may not be available at all times. When available it supports playing with Steam friends, and posting public games to a list.

Ancient Go uses Unreal Engine 4 and is 64 bit. As such the minimum requirements may be more than some expect. It is full 3D, you can move the camera with the mouse by hold the right mouse button down, and by scrolling. Graphics settings are tuned automatically based on the current frame-rate. It is possible to play on slower machines, but the graphics may tune down substantially for you.

For new players the rest probably wont mean much, but players who know Go, read on.

The rules used are based on the AGA ruleset, but there is no stone removal phase. All stones on the board are alive. I found the stone removal phase to be confusing to beginners. In order to accurately autoscore and skip the removal phase, all stones in play must be alive.

The AI used is a combination of Fuego (which is open source) and a custom AI. It is tuned to approximate 22 kyu, 18 kyu, 14 kyu, 2 dan. There are issues present which are in most AI’s where on larger boards especially the AI fails to see larger strategy, but performs well in tactical situations. As such the AI ranks become significantly worse if play is geared to take advantage of this fact. It is possible for users to replace the Fuego.exe in the working directory with newer or custom versions as long as it can use the same input parameters.

Suicide and ko are indicated with colored ghost stones, as well as self atari and snapback. It will indicate if the a self atari is a ko.

Online play uses one simple time period which includes 1 x 5 second byo-yomi period as the last 5 seconds. To new players this is a simple timing system, you always have at least 5 seconds to play each turn.

The online server does not record rank yet, and has very limited options. I plan on having the server be quickmatch 9×9 with the above rules and timing. Playing with friends will have more game options. I am still undecided on how to best handle ‘real’ games in the server. I am examining the feasibility of hooking into a 3rd party.