Go (also called Ishii, lit. "stones") was a strategic game.
Popular Game Edit
Go was the most popular and respected game in all Rokugan, for many it became a passion. In the 9th century the Emperor acknowledged the game's importance by releasing a list of the foremost Go players in the realm. A tournament to determine the best players was held every three years. 
It was played on a rectangular board of 19 horizontal and 19 vertical lines (total 361 intersections), with black and white stones. The two players alternated placing one stone on the board with the objective of capturing as much area of the board as possible. Once placed on the board, stones were not moved; however, it was possible to remove the opponent's stones by surrounding them. One point was awarded for each captured stone, and for each intersection controlled by the player. The game ended when was not possible to gain more territory or to capture stones. 
Teawari was a handicapping system that gave the higher ranked player the white stones, so the weaker player got the first move. The handicapped player was sometimes permitted to put a set number of stones into play before the game started. 
Equipment of Go Edit
A full Go set included the board, a set of identical black and white stones, and bowls to hold stones that were not in play. The board itself was usually one solid piece such that it had legs like a table and sat directly on the ground with the playing surface at a height that players who sat on mats can comfortably play. The stones were circular, but had a bulge such that they were much thicker at the center than at the edges. Although they were always referred to as "stones" the actual composition could be a variety of materials, and very ornate sets were made from such exotic materials as ivory, ground and smoothed clam shells, or even obsidian (although its association with the Shadowlands made many Rokugani uneasy). The wooden bowls generally held all the extra stones until a player used them in the game. The lids to the bowls were turned over and used to hold opponent's captured stones.
Significance of Go Edit
Because the objective was for the player to extend his control but not to overextend, many viewed Go as a game of balance. Shugenja often saw it as a balance similar to the Celestial Order, while courtiers were familiar with such a balancing act in conversations and negotiations.
Another interesting aspect was that many consider Go to be symbolic of combat: the players as generals and the stones as his/her armies. For this reason, skilled bushi often were excellent Go players. Emperor Toturi III was widely known to be the best Go player in Rokugan, but because of his position as emperor he had little time for such games. 
Known Ploys Edit
The following were known ploys and tactics that could be employed in a game of go;
- The Tattooed Friend - It required one player to trust not only in his own abilities, but that his opponent would commit an error that would cause them to lose.  
See also Edit
External Links Edit
- A Game of Go (Heaven and Earth)
- Legend of the Five Rings; Third Edition, pp. 31-32
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