I believe OGS would benefit from the functionality where a user can send a challenge in a link, and anyone who clicks it can play a single unranked game as a guest (as lichess has). My friends on Discord like playing things while we’re hanging out in the downtime, and have exhibited some interest in Go, but it’s hard to get them to make accounts and find/accept match challenges etc. Meanwhile, one of them might send out a lichess link and immediately start a match (this has turned them all into casual chess players).
I recognize this is a technical challenge as it includes some new functionality (especially guest accounts), but I believe it would be very well worth it! It would also distinguish OGS from other Go servers – I cannot find this functionality anywhere (and admit I – a supporter – would defect to another server offering it…).
I think US Go struggles with accessibility, and this would be a great way to introduce people to the game quickly. It’s really easy to make an OGS account (thankfully!) but it cannot be overstated how much easier it is to just click a link someone sent you. I have tried to introduce many people to the game but have only gotten two people to create accounts (and trying to start spontaneous games with them is a hassle – “ok log in” “ok do you see my challenge” “search my name” “what’s your username again” etc). Given what I have seen with my friends getting each other into Chess through lichess links, I am confident we can make Go more accessible with this feature.
I suggest the following conditions for the functionality, as a starting point:
- Only registered users can create challenge links.
- Whoever clicks on the link is granted a guest account (unless they have an account they are logged into already) for the duration of the game.
- Games cannot be rated. Perhaps they are not even recorded/stored. (edit: previously called this “Private” which is a different function)
- Games cannot be correspondence-length.
- Games must be 9x9 (edit – suggested by claire_yang)
- It might incorporate into the existing UI as an additional button in the Custom Game window that opens from the Create button on the Play tab. Left of “Create Challenge”, there might be a button saying “Create Guest Link”. Pressing it replaces it with the URL which one can copy + send out.
- Anyone who clicks the link after the challenge has already been accepted is given a guest account where they can spectate the game. (edit – idea based on what shinuito said about more friends spectating)
Thanks for considering this – I already have some great memories on OGS and am always grateful for the site’s existence!
(Similar request here Request: Quick invite player via link but it’s locked and I would like to add my support/anecdote)