Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Myung-In Magnetic Baduk Sets

The MB-180 (sold as the MKG10-M by Yutopian)

A few months ago, I had contributed to Sensei's Library's page about magnetic gobans after reading about how one consumer was dissatisfied with a sub-standard model that he had purchased on eBay. On that page, I had noted the difference between his model, which was probably a second-tier version, and my Myung-In MB-180.

I had blogged about this model, my first and only goban to-date, back in June. It is just the right size for studying positions without having to fumble with stones that are too small. I had also chosen this model because the magnets are inside the stones instead of being on one side.

Myung-In makes the better versions of Korean magnetic Go boards and you can find their products sold through their online store (based in Korea) and through Yutopian (based in Southern California). The MB-180 (sold as the MKG10-Mby Yutopian) would probably suit most people that are looking for a travelling set since it folds down to 2" x 5-6/8" x 11-1/8". I would be a little reluctant to order directly from Myung-In at this time for the following reasons:
  • Their English website still seems to be incomplete with many broken links
  • Their quoted shipping prices seem to be for domestic (intra-Korean) destinations
  • Their response time to emails is a bit slow
Underscoring that last bullet point is an email that I received this morning in response to an inquiry I had sent back on August 29th.

I'm sorry too late for your letter~
if you order MB600.. we can give you 50$ execpt delievery by shipping cost...
shipping cost it may be.... 25$
so totaly 75$ we can give you....
if you interested in our model... let me know your address~
thanks for your e-mail

Myung-In's MB600 magnetic Go board

Admittedly, ordering directly from Myung-In is probably cheaper. I had inquired about their MB600 which is their largest magnetic goban measuring 14" x 13-1/2" unfolded and which comes with a carrying case. Their quoted total of $75 undercuts Yutopian's shipped price for this model by 24%. Consider however that Yutopian has already eliminated most of the shipment and ordering risks from Korea to the US. A savvy consumer would have to carefully consider by which route they would like to make their purchase.


Samarkand's Traveler Set

If you have no particular need for a magnetic set, you may instead prefer Samarkand's Traveler set with a folding shin-kaya board, 7mm glass stones and plastic gosu. It sells for $69 (excluding shipping and handling) on their official site but you can usually find it at auction starting at $49 on Samarkand's eBay store.

Kuroki's travel set with real slate and shell stones

Kuroki Goishi Ten also sells its own travel set with 6.3mm standard grade slate and shell stones, a folding board and plastic gosu for 11,000 Yen (about $100 excluding shipping and handling). Bear in mind that this item would ship from Japan and it would be best to inquire with Mr. Kuroki about air or surface shipping costs before ordering.


At 10:34 AM, November 01, 2005, Anonymous scatcat said...

Another alternative to consider:

I own one of samarkands' "Ellen's Leather Go Sets". These sets aren't on their site right now, but their admin says they're working on getting more in stock. It's flexible, folds into a convient leatther carrying case, and is lightweight. Obviously it isn't magnetic, but if this isn't an issue i recommend checking it out.

At 10:47 AM, November 01, 2005, Blogger ChiyoDad said...

Hello ScatCat! I understand that these were made of suede with the lines burned in. That would be an improvement over some of the vinyl boards which had a tendency to curl-up. It will be interesting to see an image this board.

A dumb question on my part. Most of us know of Janice at Samarkand, but who is "Ellen"?

At 3:37 PM, November 01, 2005, Blogger Woodard said...

Chiyodad, Ellen is an acquaintance of Janice Kim who came up with the concept. She explained it on her website back when the item was still available.

At 11:55 AM, November 04, 2005, Blogger ChiyoDad said...

Reinhold in Canada provided me with this write-up on the set from Smarkand's cached pages. Apparently, Ellen is Janice's sister!

Ellen's Leather Go Set

My sister Ellen built all her own furniture (and an adobe house to put it in), but often is away from home in some remote area, either engaging in an extreme sport or running a medical clinic for the rural poor as a doctor specializing in family practice. "I need a really portable Go set, Jannie," she says, "but I cannot handle plastic."

Ellen's Leather Go Set is not as cool as Ellen is, but it is close. The full-size (that's standard 16 1/2" by 17 3/4") suede board is a rich, soft brown, very pliable but easily smoothed to lie flat. The 19x19 grid will hold up for a lifetime of use. Just for a bit more utility, we've put a 9x9 grid on the back, too, so you can teach people on the road or play a super quick game. The stones aren't cheap, tiny plastic stones, but a full set of real glass stones that feel wonderfully cool in their matching suede pouches. Both board and stone pouches fit into your choice of carry bag: a drawstring style that matches the stone pouches, or a chic tote. A high-quality, full-size, yet travel-convenient set in leather, at a remarkably low price. Ellen was really psyched.


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