Best Go Boards (Reviewed)
We spent over 25 hours playing and testing out 18 Go boards. And after a lot of deliberation, we have narrowed down the list to the best six across different segments.
Here are our top picks.
Last Updated: 26th Mar, 2020
Are you looking for a board game with simple rules yet complex gameplay? The answer isn't actually to look for something new, but a classic that you may have overlooked.
Take the game of Go, for instance.
This game, developed in China, was created over 2,500 years ago. In fact, the game is thought to be one of the oldest board games in existence. Being an imperial game with the objective of capturing most territory is what made the Go, so famous back then. But its dexterity, and intuitive gameplay is what has caused the surge in popularity of this classic game in recent times.
Go may seem like just another grid-based game, but in reality, it's one of the most complex board games with over 300 times more combinations possible than Chess. The complexity of the game even caught the attention of the brightest minds, like Albert Einstein and Alan Turing. And it was only recently the computer could defeat the world's best Go player - Lee Sedol.
It's a fairly simple game to get to grips with, but once you do, you'll love it. It's a strategy game where you aim to 'capture' your opponent's playing pieces. These pieces often called 'stones', are placed on the grid. Once they're placed, they cannot be moved. However, they are captured when they are surrounded by four of the opponent's pieces.
The game can be as simple or complex as you want it to be, making it ideal for players of all ages and skill levels.
Sound like something you would enjoy? Then here are some of the best Go board game sets currently on the market. They all offer something different, which you're bound to love.
Our Picks for the Best Go Board Game Sets
- Yellow Mountain Imports Bamboo 0.8 Inch Etched Go Game Board Set- Pro Pick
- Brybelly Go Set With Reversible Bamboo Go Board - Best Overall
- WE Games Wood GO Set With Pull Out Drawers - Budget Pick
- Yellow Mountain Imports Go Game Set Magnetic Go Game Set - Best Travel-Friendly Set
- Mose Cafolo 2in1 Go Game Set & Chess Game Set - Multiple Game Options
- Go Set With Natural Wood Board - Bargain Pick
1. Yellow Mountain Imports Bamboo 0.8 Inch Etched Go Game Board Set: Pro Pick
Want to get started with Go? Then you're not going to go wrong with this set. It includes everything you need to get started playing, including a copy of 'The Way To Go', Karl Baker's booklet on learning the rules of the game.
The board itself is impressive, featuring two different kinds of grids on both sides. One has the standard 19 x 19 inch playing field, where the other has a 13 x 13 one. This board is perfect for learning how to play, or for just playing a quick game of Go. It also makes it a good board for playing with kids. The board is made of layers of pressed bamboo, making it incredibly environmentally friendly.
As well as a high-quality board, you get high quality playing pieces too. These stones are official Yunzi stones, the type used in professional Go tournaments. They have a great weight and feel to them, improving to Go experience. Included with the set are two bamboo stone storage bowls to keep them together as you play. There are even straps on the bowls to keep the lids on as you transport the game.
Finally, there's a high-quality carry bag included with the set. It keeps the whole set together, as well as making it easy to take wherever you want.
- Double-sided board for more play options
- Etched board in the style of ancient Go boards
- Bamboo bowls for stone storage and transport
- Highly stylish board that will look great in your home
- Double convex stones for authentic play
This board really gives you the quintessential Go experience. With the learner's booklet and smaller play grid, you can easily learn and get to grips with the game.
2. Brybelly Go Set With Reversible Bamboo Go Board: Best Overall
This Go set gives you everything you need to enjoy the classic game. It's priced reasonably and is a perfect set to play with families or friends. It's a hard-wearing, long-lasting set that everyone will love playing for years to come.
The stones used for play are made from Bakelite, an incredibly resistant material that can take so much use without even showing a dent. Using this material shows that this company is dedicated to creating quality games. You'll never have to worry about them being broken over the years as you play. You'll get bamboo stone storage bowls too, so you'll have storage sorted as soon as you get this set.
The board itself is made from bamboo, and features a reversible design. With the 19 x 19 side and the 13 x 13 side, you're set for anything. Let the kids play on the 13 x 13 side, and once they've gone to bed, you can enjoy a game on the 19 x 19 side with your partner.
This game is made to mimic traditional Go boards. It measures 47 x 44 cm, as they aren't usually a perfect square. Due to foreshortening as you look at the board, you'll see this board as a perfect square as you look at it. It really gives you the perfect experience.
- Attractive bamboo board and bowl design
- Bakelite playing stones for long-lasting play
- 19 x 19 and 13 x 13 grid options
- Traditional Go board design
- Perfect for everyone in the family
This is the best overall Go board on the list. It's well made, gives you different options for different styles of play, and comes at a very good price.
3. WE Games Wood GO Set With Pull Out Drawers: Budget Pick
This version of Go is simplistic compared to others on this list, but it still gives you everything you need to play a great game. As it's our budget pick, you know that it's still offering great quality and innovation at a lower price point.
The board is both playing ground and storage unit, as there are pull out drawers on either side of it. These are designed to hold your Go stones, which come with the set. They are easily put away when not in use, and the board can be slotted on a shelf without taking up a lot of space. You'll also see that the drawers can be pulled out partway during play, keeping your stones neat and tidy and minimizing the risk of losing one.
The entire board measures 12 inches square, making it smaller than other boards but also making it one of the convenient boards on this list to store. This is good news if you're a board game fan, as you already have so many boards taking up space on your shelves. This one won't take up a lot of space at all, especially as you won't need another box to keep it in.
- Budget price makes it available to everyone
- Storage drawers built into the board, perfect for storing stones
- Small size makes it easy to store away
- Wood veneer gives it an attractive look
- Offers traditional 19 x 19 grid
This budget Go board has everything you need to play Go, even if you're not looking to spend a lot. Despite the low price, it's well designed and even gives you features you can't get with other boards.
4. Yellow Mountain Imports Go Game Set Magnetic Go Game Set - Best Travel Friendly Set
Think Go isn't a game that you can take with you on vacation? You're wrong, as the name implies, it's the perfect game to take on the go, anywhere. If you buy this set, you have the perfect travel version of Go ready to play wherever you are.
The set includes everything you want from a Go set. That's the magnetic board, the stones, even the stone bowls. It's just all scaled-down and made to work as a travel set. Like many other travel games, the Go game board folds in half, so it's easily slipped into a bag before you set off. You won't need an extra bag or box, as everything you need is inside this folded up board.
What's impressive is that you still get stone storage bowls with this set. These white plastic bowls hold all the stone pieces, and they still fit in the board when not in use. They're a neat and simple solution to holding the stones when they're not being used. The stones themselves are made of high-quality plastic and use magnets to hold them down onto the board. They will not move until the game is over.
- Magnetic board for easy on the go play
- 180 white stones and 181 black stones
- Board measures 14.7 x 14.6 x 1.1 inches
- Board folds in half, containing all pieces when not in use
- Traditional 19 x 19 grid
This is the best travel-friendly Go board on the market right now. It's small, and the magnetic board prevents the stones from falling off while playing. In all, this set gives you everything you need for games on the go!
5. Mose Cafolo 2in1 Go Game Set & Chess Game Set: Multiple Game Options
What's better than a Go game set? A Go game set that doubles as a chess set too. This set gives you both all in one package.
You're seriously getting value for money with this game set. The board is the same quality you would expect from any other Go set, being made of pressed bamboo. It also measures 47 x 44 inches, just like most traditional Go boards too. The board works by having the Go grid on one side, and a chess board on the other. If you want to play a different game, just flip the board over, and you're ready to go.
As you'd expect, the games come with all the pieces you'll need to play them. That includes a full set of Go stones in black and white. You'll also get a full set of chess pieces, including one extra queen in each color. They're all high-quality pieces that will look amazing when in play, or just on display in your home. You'll even get the bamboo bowls too, to keep your playing pieces in.
- Double-sided board for double the play features
- Full sets of both Go and chess pieces
- Traditionally sized board
- Bamboo construction for authenticity and environmentally friendliness
- Perfect for the whole family
This Go board is an excellent choice if you want to get the most bang for bucks. And with a high-quality construction too, it will last for a long time.
6. Go Set With Natural Wood Board: Bargain Pick
You want a great Go board, but you don't want to shell out a lot of money for it. If that sounds like you, pick up this Go set. It has everything you need, but you won't need to spend a lot of money to start playing. It makes it an excellent pick for your kids, if you want something they can pick up and enjoy.
Just because it's the bargain pick doesn't mean that you're not getting a quality product. This natural wood board comes with silk-screened lines, to create a legible and clear grid to play on. The stones are made of Bakelite in order to make them hard-wearing and feel good in the hand as you play them. Everything is the highest quality possible in this set.
The board itself measures 11.4 x 11.4 inches, making it small and compact. It's easier to store if you don't have a lot of room, and there's the option to transport it with you if you want to play Go elsewhere. You'll also get two resealable bags to keep the stones in, so you can keep them all together when you're not playing the game.
- Smaller board size makes it easier to store and move
- Natural wood board gives it an attractive look
- Bakelite stones for sturdiness and hard wear
- A great option for beginner players and kids
- A good price for what you get
This pick is one of the best if you're looking for value for money. You can start playing with this set and get to grips with the rules, and it's still attractive enough to leave out in your home.
Go Board Buyer's Guide
You would think such a simple game would be easy to buy. Surely you'd just pick the cheapest option, right? In fact, there are lots of things that affect how the game is played. Here are some things you need to think about if you're choosing a Go game set for yourself.
How much do you want to spend on your Go game? There's no denying that you can get really great sets for only a few dollars. If you're just starting out learning the game, or you want to have something to give your kids to play, then you don't want to spend a lot on a high-end board. In these cases, a cheaper board works just as well and gives you what you need.
There's a lot of times when you will want the higher-end model, though. There are lots of Go boards that look amazing in your home when used as décor. You can leave them out on your coffee table, ready for a game whenever you want. These are going to cost more, but they're made with premium materials and often look amazing.
<Board Build and Materials>
Now, think about the materials used in the creation of your Go set. The higher quality they are, the longer the board will last for. If you anticipate it getting a lot of use, then you're going to need to look into getting better quality materials. This includes bamboo boards and Bakelite playing pieces.
If you just want a board that everyone can enjoy, then a plastic set is more than good enough for every day play. You'll also see that travel sets come in plastics, so keep that in mind when picking out a set.
Environmental concerns play a part in your choice here, too. There are lots of boards that are made of bamboo, which is an ecologically friendly material. These materials are great for the environment, so if that's a concern of yours, then you'll want to look into them.
When you buy your board, who's going to be playing it? Usually, it'll either be adults or kids. Do you want to buy a set that your kids will play with on rainy days with their friends? Is it a set that will help them learn how to play? If so, smaller, more durable plastic sets could be just what you'll want. The kids will love playing with them, and you won't worry about the set itself as they will be able to take enthusiastic play.
If you want a set for adults, that will look good in your home as a decorative piece, look at higher-end models that come in the traditional sizing formats and materials. They look amazing, and will certainly be a conversation piece when you play with friends.
Finally, do you want to be able to take the game around with you? There are portable sets on offer, including the one mentioned on this list. Ensure that the set you're looking at has magnetic parts, to keep them all on the board as you play.