I have played a lot of large board games recently, mostly 23x23 but also a few 21x21 and 25x25. Here are some observations and questions that I have been unable to answer yet.
- Everything is about influence. The game play changes very much from 19x19. It is like the difference between 13x13 and 19x19.
- Even if you lose a medium sized group, you can usually make up for it later in the game.
- There are a lot of things “going on” on the board which interact with each other in surprising ways.
- 19x19 feels very small afterwards. It becomes easy to understand what is going on in a 19x19 game, even if you still lose.
- Even 25x25 is quite playable, and hardly the largest tolerable size.
- Correspondence games are really good here. People tend to time out with byoyomi though, Fischer seems more lenient.
- Handicap needs to be adjusted.
- Are computer players good at this or will it be a throwback to the GNU Go stone age?
- I think computer players would at least have to be adjusted and recompiled, even if the required changes in current programs are small, which might discourage cheating. I never wanted to play 19x19 correspondence because of the temptation for the opponent to cheat.
- There is a group on OGS for this: https://online-go.com/group/4730
I made a few of these boards (painted and lacquered MDF) about 10 years ago. I made one board for every uneven size from 5x5 to 27x27. I originally intended it for multi player go with up to 6 players (you only have to trivially change the ko rule), but I got enough “stones” (actually colored bead things that resemble go stones) to be able to play a 2 player game on 27x27. It takes a really long time OTB.
What do you think about playing on these crazy boards?