Fox Better Than OGS

So recently I have had to make the sad decision to recommend my students to use fox more in their studies. I do support ogs for English speakers, but if you have a window computer I think Fox is just better for the average Go player.

You can get games so much more quickly. The games are faster so you can play more. There isn’t that stigma of I can only play slow 20 min games. I want to say that you can just play more games there in general.

Unfortunately I don’t see this changing anytime soon. I think there is just too big of a difference in user base. Fox had 10,000+ online players while they are asleep. Meanwhile we have 2,000 at the same time which is in the middle of the day.

Throwing a number at the wall, if 1 online person comes from 100 new accounts (people not staying after one month) then to bridge that 8,000 gap we would need 800,000 new Go players.

Looking at a Chinese Go problem website they have 600,000 users. So these can be very real numbers.

So I’m a bit bummed because I don’t see this changing. But for an optimistic approach, businesses can reach millions of customers.

So how does a business reach so many people? I think this would be a good question ti explore for the English Go community.


FWIW those of us keen to see OGS flourish are continually considering this question, and trying to take steps to make it happen.

For example, recently we added a whole custom API to OGS to allow the NAGF to hold its online tournaments here. Very high up the list (second (IMO) only to improving scalability of moderation) is “making OGS more attractive for 3rd party tournaments in general”.

Thanks for your contributions to promoting English Go and making it work at OGS.


Is this API documented anywhere :joy:?

I tend to use the API every now and then.


I’ll go ahead and contribute my answer idea I guess.

I think the future lies in making Go ‘fun’ and not boring for non Go players. I find that our community is usually only hard core players. We need to be more welcoming, like say, tic-tac-toe. In regards to this, I fully believe we need to focus more on making 9x9 mainstream. I think 9x9 is just a better game.

When I say game, I don’t want you to think of Go. I want you to think of Candy Crush, video games, and sports in general. Watching 2 people stare at pebbles for an hour or more is just boring. Also, 19x19 to a beginner’s eyes is just confusing. A 9x9 is much more reasonable to understand.

In addition to this, the very thing that people hate makes it a better game. You can LOSE more! You can lose to someone 6 ranks weaker than you. This is much more fun than I can’t bead x rank because they are 2 or 3 levels above me. This creates a more unexpected result. More competition, and more engagement.

Another fact, 9x9 is MUCH faster to play. I know many people who just can’t make time for 19x19. They wait until they have a dedicated 2 hours to play a top quality game. This is terrible from a game’s perspective. A game should be played! It should be played over and over! So being able to hop in a game and play it in 10 minutes has some serious benefits. Faster games also means, faster turnover which can mean, faster pairings which means, more games overall which means, less wait time for more games!

Another opinion I have is that we should exclusively use Chinese rules for rated play. Focusing on the beginners again, it doesn’t punish you for trying things in your own area. Telling someone to remove the dead stones is terrible for a beginner. Most of the time they don’t know if something is dead or not. We should encourage them to play it out! But if they lose points when they play it out, then why would we recommend it? I’ve seen many reddit post about players asking how to score, or why is something marked as dead. If it is explained that any area surrounded by your color is your area, and explain that if you don’t know then play it out, they will naturally figure out how to score.

Continuing on with my opinions, I think we should be using the super Ko rule. Or basically, the board position can never repeat. This is very easily achieved on computers unlike in real life. This makes explaining the Ko rule super easy. The board cannot repeat. The end.

I also believe we should do away with Japanese terms. This is not welcoming to English speakers. If it was just one or two, like Atari and Joseki, it would be easier. But watching commentaries as a beginner is just impossible. It’s like they are speaking another language.

I’ve been trying this on my app. So far I have…

Joseki = Pattern
Tesuji = Tactic
Ko = Loop
Komi = Bonus Points
Atari = Threat, you could also say Capture Threat.
Double Atari = Double Threat
Liberty = Life Line
Seki = Mutual Life
Yose = End Game

and probably some more but there are a lot of terms.

My point here is, a non Go player needs to be able to have some idea of what the words and commentary means. Using English words, they can slowly and naturally derive their meanings.

Another issue is how Go is introduced. I think many people have noticed how Go players go nuts trying to explain to a new player about Go. They get excited and try to tell them everything that they know. I am of the opinion that you should use the least amount of words possible to get them to start playing. Lectures are not fun. Playing games are. So get them playing! Personally I’ve gotten it down to under 1 minute when I’m on a script. If I go over 5 minutes, I’ve gone horribly wrong.

To counter this, I am actually trying to build my Tsumego Dragon app with the idea of teaching the rules of Go with no words at all. These are the beginner problems. They need to be able to solve it intuitively without the need for a long explanation. Here are some examples…




Also, lose 100 games as fast as possible. What kind of game makes you lose 100 times before you can achieve anything? They need to play against other beginners. Maybe play a beginner bot. They shouldn’t lose more than a couple times at most. They need a WIN! They need to feel joy and accomplishment! They also need to feel improvement. Start them at 40 kyu! Let them rank up super fast and slowly make the ranks harder. The more effort they put in the more patience they will have for the next reward or milestone.

I think we need to get away from ‘really hard to master’ and make it ‘play in 1 minute!’ 10 Kyu needs to be STRONG!! 10 Kyu is better than HALF of the community! Why are we calling it weak??

In conclusion, my opinion is basically this. Go needs to become a game. It needs to be fun. And the community needs to stop caring so much about culture and ‘best’ practices. If we make a place easier for the average person to pick up Go and play, then the community as a whole will grow. Thus getting us more players on OGS and a better system in general.

That was longer than I expected :roll_eyes:


Does Fox have this?

Or is it the case that we have to be fun because we don’t have their centuries of cultural tradition, do you think?


I think the only thing fox has is you can play instantly and a lot. I think arguably no one has made Go fun for the average person. Solving this I think would open Go up to a HUGE number of people with the proper marketing.

I’ve been running test with my family and non Go friends. I give them the app and say, you want to try this for me? I watch and see if they get it immediately, get excited, and feel accomplished. I then watch to see if they are just being nice or did they actually have fun.

Give a stranger OGS on the home page. See if they like it and enjoy it within a couple minutes or if they are confused. This is the problem I think if solved, would open the Go community up.


Also don’t you find it funny posting on OGS telling others that Fox is better.

Imho, OGS’s downfall is it’s low player pool. OGS is only popular among western population. While Fox on the hand is popular with the whole Go community, meanwhile tygem is also on a decline in recent years.

So in reality it’s not really that Fox is better, it’s probably is because the decline of western go players, OGS only gained popularity since KGS died down. Now it’s kinda dying since Go isn’t a thing anymore at least to the western populations.

Nonetheless, it’s easier seeking games on Fox.


Not really, my hope is that I spark a discussion to generate some ripples to improve it.

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There’s actually a similar question in the Shogi community with the upstart Lishogi vs the much older 81Dojo.

I think one of the major things is that, for Live players,
The ratings accuracy that OGS provides isn’t much of a pull compared to Fox’s pre-existing player-base, especially when queuing times become very large for the long but thin tail of high rated players

Like, one of our advantages over Fox is reviewing capabilities, but I’m not certain those are useful without a way to direct people to people who will review with them. They either just review with AI, as you can do on Fox in exchange for coins anyway, or place a request out to a community void in hopes of getting a response.

And while the second commonly gets responses, there is often a mental bridge between the two, especially when you can just review with AI

Now ofc, on the topic of fast games, I would once again suggest an arena-style function where players can enter and leave at any point in the tournament, thus not tying them down any longer than the number of games they want to, thus creating a sort of social event to draw people in, which is often one of the biggest features of the Lichess model (that was even adapted to the more popular and privately owned, although it’s not featured as prominently there)

Like, imagine an annual Rengo Arena like the giant lichess Shield Arenas, I know there are definitely people who would make plans around that in the community


Does OGS have an Arena type feature under the tournaments? Perhaps a once a month 9x9 arena would be a good idea.

If not, a hackey kind of arena could be something like what I do in the Western Server Challenge. I make an API call on the players signed up and have a points system for the games that they played. I suppose I could do a call for games played in a 24 hour period using the 9x9 Automatch time settings. Maybe that would give one day a month for a very active day.

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Fox is better than OGS because it has more players because China has more players than the west. Simples.


So, how do we get OGS more popular in East Asia, is really the question.

  • Posts “Fox Better Than OGS”

  • Goes on to describe GoQuest as what OGS needs to become.

Talk about clickbait!


That doesn’t seem fair to me. He didn’t mention some other site, you did. And he only offered comparison with his app when asked - and in the spirit of sharing what he’s trying out in order to improve the situation.

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It’s not really clear what “What” means. What what?

The OP is well known for attempting to promote English Go, through a range of activities that he undertakes and/or sponsors.

I guess it’s true that “Fox better than OGS” is clickbait, but I fail to see how “Goes on to describe GoQuest as what OGS needs to be come” puts the thing into “talk abut clickbait” territory, nor frankly why it’s fair or warranted in this thread.

This is my personal opinion. When someone well known for supporting Go, and Go-at-OGS, offers an observation for the state of affairs and ways in which it could be improved, then that’s just the time to talk about the state of affairs and the ways in which it could be improved. IMO.

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I guess the what was in response to:

It’s in the title!

Oh, I was meaning GoQuest, that you said that he said that OGS should be like :smiley:

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  1. Western players feel the need to overcompensate for not having a Go tradition by being too focused on excellence.*
  2. Western Go = instantly equate to English/ English speaking.

As long as the community can’t get over these two character flaws, it won’t go anywhere meaningful.

*This is the most civilized I’ve managed to express the disdain to anyone not being prime material for official ranks.