Computer boardgames are the bane of a reviewer’s life. Generally they’re perfectly competent conversions of the original, but substituting computer opponents for human interaction, which presents a dilemma – do you mark the original game, the accuracy of the conversion, or the concept of transferring it to computer in the first place?
In this case, I think I’ll mark the original game, ‘cos I’ve wanted to get into Go (a deeply strategic Japanese thing which is almost certainly the oldest board game in existence) for ages, so anything which saves me the trip to Tokyo to actually find someone else who can play it has to be a good thing.
This version (one meg only as far as I can tell, one player only, but with lots of difficulty options, and apparently the European Computer Go Champion) doesn’t dress things up to any extent, but it plays a fine game of Go (which is to say it trashes me easily every time) and it’s fairly quick about it (well, until you up the skill level that is).
You can play it at one of 101 skill levels, on a board measuring from 9x9 to 19x19 points (the bigger the board, the more complicated the game) and pre-configure the board to any set-up position you like, for practice on specific plays or as a neat handicapping system (as practiced in the real thing with specific handicap set-ups, also included here).
The instructions are brief but pretty comprehensive, and basically everything you need to become a respectable Go player is here.
For once, too, this is a justifiable conversion – Go players in the UK are few and far between, so providing an opponent to potential fans is actually a worthwhile gesture. Broaden your horizons, buy this.