How to make DIY Go Stones

Go set is expensive for me. I am thinking to make my own go stones. Any idea?

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Pick pebbles from beach/river? Buy garden stones from hardware/gardening store?


make them your own?

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Depending on the result you’re looking for, it could become more expensive than buying a cheap stone set.

You need 361 pieces.
The easiest way that comes to my mind is to use a wooden rod, 2 cm diameter, and cut discs of 8mm/1cm height.
It’s 361 cuts, then sanding each piece to clean the cut, then painting them all.
Just to have cylinders instead of bi-convex stones.

If the work is a joy in itself, you could go for it.
But a full set of melamine stones from Yellow mountains on Amazon costs 20.99 + shipping.
And plastic stones are even cheaper.


Maybe there is a go club nearby where you can borrow a set?

My cheap set, from Amazon, uses glass beads.
They’re often used for decoration, inside glass vases or so.

The game experience isn’t great: you can definitely play with them, but they are quite irregular in shape and size. All my friends prefer using cheap plastic stones instead of my glass set.

Also, they’re usually sold in small bags with maybe 100 of them, so you should buy many of them. This item is 12.80$ on amazon and contains approx 90/100 pieces.

The good point is that they’re colourful and good looking. :grin:


I wonder how many people never own a Go set, and just play online.

Historically speaking, until very recently, one of the biggest barrier in promoting Go is the cost of owning a Go set. And it provided a foundation for the Go houses and Go Cafe/clubs where players who cannot afford a Go set can play (and amateur communities built upon them). The mass production and cheap international shipping in just the recent decades, finally make owning a set quite cheap (at least for middle income enthusiasts). But with Online servers, I feel the need is somewhat diminished, where people who just want to know what Go is can try for almost free (cheap internet access is also very recent).


You have to wonder why cheap physical alternatives don’t seem to be available. I learnt chess on a cardboard board and I imagine that’s how most people play offline. And the round plastic counters that are used in countless generic board games would do fine to play with.


Collecting 361 “whatever” is not easy and cheap.
Think twice before giving up the idea of buying a set of stones.

Btw this topic could be merged with the first topic mentioned by @Atorrante (@moderators )

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I thought about this too. And I believe in CJK countries you could find very cheap Go set in any stationery shop (small stores that sell from pens, books, to children’s toys, anything related to school and kids, and like other corner stores slowly got phased out by online shopping). IIRC, when I was a kid I can buy one set very cheap (a decade ago or so, probably less than $5 converted to USD), with cheap wood, even paper cardboard goban, and plastic stones.

I personally think it has to do with demand, one set even a very cheap set can last for decades, so the demand is low. Only when there are a surge of interests or large enough base of customers like parents want to send kids to learn Go, then manufacturers are willing to produce them at a quantity that are profitable. And even if the cost of making a set is cheap, the markup can be quite high for the profit to be enough.


A set you can buy right now here (it’s even a duel purpose goban, where you can play Chinese chess on the flip side)

Converting the price, it is just about $6 USD, and I am sure the cost of making one is probably just a fraction of it.


Yes if you live near a beach… In the other thread i explained how to make stones with clay too. Not too hard as a ball of clay in the palm, press and you get a stone quickly. In many places, you can pick clay by yourself (still painting to buy)…

Here in China a basic correct glass set is around 8eur, and can be even cheaper if you start looking into 5 in a row sets (with less stones)or plastic.
There is just more demand i guess as in western countries and then you need to import.

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Even cheaper one with paper goban

Less than $4 USD


If you use 0.1 eur coins to play (quick solution)

  • your go set will be a small one
  • it will be very inconvenient to pick up the coins
  • your “stones” will cost you 36 eur + painting.

I think you can use and 10¢ which about the same size, but different colors to cut 9 EUR of the cost, and save the paint.


Some of my earliest (and clumsiest) Go games were played with:


There are quite a few pegs and you place them in the squares!

Actually, I quite like the buttons idea and I’ve been there too.


Didn’t know if someone shared this, someone did think about similar goban design



This cardboard 9x9 set with cardboard stones and some other goodies costs 2.50 euro: Kartonnen bordje 9x9 | NGoB (

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Are you sure ? Buttons are expensive (but easier to pick up as coins)