How To Play Go - Part 2

Multiplayer Go

Richard Nguyen-Marshall

31 May 2022

GoCaine ismultiplayer Go board game where 2-6 players compete to build the most lucrative cocaine trafficking network.  If you are not familiar with traditional Go, then you should first read Part 1 of this blog which discusses the basics of traditional Go.  If you are already familiar with Go, then starting here makes sense. 

Because GoCaine is a multiplayer Go board game, you can be surrounded very quickly by multiple opponents.  In this blog post you’ll learn all about multiplayer Go.  You'll learn how to defend yourself and how to take down multiple opponents at the same time. You are also going to learn about a special rule called “Kiss The Ring”.

Surrounded by Multiple Colors

At some point, multiple players will be involved in the same turf war.  If you have a cell or group of connected cells that loses all of its liberties because multiple players have occupied these spaces, then your units are removed from the board. 

In other words, it does not matter if a cell group’s liberties are all occupied by one opponent or by several opponents.  When you have a cell or group of cells that have lost all of their liberties, then they are immediately removed.

Diagram 22 shows a situation in which Red is in grave danger and has only one remaining liberty (shown by the small red circle).  If any of the players place a cell there, the Red group must be removed.

Diagram 22 multiplayer Go showing red stones being surrounded by stones from multiple opponents.

Let’s assume that it is Yellow’s turn.  Yellow places a cell onto Red’s last liberty (Diagram 23).  The result is all of the Red cells in that group must now be removed.

Diagram 23 showing a situation in which yellow places a stone and takes down a group of red cells.

Kiss The Ring

In traditional Go, players get points for the stones they’ve captured.  In GoCaine nobody keeps the captured cells because the surrounding often involves multiple players.  To provide extra incentive for a  player to complete the capture, GoCaine utilizes a rule I call “Kiss The Ring”. 

With Kiss The Ring, if you place the cell that completes the surrounding of one or more opponents’ cells, you have the option of replacing one of those captured cells with one of your own.  In effect, the opponent’s cell members realize they are otherwise about to die and they strike a deal with you.  They kiss your ring and pledge their loyalty.  You take an unpurchased cell from your supply bag and have it take the place of one of these opponent’s cells.

Above in Diagram 23, I showed a situation in which Yellow played a cell onto Red’s last liberty, resulting in the removal of all of the Red cells in that group.

Immediately following the removal of the Red cells, the board would be as shown in Diagram 24.

However, with the Kiss The Ring rule, upon placing the cell that results in the capture of those Red cells, Yellow now has the option of replacing one of those Red cells with an unpurchased Yellow cell.

Yellow decides that it would be best if it can link up the cell it just placed with the group of three Yellow cells to the north.  Invoking Kiss The Ring, Yellow takes an unpurchased Yellow cell and places it in the gap, thereby connecting the Yellow cells into one group (Diagram 25).

Diagram 25 showing implementation of the Kiss The Ring rule for multiplayer Go board game.

Note that if you are the player who has completed the capture, it is usually beneficial to employ Kiss The Ring, but there are times when it is not wise to do so.  Usually such situations relate to wanting to leave an internal intersection empty in order to create an eye.

This is the situation in Diagram 26.  Assume it is Blue’s turn.  Red is trapped in the corner and has only one liberty remaining (small red circle in diagram).

Diagram 26 showing a situation in which you would not want to utilize Kiss The Ring because it would take a way an eye.

Blue deploys its cell onto that intersection, resulting in the capture of the Red cell (Diagram 27). 

Diagram 27 showing a continuation of earlier situation in which you would not want to utilize the Kiss the Ring rule if it results in you losing an eye.

The captured Red cell is removed from the board.  Should Blue now invoke Kiss The Ring and replace that red cell with one of its own?  No, in this case it would not make any sense to do so.  Leaving it empty gives Blue an eye.  As you saw above, it is important for you to build group structures that have two eyes.  So, in this case it is best for Blue not to utilize Kiss The Ring.  Blue leaves the captured intersection empty and in so doing builds an eye (Diagram 28).

Diagram 28 showing the conclusion of the example in which you would not want to use the Kiss The Ring rule to avoid filling your eye in the corner.

Capturing Cells From Multiple Opponents At The Same Time

With multiple players all competing for territory, sometimes situations arise in which you have the opportunity to capture cells from several opponents at the same time.

In the example shown in Diagram 29, several players (Yellow, Red, Blue, and White) are all in danger.  They are all sharing the same one liberty. If any one of these players places their own cell onto that intersection, they can wipe out the opposing cells.  Similarly, if either Green or Black places a cell there, then the Yellow, Red, Blue, and White cells would be removed.


Diagram 29 showing a situation in which several opponents will all lose stones together once the last intersection is occupied.

Unfortunately for them, it is Green’s turn and Green places a cell (G1) onto the liberty (Diagram 30).  The Yellow, Red, Blue, and White cells must all be removed. 

Diagram 30 Green places its stone into the empty intersection and thereby takes up the last liberty for yellow, blue, red, and white.

Green has the option of invoking Kiss The Ring, replacing one of the captured cells with an unpurchased Green cell.  Green chooses to Kiss The Ring on one of the Red cells, thereby connecting it to Green’s larger group.  See Green cell “KTR” in Diagram 31.

Diagram 31 With the other colors now removed, Green can use Kiss The Ring and place an extra cell.

Note that the Kiss The Ring applies to only one captured cell regardless of how many opponents’ cells are being captured; it does not give Green the ability to replace one cell from each opponent.

Alright, now you know the essentials of multiplayer Go and you have learned a special rule called Kiss The Ring.  You now have a pretty good handle on the area control part of GoCaine.  Hey, if you wanted to, you could even take the different color chips from GoCaine and play your own version of multiplayer Go on a full 19x19 grid traditional Go board.

Before you jump into a Go match though, let's take a few more minutes to give you a sense of the flow of a Go battle.  In How To Play Go - Part 3, I'll walk you through a localized Go battle between two players on the GoCaine game board.  In Part 3 you'll see a situation where the Blue player is threatening Red's operational cell in Northern Colombia.  Red defends and very quickly their turf battle expands into Western Colombia, Southern Gateway, the Caribbean, and Bolivia.  Thanks for reading.  See you in Part 3.