Go: More than a game

The team over at Play More Go have just released their first short Go video.



As explained in their guest article from earlier this year, the intention is to promote the game by showing people what it feels like to be a Go player, and to be part of the Go community, rather than focusing exclusively on the game itself.

This is the first of several videos, with more to come soon.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.

About David Ormerod

David is a Go enthusiast who’s played the game for more than a decade. He likes learning, teaching, playing and writing about the game Go. He's taught thousands of people to play Go, both online and in person at schools, public Go demonstrations and Go clubs. David is a 5 dan amateur Go player who competed in the World Amateur Go Championships prior to starting Go Game Guru. He's also the editor of Go Game Guru.

You can follow Go Game Guru on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Youtube.


  1. Would be nice to see a Go board.

    • lostbeef says:

      I saw a Go Board there in the film. Maybe you are telling if its much better if someone in the film was playing Go right?

  2. I agree with Phil, it could be more interesting if it showed a half way played, Goban. (Or maybe a game near ending.)
    Placing the stones on the board is very attractive too. 🙂

  3. If somebody didn’t tell me what this video is about I would have no idea what it is for. Show a “Go” board at least.

  4. You guys seem to forget that this is the first video of a serie, i guess it’s a sort of hook, and i personally think that not showing a board or explaining the rules right away is a good way to make people curious about it and want to see more. What you expect to see as players will probably appear in next videos.

    • Showing the board, just as long as an eyesight could do much more job. “I think” it was too vague to start any curiosity.
      This movie won’t work if the person is going to watch the next episode, next week. But if this will be the first minutes of a longer movie, then it will be OK.

  5. I feel SUPER guilty being critical, but it didn’t really do it for me, either. It seemed like a collection of vague (and slightly cheesy) analogies. The collection of beautiful young people exacerbated that, to be honest.

    But it’s really easy to criticize from afar – I didn’t do anything other than send some money their way. I’m hoping I’ll enjoy some of the other videos more. And, even if I don’t, I still think it’s wonderful that they’ve worked so hard to make something like this.

  6. To be fair, we aren’t the target audience.

    • “To be fair, we aren’t the target audience.”

      That’s true, and I’d be happy to qualify my opinion. I speak only for myself, and I’ll be really happy if this is something that a lot of other people like.

      And I can’t emphasize enough how shamefaced I am in offering any critique at all. The level of effort put forth by this team to raise funds and then make something has no ratio at all to the insignificant time I’ve spent contemplating it and writing this comment.

  7. glandaf says:

    The movie is well done and perfectly showcase skills in promotional video. It can be useful to “conquer” new potential future player with advertising techniques. Such new players would be people curious about what can be such art, such practice, without knowing anything about the game… but they are not much helped because no go board is shown. From this point of view, the movie has a serious problem.

    But overall IMO it’s off-topic. Bad advertising is lying seduction: it tells you will look more handsome or cool if you drink XXX, and I feel the kind of similar attempt in this movie. There is no idea beyond showing beautiful people in a beautiful way.
    People genuinely intesterested in go are interested in go precisely because it conveys things that cannot be conveyed in other forms: it requires more effort to communicate this (this has be attempted in previous works such as movies or documentaries).

  8. I think this small movie is very well made. It doesn’t look or feel clumsy, that is very good news. I guess it is the first part of more to come. And there is a go board, and bowls, so there is a promise. It is clever: it doesn’t focus on something people don’t care about, a game they do not know. Instead it focusses on what people are incessantly curious about: other people. There is nothing wrong in trying to catch the attention with some fairy tale like story, building up some interest. I hope they can bring this whole story to a convincing end. And that for sure doesn’t include an explanation of the Shusaku fuseki, or ko and seki.

    Kind regards,

  9. Chuck Bell says:

    Sweeeeeet!!!! Very nicely done. This really helps communicate the spirit of this profound game!

  10. The quality of the movie is well done, but imho it somewhat lacks impact as an eye catcher.

    The BGM reminds me of documentary films on space and cosmology, why not put it to good use? At the end of the film somewhere before the credits, it’d be nice to see a shot of a go board & stones in a black background with moving lightsource/camera pan, mimicking those “sun rise” shots seen in documentaries. (I don’t know if that’s too abstract but I don’t know how to explain it in a better way sorry :P)

  11. It’s so nice. I really like it. Can I make Vietnamese subtitle for it?

  12. Sorry, but if I was someone who didn’t already know what Go was, I would have no idea what this video was about. None.

    I might get curious and search google for “go”… but… yeah, we all know that’s not gonna bring up anything go-related.

    Nice video, but it fails completely in its mission.

    • Anonymous says:

      What is its mission, in your opinion? To me, it is making the viewer curious about people and something that is a mixture of art, science and battle. The setting is one of beauty, quite appropriate too. But in the end go is a cut-throat game, an adventure too. If you see this movie and its sequels and you 20+ years old, then you may become interested in the game without any prospect, except having occasionally some fun with the game.

      Kind regards,

      • Its mission is to “promote the game”, right? (took those words right from the post…) How can you hope to promote something if you don’t even show what that thing is?

        Think of this: anyone could steal this video, edit out the 2 seconds that they show go bowls for, then just change the word at the end to whatever they wanted.

  13. munkang says:

    Excellent description of the game GO!

  14. The problem I have with this is that I don’t have a clue what this video is about. Looks like a travel agent advert?

  15. José Fidel says:

    I think it is part of a bigger project, this may be just the intro to a whole movie.

  16. Would be great if there was at least 10 seconds of people playing Go.

    • I tend to agree, in part two. But to non-go playing people there is nothing more boring than looking at two people sitting and watching a board, occasionally placing a stone (in 10 seconds?). Here in the Netherlands there was once a TV-report on the Dutch blitz chess championship. It was a disaster for both the chess lovers and the non-chess playing community. A movie on internal thought processes is almost impossible to do.

      Kind regards,

  17. Graeme Parmenter says:

    Embarrassing! Pretentious. Portentous (the music). Go – more than a game! A comedy perhaps? And a go board laden with stones is graphically interesting whether you know the game or not. Is that something to hide?

  18. Thinking it all over: if the goal is to make people familiar with go, this movie as a start of a series looks promising, it all depends on the communication channels you use. Prime time TV would be best, but hardly possible. YouTube? No, only people who know go would watch it, and they don’t need it.

    If you really want to spread go in a serious way, compulsory go lessons at school, starting at the age of 6, is the only way. Those that like the game, have the talent for it, float to the surface easily. But that will not happen either, at least in the West.

    Again: what do you want to achieve? To make the non-aware of the game aware, letting those that have the go virus hidden inside know there is something special waiting for them, is about the only realistic goal. Then those people have to decide for themselves, some will play, some not, and that is it.

    Kind regards,

  19. Nicolás says:

    This video seems to be motivational, convincing you that you have to take charge of your life and stop staying in one place: It’s time to go! . . . yeah, that’s right: The verb “to go”, not the board game.

    Sorry guys, nice try.

  20. I agree with most of the people here: despite a bowl here and a scribbled diagram there, recognizable for those who know what to look for, this first movie doesn’t reveal the central theme.

    Perhaps the problem lies with the mission itself: to show that Go is much more than a game. To me and – I believe – to most amateurs it IS a game. One of the best games in the world, sure, but still a game. And when I’m in the club, I’m surrounded by other gamers, slightly nerdy, mostly male, middle aged aficionados or procrastinating students, quite remote from the ultra fit sociable youngsters shown in the movie.

    This is one of the main reasons why I quit Go: it’s indoors, not physical and socially awkward at times. Maybe it’s the movie’s purpose to turn those tables but omitting the game itself for that purpose seems to reveal the inherent issue.

  21. I agree with the general consensus here that a Go game in play should be included at the end of the video. People should know what the video is actually about. In this day an age, if I see a video like this and I have no idea what it is about, I won’t bother to watch another one. I’ll assume it is some kind of commercial for a product and there’s just too much noise out there. It’s like the commercials preceding YouTube videos: I have my finger hovering over the countdown to skip. However, I think the video up to the end is very nice and I have no problem with it. Just add a few seconds of people actually making moves of an opening and enjoying themselves.

  22. I get you are trying to tease people into curiosity about what could be described as such a wonder. Unfortunately, I think without a few clues – like a glance at a game in progress or at least a board with a few stones on it, many people would feel like they were cheated into interest. It is great to go for a broad audience but fact is that not everyone would be interested. I also think the intellectual challenge is underplayed and the ‘sports’ challenge is overplayed in the ad. It is not boxing, dancing or swimming. How about other drawing on other games of skill like poker- which is exciting and analytic. Just feels like the overhype and unbalanced analogies with make a it feel like a cheat to get people to respond.

  23. Tiger Hillarp says:

    I am sorry to say that I must agree with the majority of the critique above. In a country like Sweden there is none who would take this seriously; it is too unspecific and over the top at the same time. At the best people will see it as humorous; as making fun of a certain style of advertisement. I love go and would have loved to see something worthy of the game. This is not.

  24. Raphaël says:

    I agree with most of the comments here.
    I wish I had something positive to say but it’s tough.. It’s a great idea and a good initiative to promote go, but this video looks and sounds like an add for scientology.
    The voice says some true things but this sounds so serious and false, everybody looks nice and smiles, this is scary!… Ok, it tries to leave some suspense but it would have been good to say at least one concrete thing about the game, or to show a real play on a goban in a esthetic way, showing people putting stones, etc.. This is too much.

  25. Tesuckji says:

    remember that they will make more then one shot ^^ this is just a preview of what will come… 3 more will come and I think these will have go game shots… this clip was just a momentum pump kind of clip ^^

  26. Hi,
    I feel that we need this sort of movies in Japan, too…
    Here in Japan everyone knows what go is, but they think it’s for the old. I guess this would be a nice movie to change their image of go.

    But I’m not sure if this movie would work for those who have no clue what go is…

  27. David Ormerod says:

    Thanks for your comments everyone. I expected this to be controversial, but it’s still very interesting to hear what people have to say.

    I was also surprised by the almost total absence of a Go set or image of a game, but it’s obviously a deliberate strategy.

    Let’s wait and see what they do next. I think there will be three more short videos and then a longer one. I’ll post them here for you as they’re released.

  28. What’s the purpose of this short film ?
    Who will watch it and where ?
    This is built like a trailer of an american movie with the same typical sound and voice …
    If you don’t know anything about go, you are the same at the end, except that you are wondering : Go, ok but where ?