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 Post subject: Hosting a Go Workshop
Post #1 Posted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 2:39 am 
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a fellow club member posted this on the OGS forums, but I thought L19x19 might also have good suggestions, so I am reposting it here.

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Hi there!

There will be a Japan Festival at the Historical Museum in Bern (Switzerland) on the 15th of September 2019 (come and visit!). Now, my local Go club was asked to do a workshop there and a few of us decided to take things in hand.

However, I have no idea how a “Go workshop” should be made up. We expect around a thousand to 1500 visitors to the event. The audience will be partly Japanese expats living here, but mostly local people who probably never heard of Go before. Space seems limited. I happen to work at that Museum and asked my boss about the space, and she said, it’s gonna be rather tight.

I thought about maybe two tables, one where two players from the club play a match that laypeople can kiebitz, with another one of us commenting what they’re actually doing, and a second table with equipment, books, tsumego and the like, where we can show people the rules. Maybe some 9x9 boards and stones which people can use to try out a match on their own.

Can some of you maybe give us some advice? I’d appreciate it very much.


Some people on OGS have suggested printing out fliers and having only 9x9 boards for people to play on. Only 1 or 2 19x19 boards and nothing complicated (i.e. tsumegos, tesuji, etc.), focusing on getting people to play; I think these are pretty good ideas. Are there any other things we should know about or any other things we could implement?

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 Post subject: Re: Hosting a Go Workshop
Post #2 Posted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 3:13 am 
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My go club organised 3(?) of these "workshops" so far and just getting people to comfortably play the game yieled the most success - as in people visiting and staying at our tables.

Print out enough flyers where the basic rules are established (1 DIN-A4 page max), maybe offer to go through them and then just let them play. Don't teach and don't kiebitz too much, let them have fun. 9*9 boards are best in regards to space and duration of games.

We also had a separate flyer with infos about our club and some links to follow-up online.

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This post by SoDesuNe was liked by: Bill Spight
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 Post subject: Re: Hosting a Go Workshop
Post #3 Posted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 4:09 am 
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I participated in one of these festivals years ago in Hawaii, as one of the players. My impression is that showing a live game when space is limited and people are milling about is not very engaging to people who do not already know the game. SoDesuNe's suggestions sound good. :)

I also wonder whether noise will be a factor. I gather that you will be in some indoor public space. Without rugs and tapestries such places can be very noisy. In that case you might have posters and videos that people can watch and read in silence.

Good luck!

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 Post subject: Re: Hosting a Go Workshop
Post #4 Posted: Sun Jul 07, 2019 12:49 pm 
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Hello Jonsa,
I've never been in such an event, but members of my club do that often. They bring 9x9 gobans in cardboard, and several sets of stones in plastic. Ideally, the banner of the club, and the giant magnetic goban.

They explain the capturing game rules. During this phase, people must interact as much as possible with the game, rather than to stand and listen.
The first questions to ask to the people coming to you are "do you know this game ? How did you heard about it ? Do you wanna try ? It's easy"

Then, the next principle is to play a stone (on the intersection of the grid). Do not show them. Hand them a stone and ask them to play it on the grid themselves.
Never say it "wrong" or "bad". When they don't play correctly (i.e. they play a stone inside a square), tell them its nice, a good idea, but in the game of go, what we are going to do is rather playing on the intersections.

Then let them try to capture a stone by themselves. Just tell them they have to surround it with the least possible enemy stones. Tell them it also possible to capture several stones at once.

At this point, they can play atari-go (capture go) against each other. The first player to capture a stone is the winner. You can start with a cross-cut shape already on the goban if the players are too slow.

It works very well with children. Adults might be disappointed by the simplicity of atari-go and interested in the real goal of the game.

Have flyers with the contact of your club, and if possible flyers presenting the game, if your federation can give some to you.

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 Post subject: Re: Hosting a Go Workshop
Post #5 Posted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 12:08 pm 
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We do this regularly.
I understand it is a one-time workshop. You will be (only) one of the many stands at this festival, I understand. Don't expect too much. Don't take it too difficult or too serious.

Some -additional- ideas:
- Have flyers available. Also give some to the organizers and other stands.
- Most people will be passers-by. They come for a chat and out of curiosity. Greet them friendly and chit-chat along.
- Some people can perhaps be persuaded to sit down (have 2 seats and a table free for visitors).
Invite them to a game on 9x9, even persuade them. You can play handicap or not. Do not teach or learn them the game. Just explain some basics like liberties, ko, 2 eyes when appropriate during the game. It is just meant to be a first, fun introduction.
- Have a separate table available and set some books, magazines, flyers, a 19x19 board, perhaps some artwork and the like on display.
- If you have a laptop and electricity, or perhaps also a big screen, there are many more possibilities.
- Consider having some coffee/tea/water/refreshments and some cookies or sweets available.
- Consider having some background music.
(- don't play capture go)
- Greet them friendly when they leave. Invite them to your club if they seem interested, but don't expect new members.
- Anything you can think of to make it more inviting. See attached picture from a children's festival: even Miffy plays go.

Just make it a fun day!


Attachments:
File comment: Even Miffy plays go
DSC05067 b002.JPG
DSC05067 b002.JPG [ 186.83 KiB | Viewed 284 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Hosting a Go Workshop
Post #6 Posted: Mon Jul 08, 2019 1:43 pm 
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I have run several such events and participated in many others. My suggestion is that your friends try to imagine they are first timers just hearing about MechaWars 5000 or a similar tabletop war game that uses models and props. What would they care to learn or to just hear about? They cannot possibly expect to be immersed in the lore, craft, and backstory. They might just get an introduction to the most basic rules set.

The problem with trying to interest folks in Go is they’re not really very interested. The things we find fascinating about Go are just noise to video gamers, poker, bridge, chess, or Scrabble enthusiasts.

These days, my main function at such events is to encourage the organizers to do their best not to scare anyone away.

The AGA once had a warehouse full of cardboard punch-out 9x9 sets. They were fabulous. Apparently they’ve been out of stock for decades.

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