Is there a name for junk drawer go stone sets? I want to make some!

I am just wondering if these kind of ‘sets’, and I am most definitely using that term loosely here, have a name in Chinese, Japanese, or Korean? You know the type, every saloon or club in Asia has them. It’s the go set made from all of the leftover mismatched pieces and random bowls. Mostly glass, probably a lot of Jungstones and Jangstones in there, along with some paper thin yellow chipped clam-shell or slate, a few single-convex yunzi and plastic, and maybe even some random stuff thrown in to get close to the number you need to play with. Being among the weaker players wherever I have gone to play in Asia, I have a lot of experience with these, and actually enjoy them for many reasons.

In fact, I have an idea to double down on this patchwork quilt kind of collection: I want to make sets of these to use with my local club. Of course, the more diverse the better! I am also thinking to add other random things in there to make it more fun to play with, more confusing, and more surreal.

Things like smaller sized chess pieces, small mahjong tiles, Othello and backgammon pieces, bingo chips, and basic board game tokens. A random DnD figurine here or there, and maybe coins, river rocks, actual sea shells, dice, beads, and whatever else I can think of. So long as they are reasonably close to black and/or white it should ‘work’. I might even include some pieces that are too big or too small to play practically, or just kind of useless, like marbles that won’t stay put, for example.

Naturally, this kind of set absolutely HAS to be less than the required number for each player, otherwise the oddball stones can be avoided pretty easily, in preference of the actual go stones in the mix…

The problem is, the club I am sponsoring is very small with a short history. My own stones (and by extension those of my club) are just full sets. I think this would be a lot of fun to create and interesting for clubs to have as a fun option and a way to inject a sense of humor into play, and help people take it a bit lighter, not so seriously. Something especially critical for the kinds of advanced beginners or intermediate players that, like me, get frustrated and also end up stuck playing on the ‘hand-me-down’ equipment.

Does anyone else see the fun in this idea? Is there anyone who has done what I am talking about before, or seen it somewhere? Any ideas of things to add to this list? How can I get lots of this kind of stuff without spending tons of money?

Would I be stepping over a line by inviting people to message me privately for my address in case they wanted to send me some random “stones”, or short sets? I plan to post the results here and maybe even a video of a game played using them. If I could collect a significant amount of this kind of stuff, it would be really fun to give them to other clubs around here (California) or even send them to other clubs in parts of the world outside East Asia where they wouldn’t have experienced this. I wonder if there might be clubs out there that would send me raw materials in exchange for their own set?

Do not misunderstand me: I love ergonomic, proper Japanese Go sets. My size 33 Yukis feel fantastic in the Keyaki bowls that have aged nicely to a toasted caramel. They sound crisp on my Kaya table board and remind me of the many friendships I made when I lived in Japan and the people who helped me get better at Go, and make that purchase affordably when I was in my 20s. They were my reward to myself for demonstrating commitment to the game at that time in my life, when a Go game wasn’t as easy to find as it is now. Good for me and my nostalgia.

But let’s be honest, it is completely unnecessary to have fancy stuff like that. And, while stones that look and feel perfect can be comforting, what we really need is to be made uncomfortable in Go and in life. We need something to shake up our rhythm, break us out of our own mental ‘joseki’ so we can take a fresh look at the board, a fresh look at life.

Junk Drawer Go Sets, here I come! Are you with me?

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You mean that set which will finish his life in some bar or guesthouse after having been borrowed?

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Quite possibly smelling of alcohol and tobacco as well. A generational Go time capsule, as it were. To be clear, I plan to wash everything in this case. But, yes 100% we are talking about the same thing. I knew you would understand!

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Can we see a photo?

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I hope you are asking @Groin because I don’t have one. The absence of this equipment is what gave me the idea in the first place…A part of me also feels like this is something from the past that might disappear soon, along with the struggle to find a game and other relics of the analog offline times…

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The ones I owned are out buy i still have somewhere some ykyaga junks i may take pics for you.

Baduk Club kind of has this sort of thing. Not exactly and please understand they have a lot of really nice stuff there, so I am linking as a kind of ‘for example, similar to but not as nice as’ to their vintage offerings…

Editing to add this specific product:

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We have 3 Go boards.

Update: It took a little convincing that this was really what I was looking for, but Baduk Club is sending me their junk drawer stones that I linked to above. Once they got the idea, they agreed to send me not just the chipped stones, but a few other odd sizes and random pieces they had lying around. This was partly because there weren’t enough stones initially, which is just about what you would expect.

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We just finished a meetup for the Fresno Go Club. Pictures here:

One of the new members had this go set he got at an estate sale of a Japanese man for $5. We have already begun negotiations. They are pressboard stones, a kind of fiberboard. Notice the one that lost its paint and the $1 coin in the bowl…


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The mismatched go set has really taken on a life of its own now, somehow transcending what I originally had in mind. I have become entranced with the idea of chaotic, mismatched go sets and have started gathering materials to create a series of sets that have all kinds of crazy, weird stones and stone substitutes. You can see in the image the stone candidates I have already collected. There are also ishi press jungstones, ceramic single convex, size 31 shell and slate and thin Japanese glass stones that have been kept separate as I am also going to laser etch some of these with characters and am planning to use a resin 3D printer to create some more unusual stone shapes and figures. When there are more stones than a full set, I will start playing with them and editing until it feels right.

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image

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Though I’m not sure if my brain can process playing with those ‘stones’ I really like the concept. There used to be a restaurant nearby where they collected and used all kinds of plates, glasses etc. for serving. Even all the tables and chairs were different. Very charming!

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Looks like there is a white stone masquerading as a black stone at N5 (13th file from the left, 5th row from the bottom). This is going to be a source for disputes.

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Some of the glass blobs are solid white or black (pente type stone, not yunzi), but some are clear with silver or gray paint on one side, which I sorted by how dark they were. Also, there are shogi pieces on both sides, one only slightly darker than the other. So, yes I am playing with the ambiguity. But if it is too much in practice, I will remove them…

Or you could drop some of the “white” pieces in bleach and some of the “black” pieces in coffee.

I thought of something like that…painting the edges or adding dots or something in the right color to let you read properly, but only when you examine closely…

That is why I want to over collect pieces first, then begin using it to see what works and what pushes too far, then refine it. I will post more to share the progress in the coming months if you are interested?

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