YMI's latest portable goban is now available
Finally, after having missed the Christmas season, Yellow Mountain Imports has gotten their new portable Kaya goban in. Pong and I had lamented that shoppers didn't have a chance to get their hands on this board in late 2006 but it seems that their container has finally arrived. The set retails for US$95 (with the case).
The carrying case borrows from the original GoBox design which I have. It looks like the size is just right for toting about and for carry-on luggage.
As with the original GoBox, the board is protected with foam padding. It looks like YMI opted for an improved case handle.
The board is 1.1 inches thick and uses cylindrical pegs. I don't know how this compares to rectangular slots which is the way most portable Japanese katsura boards are built with.
The grid is Japanese-standard sized so Chinese-sized stones (which are about 1mm wider) will fit too tightly. When shopping from YMI, make sure that your Yunzis are Japanese-sized. I know that the double-convex Yunzis are Japanese-sized.
The board is reversible and has a 13x13 grid on the back. You would probably want to pack a sheet of felt cloth with the board so that you can have a protective material between it and the table.
A couple of you who had seen the sneak-peeks of this set were disappointed that the case only accomodated the board and not the stones. In my humble opinion, this is not really an issue since it allows the user to be more flexible with which stones to bring along with the board. Besides, YMI's double-convex Yunzis already come with their own carrying bag.
It's always a challenge to strike the right balance between cumbersomeness and the aesthetics of having a full-sized all-wood set when choosing a portable set. I think this new offering from YMI will certainly fill a niche.