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 Post subject: Floor Goban help choice
Post #1 Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:10 am 
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Hi everyone,

I'm a beginner and I have already a Table Go Board for playing (very cheap but enough for my skill). I have decided to enjoy myself with a Floor Go Board, but my budget isn't very big :( (around 250$-300$).

I wish one day I can buy a KGT Board but for now it's just a dream :bow:

I have read a little for choosing a correct one and I hesitate with Agathis or Shin kaya, here are some links I have found:

- 5.5 inch Agathis from Yutopian
- 6 inch Agathis from Korea
- 6 inch Kaya (not sure ??) with minor marks

Which one did you think it's the best? The Goban from Korea is out of budget and I don't see big difference with the Goban from Yutopian...

I haven't choose the stones yet, I like the yunzi but not sure convex or biconvex, or agathis.

If you have any other recommandation don't hesitate ;-)

Thanks in advance for your help :salute:

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 Post subject: Re: Floor Goban help choice
Post #2 Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 8:43 am 
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Congrats on your decision to get a new board & stones. Here's
a few ideas for you:

Yunzi stones have a great history to them. You can read
about it here:
http://www.ymimports.com/t-aboutgo.aspx#boards

An alternative to Yunzi you might consider would be glass.
Yutopian has both Korean and Japanese Glass stones, with
Korean being 1/2 the price:
https://www.yutopian.com/yutop/cat?prod ... ategory=Sg

You'll find some thoughts on single vs double convex stones
in this thread:
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=5455&p=90913&hilit=double+single+convex#p90913

Of the floor gobans you listed, for the price
I like the Yutopian one. (just make sure your
"back" can handle long play sessions on the floor).

Happy shopping! :)

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 Post subject: Re: Floor Goban help choice
Post #3 Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 2:42 pm 
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The Yutopian one is the best value you posted. It seems like a very fine board.

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 Post subject: Re: Floor Goban help choice
Post #4 Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 4:00 pm 
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Sorry if this post appears twice. I am resubmitting it because it did not appear the first time.

WARNING: Do not trust that eBay "kaya" board to be real kaya. A genuine kaya board of any serious quality is, and has to be, quite expensive.

Your best value choices are agathis and shin-kaya. Personally I like agathis. It is a harder wood than shin-kaya (spruce) and lacks a beautiful natural grain, so agathis boards are traditionally "painted" with a wash that can be anything from a neutral tan or khaki color to a warmer yellowish or light brown, which I prefer. Shin-kaya is softer and makes a nicer sound when a stone is played, but is also more easily dented, scratched or damaged.

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Post #5 Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 5:51 pm 
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Actually, I once saw a very beautiful kaya floor goban with nice lacquerware decorations on the sides for a very reasonable price on a Japanese auction site. But no one submitted any bids for it and I was very curious as to why. It turns out that the floor goban was being shipped from post-disaster Fukoshima. At the end, it ended unsold.

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Post #6 Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 6:43 pm 
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Here is my advice on go boards. Since you are French, you can substitute wine for the beer in the original! :blackeye:

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Post #7 Posted: Wed Feb 20, 2013 9:49 pm 
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If I were to invest in a floor goban, but I didn't have the funds for genuine kaya, I would go for katsura instead. And I wouldn't want anything less than 4-sun thickness. I like the look and general quality of katsura over shin kaya, but finding affordable katsura gobans is not easy outside of Japan or Korea. Which is one reason I don't have one yet.

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Post #8 Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:43 am 
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Quote:
WARNING: Do not trust that eBay "kaya" board to be real kaya. A genuine kaya board of any serious quality is, and has to be, quite expensive.


I completely agree here. That board you posted from Ebay looks dubious at best, though that could just be because it's old (Kaya darkens with age). I don't think it's Shin-Kaya (the lines aren't well pronounced) but I'd avoid it nonetheless. I see sellers on Ebay all the time saying they're bowls are "Mulberry" when they're just Chestnut; or trying to pass Katsura or even worse Shin-Kaya as the real Kaya.

A couple of points to watch out for (I know I'm going off on a tangent but bare with me). Going off of pictures alone, Shin-Kaya usually has a VERY pronounced and dark grain whereas Kaya is generally subtle and and light. Kaya usually has a much closer grain than it's imitators due to long years of growth.

Based on my observations, Mulberry bowls will almost never have an Itame cut. The wood is just too expensive to waste and it's quality demands masame.

In my opinion the quality of wood for Go Boards is as follows...

1. Japanese Kaya (Especially Kaya from Miyazaki-ken)
2. Chinese Kaya
3. Katsura (because of the size of the trees the cuts for Katsura are always Itame)
4. Agathis
5. Most everything else
6. Shin-Kaya (Alaskan Spruce) (I have no love for "Shin" Kaya! :grumpy: )

If your willing to wait a few months and don't mind dealing with a third party I recommend ordering a board through Yahoo Auctions Japan. You'll need to go through a third party site if you're not actually in Japan. There's a few services out there and I recommend shopping around.

Check out this seller. He makes boards from Chinese Kaya and sells them on Yahoo Japan for a very decent price. With surface shipping it'll be about the same price as some of the boards you're considering but at a much higher quality. Make sure your buying a Go and not Shogi board since he sells both :). I have a friend in Japan that bought one of his boards and it's rather nice, not the same quality as Mr. Kuroki's but a good substitute.

http://openuser.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp ... kayakoubou

If I had to choose one of the boards you listed, I'd pick the Agathis board from Yutopian. It seems the best cost for what you get and looks rather nice.

Anyway, I hope this helps!


Last edited by Erythen on Wed May 29, 2013 4:10 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Post #9 Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 11:48 am 
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Quote:
Actually, I once saw a very beautiful kaya floor goban with nice lacquerware decorations on the sides for a very reasonable price on a Japanese auction site. But no one submitted any bids for it and I was very curious as to why. It turns out that the floor goban was being shipped from post-disaster Fukoshima. At the end, it ended unsold.


I feel sorry for the board. A nice go board that is unused is a sad thing indeed and the history behind it only deepens the feeling.

I had the opportunity back when I was in Japan to help with the clean up effort in Tohoku. While moving through the rubble I happened upon a small white go stone, it was rather sad and made (for me) the tragedy all the more real. Someday I'd like to go back to that town once it's rebuilt and return the stone to the city.


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Post #10 Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:04 pm 
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Erythen wrote:
I had the opportunity back when I was in Japan to help with the clean up effort in Tohoku. While moving through the rubble I happened upon a small white go stone, it was rather sad and made (for me) the tragedy all the more real. Someday I'd like to go back to that town once it's rebuilt and return the stone to the city.

Dude ... right in the feels.

Image

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Post #11 Posted: Thu Feb 21, 2013 6:44 pm 
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Erythen wrote:
I feel sorry for the board. A nice go board that is unused is a sad thing indeed and the history behind it only deepens the feeling.
When I read this alone, I was deeply touched.

And then this:
Quote:
I had the opportunity back when I was in Japan to help with the clean up effort in Tohoku. While moving through the rubble I happened upon a small white go stone, it was rather sad and made (for me) the tragedy all the more real. Someday I'd like to go back to that town once it's rebuilt and return the stone to the city.
You have my highest respect.

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Post #12 Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 9:00 am 
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I've seen used Katsura floor gobans in your price range at Japanese importer in San Fran, Kiku Imports: http://www.kikuimports.com/search.php?search_query=go+game+board&x=0&y=0

I do not live near SF so I cannot give you an eye-witness appraisal, but I did purchase a vintage 2-1/4" Japanese Katsura table board from them after Christmas ("DAD!! I thought you said you weren't gonna buy any more go boards?!") for a modest sum that I am very pleased with.

For comparison, Yutopian recently updated their website and now lists a 5-1/2 inch Japanese Katsura floor goban for $810 (https://www.yutopian.com/yutop/cat?product=TJ135&category=T) which is approximately three times their price for a comparably sized Korean Agathis board.

I like the darker wood of the Katsura boards, and the fact that it is a bit hardier than Hiba, Kaya, or Shin-Kaya means it will survive the knocks of life in better shape.

I also own a 2-1/4" Agathis board from Yutopian, which works very well with my Korean Nano-Silver green-tinted glass stones, but for slate & shell stones you really need to have a Kaya or Katsura board underneath--it just looks, feels, and sounds right!!

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Post #13 Posted: Fri Feb 22, 2013 5:47 pm 
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Those Kiku Imports goban are used and in only good to fair condition. Wiser, I think, to save up some more money and invest in a new goban. Again, as I said before, the real problem seems to be availability--not just affordability--anywhere outside of Japan.

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Post #14 Posted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 9:08 pm 
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zslane wrote:
Those Kiku Imports goban are used and in only good to fair condition. Wiser, I think, to save up some more money and invest in a new goban. Again, as I said before, the real problem seems to be availability--not just affordability--anywhere outside of Japan.


I take the contrary position. Antiques are cool. All go boards are going to be used items, in moderate to fair condition, in a few years. A go board that has been played on for decades and, assuming it was well cared for by someone who enjoyed doing the chores, it will have some unique character, if not exactly the class and sharpness of a pristene board.

You know those photos you see on eBay every now and then of antique shell and slate stones? They're often in bad shape, discolored, stained and chipped. I got to play with a set that was in that kind of condition. The go stones had not been mistreated, the set was just 100 years old. IMagine that. I was playing go with artifacts crafted by people who were probably dead before 1900. The type and size of clamshells these stones were made may no longer exist on this planet. I'm not saying there was anything spiritual about playing with those stones, but imagine the stories they could tell.

Tough decision, buying an old and heavily used go board without touching it.

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Post #15 Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 1:53 am 
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If all you are looking for is a board which has been around for a period of time such as 100 years, it's not that hard to find something in quite good shape if you look hard enough. Why pay for something that is not in a condition you would want to own just because it's an antique? It's one thing to admire someone else's 100 year old badly shaped, discolored, stained and chipped stones, and it's another thing to purchase something old because it is old but which you might not really like. The condition of an antique is a very important part of it's valuation.

My personal preference is for really nice looking equipment within my budget unless there is some overriding reason which tells me I must try to buy it. And I have bought an old set with more than 200 years of history with the floor goban signed by Honinbo Satsugen (1733-1788) and it's still in acceptable shape. Would I buy the same set with the signature and calligraphy on the back but in really poor condition. Probably not as I might not even get a chance to be able to use it for a game if it looked like it was about to fall apart.

Anyways, if you are contemplating spending hundreds of dollars or more to buy a nice floor goban, it'd probably be a wise decision to get a copy of "The Go Player's Almanac 2001" from Kiseido and read the chapter "A Survey of the Best in Go Equipment" so you know what to look for before making an expensive purchase.

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Post #16 Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 2:15 am 
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tchan001 wrote:
Anyways, if you are contemplating spending hundreds of dollars or more to buy a nice floor goban, it'd probably be a wise decision to get a copy of "The Go Player's Almanac 2001" from Kiseido and read the chapter "A Survey of the Best in Go Equipment" so you know what to look for before making an expensive purchase.

Good tip. Honestly, my general requirements for a decent goban is that it be level, free of warping or cracking, and of an attractive grain.

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Post #17 Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 2:13 pm 
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I would not buy an antique strictly from photos. There is simply no way to judge the actual condition and quality of the goban you see in those listings. It is not worth the gamble, IMO. The virtue of buying a new goban is that you get to imbue it with your battle scars; the board tells your story as a Go player, not someone else's (if you want to get all romantic about it).

I bought an old shogiban off eBay from an online antique dealer and I was not as impressed with it as I thought I would be based on the photos and the description (which was full of innaccuracies, as I was to discover later). Caveat emptor!

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Post #18 Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 7:42 pm 
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Old floor gobans are a dime a dozen at flea and temple markets in Japan. It kind of like seeing a bunch of old chess sets at garage sales in the US.

If you want to buy an old goban, just fly to Japan and get it - you spend a similar amount of money but you get a trip out of it instead.


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Post #19 Posted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 10:38 pm 
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badukJr wrote:
Old floor gobans are a dime a dozen at flea and temple markets in Japan. It kind of like seeing a bunch of old chess sets at garage sales in the US.

If you want to buy an old goban, just fly to Japan and get it - you spend a similar amount of money but you get a trip out of it instead.

Yeah, I think that depends HEAVILY on where you are flying from. For me, that is the difference of around $1000 USD.

And I hated the time I last spent in Japan. Really, really terrible experience with the country as a whole.

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Post #20 Posted: Tue Feb 26, 2013 9:12 pm 
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csobod wrote:
badukJr wrote:
Old floor gobans are a dime a dozen at flea and temple markets in Japan. It kind of like seeing a bunch of old chess sets at garage sales in the US.

If you want to buy an old goban, just fly to Japan and get it - you spend a similar amount of money but you get a trip out of it instead.

Yeah, I think that depends HEAVILY on where you are flying from. For me, that is the difference of around $1000 USD.

And I hated the time I last spent in Japan. Really, really terrible experience with the country as a whole.


My airfare to Japan is about $1800 but its still cheaper than trying to buy a nice board online.

And I have no problem with Japan, sorry. You must have stayed there for a long time to judge the country as a whole, because I am not sure if I could even do that yet with my native land.

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