Finding (starting) a game
Now is the time to actually play a game. We have two ways of getting a random match. Automatch (Quick Match Finder) will try to automatically find a game with similar preferences to yours. Custom Match allows you to specify exactly what settings you want and then show the challenge publically for anyone to handpick.
Once any game has started you have a short window to cancel the game should you notice something is not to your liking (by clicking "cancel"). However once both players have made a move the "cancel" button changes to "resign" and stopping the match now will count as a loss towards your rating.
Automatch (Quick Match Finder)
Automatch is arguably the simplest way of finding a game. Just select your board size (you can have multiple selected if you do not mind either) and click a button with your preferred game speed and then wait or chat, while the computer is looking for a match to suit you. If a match is found you will hear three dings to let you know (unless you disabled the alert in the settings).
The three available game speeds are:
- Blitz (very fast game with about 10s per move)
- Normal (leisure paced game, but still done in one sitting - about 30s per move)
- Correspondence (Game played over several days, where players are not present most of the time. About 1 day per move) - You can press the correspondence button several times to create several challenges
Adjusting the Automatch
If you are unhappy with the default settings, you can adjust the automatch by clicking the cog button in the upper right of the Automatch window
The settings are unique for each game speed.
- Opponent rank range (limit the rank of opponents that will be able to play with you) "-" being how many ranks weaker your opponent can be and "+" being how many ranks stronger.
- Handicap (you can select to prefer or require playing with or without a handicap)
- Time Control (prefer or require certain time control)
- Rules (prefer or require selected rules - like Japanese or Chinese)
This option allows you to create a game precisely as you want and display it publically for anyone with an eligible rank to accept.
To accept a custom challenge from another player just look through the list below the automatch box (sorted by live first, correspondence second) and click "accept" to see the full details. Check the details and then click "accept" or "close". If a challenge that would fully suit you is not avilable, create your own by clicking the "Create" button. A window with preferences will pop up.
- Game name (this will be visible in your game records for easy identification of different games)
- Private (when enabled only your opponent and our moderators will be able to observe the game. Even after the game is over it will remain inaccessible for others, unless you specifically invite them by the access settings from the dock panel)
- Ranked (when disabled the game will not count towards player's rating - just for fun.) Note: Ranked games can't be private.
- Board Size (select one of the "common" board sizes or define your own by selecting custom)
- Rules (select what rule sets you want to play under. Most common is Japanese. For differences check here: https://senseis.xmp.net/?RulesOfGo)
- Game Speed (switch between Blitz, Live, or Correspondence speed.)
- Time Control (for differences between game clocks check here)
- Pause on weekends only available for correspondence games (the clock will be paused during weekends)
- Handicap (enable automatic or adjust the number of handicap stones)
- Komi (komi is the compensation for white having the second move. You can set custom amount - only in unranked games)
- Your Color (random will pick on random, Automatic assigns white to the stronger player or chose black or white directly)
- Disable Analysis (when checked you and your opponent will be unable to test variations with Analysis mode until the game is over. This also disables conditional moves in correspondence games)
- Restrict Rank (when checked you can choose the range of ranks that may accept your game. "Minimum Ranking" refers to the weakest allowed rank and "Maximum Ranking", the strongest.) Note: If you don't restrict rank, a limit of +-9 still applies for ranked games.
Click "Create Challenge" when all is set and wait for your game.
Challenging a Player (a Friend) Directly
To issue a direct challenge you have to find the player first. Clicking the upper left OGS logo on any page brings up a menu. There is a search bar right below. Type until the player you are looking for is displayed. Click on his/her name and select challenge. This works anywhere on the site where you can see a player's name (in chat for example).
A familiar challenge box will pop up. Set up your preferences just like before and click "Send Challenge"
Play with a Bot (AI)
Bots are not run by OGS but by our players. You can find the administrator of a bot and details about it in the bot's profile.
To challenge a robot rather than a human, click Computer on the Play page. A challenge window similar to custom games will appear. Select the preferred robot (their approximate ranks are displayed) and your preferences.
Certain bots only accept a limited variety of settings. If your game is getting rejected try looking into the bots profile by searching its name to see what sort of challenges the bot accepts.
Basic Time Controls Explained
For more detailed explanation see here: https://senseis.xmp.net/?TimeSystems
- Fischer (there is some initial time on the clock which ticks down naturally, but gets increased by a set increment after each move. You can adjust the maximum time it can be brought up to)
- Simple (you have a set time for each move.)
- Byo-Yomi (there is some initial time on the clock which ticks down naturally. Once the main time is depleted you have a set time period for each move. If you make a move within this period it resets. If you fail to make a move you lose a "life" by depleting all "lives" you lose by timeout)
- Canadian (you have a set period to place X stones. If you play X stones within the period allowed it resets)
- Absolute (you have a set time to complete the game and no way of getting more. While this is a good setting for certain situations, beware, as it can be exploited)