“As the Wheel of Time turns, places wear many names. Men wear many names, many faces. Different faces, but always the same man. Yet no one knows the Great Pattern the Wheel weaves, or even the Pattern of an Age. We can only watch, and study, and hope.”
Inspired by Robert Jordan's "Wheel of Time" series of books, this highly detailed, handcrafted wooden game board is in actuality the game of Chinese Go, an ancient game of military strategy and capture. Go is reputed to be the basis of the game of 'Stones', played and referenced by many of the characters in the series. Now available as a very limited series of three boards, each offering the recognizable iconography depicting the Dragon and his Companions against the forces of the Dark One, as well as artistic embellishments tying the designs together. Completely handcrafted and decorated, this board is an excellent addition to a Jordan fan's collection, and can be a thoughtful, unique gift for readers and gamers alike.
This game board is a MADE TO ORDER item, requiring 2-3 weeks for completion; the pictures feature prior creations and are for example only. Due to the handcrafted nature of the work, all boards produced for this line will vary significantly.
DESCRIPTION / BUILD:
- The board will be created from ¾-inch thick hardwood (either cherry, mahogany, or maple) and the edges trimmed with a decorative moulding. The color/hue will be dependent on the wood selected; only a non-pigmented natural oil stain is used when finishing the board. The carbonized artwork is preserved with a high-quality satin lacquer. The artwork is adapted from the chapter headings of the books; depicting the iconography of the Dragon Reborn, Perrin and Mat, versus the forces of the Dark One, facing off across a playing area emblazoned with the symbol of the Aes Sedai (the balance of Light and Dark). Leafy vines branch from the Forces of Light on either side to turn into thorny brambles as they near the Forces of the Dark.
- All of the graphics and artwork are burned into the surface by hand utilizing the art of pyrography, or wood-burning.
- The marble playing pieces fit and are held by divots drilled into the board surface, and will not easily dislodge by a bump of the table or other surface. A total of 85 black 'dragon-eye' marbles and 84 white marbles are included, each with their own carrying pouch.
- Board measures approximately 11x15 inches, and has wooden felted feet on the bottom to give a small rise from the tabletop.
- Only three of these boards will ever be produced; each will be numbered and signed by the artist on the underside of the board.
HISTORY / HOW TO PLAY:
- Go was invented by the Chinese under the name of wei-chi, probably in the second millennium B.C. It was mentioned by Confucius in the 6th century B.C. and was most popular during the Tang dynasty (A.D. 618-907). In the second century, it spread to Korea where it was called pa-tok, and in the fifth or sixth century it made its way to Japan, where it is called i-go or go. The Japanese took to the game very well, and came to be better players than the Chinese. At first it was played only in and around the emperor's court, but later spread to a wider section of the upper classes and nobility. A national academy was set up, as well as private schools, and a grading system was created, as with the martial arts. The game declined briefly after Japan's seclusion and subsequent renewed contact with the west, but after being promoted to an even wider public comprised of all classes, the game's popularity revived and, since the second half of the twentieth century, it has become increasingly popular in the west also. It is largely believed, though never directly referenced or validated, that the game of ‘Stones’ depicted in the "Wheel of Time" series is indeed the ancient game of Go, mainly due to Jordan's heavy Asian influences in the series. There were several sizes of Go played over the centuries; this size was considered a 'skirmish-sized' game, ideal for learning the intricate rules and scoring.
- The Go board begins the game empty of pieces, with the less experienced player using the black pieces and beginning the game. Players take turns to place one of their stones on an empty intersection; two or more stones adjacent to each other form a chain. An empty intersection beside a chain is known as a liberty. A chain remains alive while it has at least one liberty. A stone must be placed somewhere it has at least one liberty, or it must adjoin a chain which retains at least one liberty. A stone or entire chain is captured by surrounding it so it has no liberties; the group is removed from the board and kept by the player who has captured it. When stones are captured, either player can occupy the empty points. A stone or chain which is completely surrounded but which retains its liberty is known as a prisoner. It remains on the board but is removed at the end of play. A situation can arise, called 'ko', where a capture followed by a recapture would create a repeated position. Immediate recapture is not allowed; the second player must make another play before recapturing the stone. The game is over when neither player can capture further territory, nor place further stones that would affect the final outcome. This is the case when both territories are in absolute contact. The player who has captured the most territory wins the game.
- A rules pamphlet is included with the game.
Stones - a "Wheel of Time" thematic version of ancient Chinese Go
Examples of available wood types and edge styles can be found by clicking the "Materials & Styles" link at the bottom of any page.