Feature request: A mode for anonymous games

A new option for “create game” page. When game is created via that option, it’s not announced anywhere, but an unique game URL is generated.

Player can share the link to the game to anybody (including unregistered user) and they see a page which displays go board and current game settings and has buttons such as “Accept game” and “Observe”.

If any user, registered or not, clicks “Accept” button, game is started and can be played normally.

Unlike other options, this one can be even made available without logging in.

This option can serve dual purpose: make challenging particular registered players easier: you don’t need to input their name in search box to send a challenge, you can start a private challenge and send the link to whoever you want to play with. And it allows playing without registration.

What do you think?

It’s too hard to enter the player’s name in a text entry box so the challenge can be sent so have developers devote resources to this new feature so that a userid of some other sort can be used to send a link/challenge by e-mail or something? Have I got that right?

No. The main point is to be able to play with unregistered users. But it will also simplify playing vs a registered user, because clicking a link is easier.

Don’t get it. Doesn’t a known, intended opponent have to be notified of or given the link? In that case, it’s not very clear to me what’s easier or why it’s easier.

If a game is available to an unregistered person, then anyone will be able to take it, right? That would be the intent of an anonymous game. Why would anyone want to create games like that? Create an open invitation that trolls, bots, sandbaggers or whatever could take? If there is someone you want to play with and they want to play you, what’s the big problem with that person opening a free OGS account?


Let’s put it in simpler words. Alice and Bob have met in a chat and learned that both like to play game of Go but neither knows how to play it via internet yet. What is the quickest option for them to play with each other?

I’m really simple so I don’t get this: If neither knows how to play go via internet, which one of them has an account at OGS that allows them to create a game, or if someone else has created this anonymous game at a website neither of them knows about, how will either of them know to look for it?

Hmm, if they each know about go but just met, how did they know go exists or learn to play? I’m guessing each one knows someone who taught them. Therefore we must assume those people do not know about online go either or they might have told Alice or Bob about it. Or hat both like go but being internet users, neither have bothered to look up anything about go online, or having done so have not wondered “gee, I wonder if I can play this game online”. I’m too simple to begin guessing the probabilities.

Edit: In conclusion: You’ve convinced me, code it up a.s.a.p! :wink:

This sounds pretty much just like lichess.com, I don’t imagine it would be too difficult to implement. Then again, it’s not like it’s too difficult to just make an account really quick either, especially since it seems most go players are in it for the long haul so to speak, not as many “casual” go players as there are “casual” chess players.

I want to teach someone how to play. They aren’t too sure about whether they want to get into Go yet or not so they aren’t interested in making an account. It would be nice to have a feature that would allow me to send them a link for a game despite them not having an account.

The above is the only use-case I can imagine for such a feature. Whether the feature would be worth it or not, I don’t know.


Other servers such as KGS and DGS (any others?) allow people to log in as Guest. Guests can’t play rated games. On DGS they can’t post directly to forums but can submit posts which get screened by admin.

OGS doesn’t have Guest accounts? Maybe it should.

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I think the feature that @elx suggested would be better. The newbie would be able to start playing me after only one click rather than having to go through the guest login and then try to navigate the system to play me. (Maybe include the ability to add a password?)

That said, a guest login system might also be a nice feature for newbies.


I always recommend http://goban.co for this kind of situations.


goban.co certainly has some usefulness, but it still has some disadvantages compared to my suggestion:

  1. There is no instant redirect to the new board, so when you visit goban.co you need to press “Share” button. Copying URL from address bar would be slightly faster. But this is minor.

  2. If same board is opened by two people they can both play both colors. I suggest that game starter chooses ruleset and who plays what color so it can’t be changed by other player, unless they switch to analyze mode. It can be implemented via cookies or by redirecting the second player to a new secret URL after game is accepted.

Maybe include the ability to add a password?

I think that a secret URL is better than password. It works technically like a password but it’s integrated in the link. Example URL to illustrate my point:


Then if game is not marked private, it means that knowing partial URL like https://online-go.com/game/12345678 would be enough to spectate the game, while full URL is necessary to accept it. After game is accepted, second player can be redirected to other URL, which is unknown even to game starter, which allows whoever knows it place stones for the second player side:


This way game can be continued from other device, unlike in solution with cookies.

which one of them has an account at OGS that allows them to create a game

Perhaps guests should be also allowed to create games of this kind without registration?

Unlike regular games, password-url games won’t be displayed in public list of open game challenges, so it would not give aforementioned trolls and sandbaggers and others any additional freedoms.

Two unregistered users playing with each other won’t put too much strain on the server I think, and otherwise it’s on par with allowing unregistered access to puzzles.

A registered / unregistered games should not affect rank of the registered user, then sandbagging would be prevented.

And registered / registered pairings won’t be any different after game is started, but challenge could be sent via any texting means.

By the way, in order to make retyping challenge URLs easier, passwords can be generated in a way which avoids 1 l I and O 0.

I have been on OGS for only 11 months. I am new to the game, and have introduced others to the game.

I have told others that, if they wish to play me online, they should make an OGS account. None of them (five, maybe six total) have balked or had any trouble creating an OGS account. I think it takes three minutes total, and if someone doesnt want to use their primary email, they can use a secondary one; if someone wants to make up a name like Jack Sprat, they can. I didn’t instruct these people on how to create an account and they all did it easily. They all found me by OGS search, played me, and other than me telling them a couple of buttons here and there (contingency moves, for instance), it was smooth.

I think the barrier to entry now is a six inch hurdle. Maybe four inches. LOL. This is just my experience, and I like that OGS has oversight (“you’re out of line, goodbye!”) and has a rating system that includes all registered users (unless the players choose to unrate the game, which is rare). Having outside entry via links to anonymous games with non-donating, unregistered users sounds like a whole other tier of oversight and complexity for a go server run by two gentlemen who are trying diligently and already working overtime to make the best user experience for us registered, regular users.

This is only my opinion. I could be wrong. It’s an interesting subject. Thanks for posting it, elx


I agree with @Cool1 and do not wish to see the system having to endure further loading by people not motivated enough to spend the few minutes to register – this is just inviting further work for the developers, additional potential problems with server/system overload, and who knows what sorts of pesty trollers and bots. In short, the request is addressing a non-problem but inviting unknown new problems.


– Musash1


You can try :go.davepeck.org

This one doesn’t work for me. And even if it did, it requires e-mail.

I dunno it would be nice if a registered user could lure a new player in just by sending a link… Could make us grow :slight_smile:

Since it’s easy enough to create an account, could a bad actor, say using a bot, register and then use such a feature to generate a huge number of invites that could not be turned away, thereby creating a huge number of ongoing bot vs. bot games?

A bad actor can make a bot which tries to solve thousands of puzzles in same time or something. Or registers accounts automatically. Currently you can register without entering a capcha.

Actually this can be solved by requiring a capcha if you send more than say ten invites in a hour or something. But I doubt that anybody wants to spend so much effort just to do that.

A better(?) way of doing this might be to let people create teaching games. In the normal “create game” dialog, there’d be a teaching option, or a game dropdown that would toggle between ranked/unranked/teaching. The difference between a teaching game and a regular game would be that the teacher would be in charge of inviting their students, so they could send invites to a few people they wanted to play/observe the game, rather than opening it up to anyone. Inviting people could be done by either searching their names or sending them a link to the game. Someone could send the link to a non-registered player, and they’d get added to the game as a guest.

Not sure how worthwhile that’d be compared to everyone needing to register, though, and it seems like a decent amount of work.