The regular Baduk has now been around for quite a while. Now Korean software-developer Eplayon has come up with a new variant of it: Batoo. As you would expect, there have been some major adjustments in both appearance and rules. As for the appeal, the (internet only) game has been given the feel of a modern MMORPG. After installing the program, you need to choose one of the predesigned characters to create an account. Once you’ve done this you gain EXP by beating your opponents and rise in level (not rank). The interface is rather modern and pretty fancy, as you’d expect it from a modern online-game.
Now to the most important part, the rules. One thing beforehand: they’re nothing (well, almost nothing) like Baduk. There are only very few things that Batoo has in common with the traditional Baduk.
- You play on a 11×11 board
- There’s a scoreboard on top of the interface that keeps track of your points during the game. There are specific intersections that make you gain or lose points during the game.
- Every player places 3 stones at the beginning of the game (a base). If you and your opponent occupy the same spot, it will become empty once the game commences. Before the placement is finished, your opponent can’t see where you’re building your base.
- There is no komi. Players bet points before the game starts, whoever bets more gets to go first.
- Probably the most interesting concept are the “hidden”- and “scan”-feature. Each player can place a hidden stone on the board. It will remain invisible to the opponent until it causes some kind of effect (killing a stone, connecting a group that would die,…). The scan-feature allows you to (only once in a game) guess if the hidden stone is on a specific intersection you choose.
The game has reached a high degree of popularity in Korea. Even Baduk-Pros participate at the tournaments. It remains to be seen how exactly the development of Batoo will influence the status of Baduk. Enclosed you find a video of a Batoo-tournament.
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