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Formatting Question: Should the game GO be capitalized?

Crumbly Writer

Should the game go be capitalized? The normal rule is that you only capitalize proper names or product names, but if I use the lowercase, it looks like a typo, with only the context reinforcing the name. Since the game is easily several hundred years old, there's no trademark remaining (it predates the use of trademarks).

Checking for uses online, I found the Brit Go Association webpage, which does capitalize the game, both in title cases and common (mis-sentence) uses.

Since everyone here argues over context, here's an unambiguous example from my story:

Instead of responding, Em turned to her partner. "You play chess? I'd think you'd be a go aficionado."

robberhands

Yep, that looks strange, but if you capitalize Go, logically you also have to capitalize Chess, and that looks strange to me as well. I'd put the game names in apostrophes and am sure some style guide would chide me for committing such an atrocity.

John Demille

@Crumbly Writer

It's a name. I would always capitalize it, otherwise readers will think it's the verb.

Like 'I told him to go play Go'.

Crumbly Writer

An editor had a better justification (not one based on Style Guide specifications): since go isn't familiar to most readers (unlike chess), capitalizing it marks it as a proper noun, so they won't mistake it for a mistake. After all, I'd rather readers not have to reread the sentence three times to figure out it makes sense. That also argues against likewise capitalizing chess (in the same sentence).

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ernest Bywater

I'd use a capital G in the game Go, the same as I would in the game Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit. However, if you decide not to use a capital you do need to differentiate it from the word go so I'd suggest writing it as 'go' for the game if you don't use a capital. Thus you format it like the name of a book or a film etc.

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

I'd rather readers not have to reread the sentence three times to figure out it makes sense.

I agree you must do something.
I suggest using italics. Hopefully, readers will interpret them as showing a word taken from a foreign language.

I looked at CMOS and couldn't find anything about it.

robberhands

@Ross at Play

Italics used on a two letter word is easily overlooked.

Ross at Play
Updated:

I checked frequencies with ngrams.
The usual practice is 'chess' in lower case but 'Trivial Pursuit' with capitals.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I agree you must do something.
I suggest using italics. Hopefully, readers will interpret them as showing a word taken from a foreign language.

The same problem with italics as exists for single quotes: those conventions have specific uses, which will only further confuse readers. It seems capitalizing the word is the simplest solution, though the only question is also capitalizing Chess, which isn't necessary. Since the reference isn't a central story element, merely adding additional character development, it's use is inherently limited (three reference in two paragraphs.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

The usual practice is 'chess' in lower case but 'Trivial Pursuit' with capitals.

Again, that's standard, since "Trivial Pursuit" is a trademarked name, while chess (and Go) aren't, since they're much too old to be trademarked. Still, the use of capitalizing proper names fits in with reader expectations, so hopefully they won't question it too much when they see it.

Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

It seems capitalizing the word is the simplest solution, though the only question is also capitalizing Chess

I'm inclined to agree capitalising it is the safest solution, but I'd leave chess in lower case.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I'm inclined to agree capitalizing it is the safest solution, but I'd leave chess in lower case.

I'm inclined to agree, though it's harder justifying it based on usage.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Crumbly Writer

When you agree with yourself, it's time for Richard to bring in the puns.

awnlee jawking

@robberhands

When you agree with yourself, it's time for Richard to bring in the puns.


Yes, he's the go-to guy who pops up chesst when needed, although there is some mah-jong of error ;)

AJ

Ross at Play

@robberhands

When you agree with yourself, it's time for Richard to bring in the puns.

Let someone else Go first.

Switch Blayde

@Crumbly Writer

I would capitalize Go, but not chess. To me, Go is more like Monopoly (even if it's no longer trademarked) while chess is generic.

I found this on a board game forum where the person asked "I was just looking in the "Yahoo! Style Guide," where I thought I had seen a rule that said all game names should be capitalized. But actually it just says game titles should be capitalized. It doesn't say what to do with games that don't have titles--like checkers, bridge, and go.": https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/946114/should-game-names-be-capitalized

Someone replied:

According to modern style guides, game names should capitalized AND italicized.


and then someone countered with (I only put the previous one in so that you understand this person's reply):

I'm an editor, and I use style guides all the time. I've never seen such a rule applied to the names of games like chess, checkers, poker, bridge, backgammon, etc. It applies only to the titles of published games such as Monopoly, Careers, Dominion, and Settlers of Catan.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Switch Blayde

I would capitalize Go, but not chess. To me, Go is more like Monopoly (even if it's no longer trademarked) while chess is generic.

As I said, it makes sense given the context and situation (and expectation of readers), but it's difficult to justify if you're called on it. There are NO Style Guides for doing so, though as we all know, what's accepted is what works in a story, not what style guides dictate.

But thanks for all the varied input. I was waiting for the final word from Switch, as I just knew he'd have an opinion on the topic. It helps a lot.

awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

Instead of responding, Em turned to her partner. "You play chess? I'd think you'd be a go aficionado."


If you wanted to be consistent with your capitalisation, you could use little letters throughout as with chess, but spoon-feed your readers by disambiguating the first occurrence. Subsequent occurrences shouldn't be a problem.

Instead of responding, Em turned to her partner. "You play chess? I'd have thought go would be your choice of board game."

Replies:   Switch Blayde
helmut_meukel

As a native German speaker I'm generally unsure when to capitalize words in English, in German it's simple: if it's a noun it's capitalized.

games like chess, checkers, poker, bridge, backgammon, etc. It applies only to the titles of published games such as Monopoly, Careers, Dominion, and Settlers of Catan


How about field or open air games like golf, football, baseball, cricket, rugby, hockey, lacrosse, tennis ...
in-door games like royal tennis, basket-ball, ping-pong, ... ?

HM.

Replies:   helmut_meukel
Switch Blayde
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


Instead of responding, Em turned to her partner. "You play chess? I'd have thought go would be your choice of board game."


That doesn't work for me. To me, "chess" is a type of game (common noun). "Go" is a specific game (proper noun). Maybe it's because "chess" and "poker" are so common.

If you were to make it lower case it would have to be in italics for the same reason non-common foreign words are. To let the reader know you didn't make a mistake.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Switch Blayde

To me, "chess" is a type of game (common noun). "Go" is a specific game (proper noun).


To me it's the other way round - chess is a specific game with one significant variant. Go is more of a type with two significant variants: Chinese and Japanese.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

To me it's the other way round - chess is a specific game with one significant variant. Go is more of a type with two significant variants: Chinese and Japanese.

Plus the classic Go and the much simpler Go Moku (primarily an easy kids' game). But in this case, the "board game" reference doesn't work because the character is Chinese American, and the comment is based on classic racist associations, which he addresses. The "board game" defuses the quasi-racist tinge to the comment, while leaving it off makes the statement a much stronger set-up.

@helmut_meukel

As a native German speaker I'm generally unsure when to capitalize words in English, in German it's simple: if it's a noun it's capitalized.

How about field or open air games like golf, football, baseball, cricket, rugby, hockey, lacrosse, tennis ...
in-door games like royal tennis, basket-ball, ping-pong, ... ?

It's actually fairly simple, as it's NOT a grammar rule but a simple Style Guideline. A rock isn't capitalized because it's just a rock, a simple noun, but Jinga is the proper noun (trademarked name) for a game found in many stores. The idea is that proper names "Jake Smith", "Donald Trump" and even "Coca-Cola" get capitalized, while "president" and "soda" (or "soda-jerk") don't.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
helmut_meukel
Updated:

@helmut_meukel

With names there seems no rule at all:

is it Dupont, DuPont, or Du Pont? or probably duPont?

And then the scottish names:

Mac or Mc?

Capitalization or not? (MacDonald or Macdonald?)

Robert Bain's 'The Clans and Tartans of Scottland' states:

The form of spelling of Names in this book does not indicate that other forms of spelling are wrong. Many Scottish Names may be spelled in two or more ways, and the editors have simply chosen the one which is most popular, e.g. Macphie, Macfee and Macphee are variations of Macfie, but the last spelling is chosen because it is the most commonly used.


HM.

Ernest Bywater

The Wikipedia article on the game has a capital G for the game whenever it mentions it. The Etymology section says:

Etymology
The word "Go" is derived from the full Japanese name igo, which is derived from its Chinese name weiqi (Middle Chinese "hjwɨj-gi"), which roughly translates as "board game of surrounding" or "encircling game". To differentiate the game from the common English verb to go, "g" is generally capitalized,[14] or, in events sponsored by the Ing Chang-ki Foundation, it is spelled goe.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

the comment is based on classic racist associations,


Context is everything!

I was wondering about that - it seemed a strange thing to say since chess and go are both deterministic thus appealing to the same personality type.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ernest Bywater

or, in events sponsored by the Ing Chang-ki Foundation, it is spelled goe.

Ha-ha. Spelling it "goe" would be worse than doing nothing at all, confusing even those already familiar with the game.

It does seem, though, that there's a concerted effort to distinguish the game by capitalizing the name.

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

I was wondering about that - it seemed a strange thing to say since chess and go are both deterministic thus appealing to the same personality type.

It's a character building moment. When the main character's Chinese-American partner states he likes Chess, it leaves his partner curious, so he explains why, which reflects on his upbringing in a mixed community.

Replies:   Geek of Ages
Geek of Ages

@Crumbly Writer

Because he read The Joy Luck Club?

sejintenej

Should the game go be capitalized?

How is it written in adverts and manufacturer's blurb. Certainly it should have a capital G but the other letter depends on official usage.
A parallel could be iPad - the manufacturer's preferred name for the device.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@sejintenej

There is a modern-day game of Go which is still under copyright/patent or whatever, but I believe CW is referring to the traditional Chinese/Japanese game which was invented before copyrights/patents. There are many manufacturers of go boards and stones but I'm not aware of any public adverts for them or standards thereof.

When I played, we used generic unbranded equipment sold by the London Go Centre (which seems to have moved a few times).

AJ

Replies:   sejintenej
sejintenej
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


There are many manufacturers of go boards and stones but I'm not aware of any public adverts for them or standards thereof.


In your first line you referred to Go and not go or GO. Given that Go is how you know it, because that is how the London Go Centre wrote it then probably that is the way it is best known by the public at large. The whole matter is about ensuring that the reader understands.

End of story

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@sejintenej

In your first line you referred to Go and not go or GO.


That is not the game of go under discussion. After trying go for the first time, I decided to buy my own set and went to a toyshop. They said they did have Go and showed me something in a cardboard box that was quite different. A board may have been involved but I believe dice were too and it catered for more than two players.

AJ

Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

A board may have been involved but I believe dice were too and it catered for more than two players.

Traditional Go can be played by multiple players (three or four), though not in competitive play.

Replies:   helmut_meukel
helmut_meukel

@Crumbly Writer

Traditional Go can be played by multiple players (three or four)

Can you cite a source for this?

HM.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
helmut_meukel

@awnlee jawking

They said they did have Go and showed me something in a cardboard box that was quite different. A board may have been involved but I believe dice were too and it catered for more than two players.

Probably they tried to sell you a box set of games and Go was one of the games in the box.

HM.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@helmut_meukel

Probably they tried to sell you a box set of games and Go was one of the games in the box.
HM.


No, it was a distinct game in its own right. It was many years ago and I haven't seen it recently so it may well be out of production.

AJ

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@helmut_meukel

Can you cite a source for this?

Personal recollection only, at this point. It's been a long time since I visited any Go sites to study the game. Back in the day, in my teens, I read several books on the subject, but that's the extent of my knowledge on it.

The multiplayer revolves around either using teams (2 x 2) or having a third player who takes turns like the main two players, and often acts as a wild card, upsetting everyone else's strategy. Needless to say, I never played these variations very often, as finding any Go players was a challenge, and most Go players wouldn't play anything other than the competition version (1 x 1).

Replies:   helmut_meukel
Crumbly Writer

@awnlee jawking

No, it was a distinct game in its own right. It was many years ago and I haven't seen it recently so it may well be out of production.

It doesn't involve dice, but many Americans are confused between Go and Go Muko, which only involves five spots (dots) across. Thus, if you walk into a game store, they're more likely to sell you the children's game than the adult game.

helmut_meukel

@Crumbly Writer

The multiplayer revolves around either using teams (2 x 2) or having a third player who takes turns like the main two players, and often acts as a wild card, upsetting everyone else's strategy. Needless to say, I never played these variations very often, as finding any Go players was a challenge, and most Go players wouldn't play anything other than the competition version (1 x 1)


Thank you for the info.

I've never played Go or even seen a game played, except in Movies or TV where it was just part of the set, the action interupting the game.
I speed read the German and English Wikipedia entries and I think there is nothing there about multiplayer.
I then thought about how more players could participate and came up with other colors for additional players (stones made of jade or amber) with less stones per player.
3 Players: 120, 120, 121 stones;
4 Players: 90, 90, 90, 91 stones;
But adding more players this way would probably cause chaos.

So I asked you how it's done.

HM.

BTW, a similar but far less complex occidental game is "Nine Men's Morris".

awnlee jawking

@helmut_meukel

But adding more players this way would probably cause chaos.


It would be like adding more players to a game of chess.

AJ

Replies:   helmut_meukel
Ross at Play

@helmut_meukel

a similar but far less complex occidental game is "Nine Men's Morris".

Go is definitely a game for afficionados and its appeal is its complexity.
While on the surface it may seem less complex than chess, there is only one type of piece, it has taken far longer to develop computers capable of beating the best human players.
https://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21694540-win-or-lose-best-five-battle-contest-another-milestone
https://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21694883-alphagos-masters-taught-it-game-electrifying-match-shows-what

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
helmut_meukel
Updated:

@awnlee jawking


It would be like adding more players to a game of chess.


No, chess has all it's pieces set-up on the board before starting the game, there is no room for a third player's pieces.

On a 19x19 standard board for Go are 361 fields and there are a total of 361 stones, 180 white and 181 black – black always starts. Go starts with no stone on the board!

So for more than 2 players each has to to get fewer stones to add up to 361. this would work fine for 3 or 4 players (see my previous post for the numbers) with still one player with the addidional stone to start the game.

A good comparison might be a battlefield where 3 or 4 armies are fighting each other. Everyone has 2 or even 3 enemies to fight against concurrently. Chaos!

So in real live two build an alliance to fight the third, then after the victory the two allies are free to fight each other.

HM.

Ross at Play

@helmut_meukel

A good comparison might be a battlefield where 3 or 4 armies are fighting each other. Everyone has 2 or even 3 enemies to fight against concurrently. Chaos!

The game Diplomacy is exactly like that. It's the only multi-player board game, best with 7 players, I have played that is genuinely interesting. It's "fair" too: there are no dice or other random elements. Most of the time playing is spent negotiating with others seeking mutually beneficial moves - but beware of betrayals. You find out quickly 'who your real friends are' and who are the treacherous bastards you should never speak to again. :-)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diplomacy_(game)

Replies:   JohnBobMead
awnlee jawking

@helmut_meukel

A player gains an advantage in go by surrounding and thereby capturing their opponent's stones. That simply doesn't work with more than two different coloured stones unless you can work out a way for two colours to cooperate, and that's not go.

AJ

JohnBobMead

@Ross at Play

and who are the treacherous bastards you should never speak to again. :-)


I resemble that remark...

Haven't played Diplomacy since High School (class of 1979), not from lack of interest, but rather that I've never been able to round up enough people who were interested at the same time. I've owned a copy for most of that time, just in case.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

Go is definitely a game for afficionados and its appeal is its complexity.
While on the surface it may seem less complex than chess, there is only one type of piece, it has taken far longer to develop computers capable of beating the best human players.

What really makes it complicated, is that while the game is all about lines of support and capturing 'safe spaces', no space is ever truly safe, and just when you think you're pulling ahead, your opponent is likely to recapture a huge swath of territory. In that way, it's completely unlike Chess, which is a steady progression towards an end goal.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Crumbly Writer

@JohnBobMead

Haven't played Diplomacy since High School (class of 1979), not from lack of interest, but rather that I've never been able to round up enough people who were interested at the same time. I've owned a copy for most of that time, just in case.

I played it in college (back when school kids still played board games. It was just before D&D was first launched, and the Diplomacy games were incredibly intense, with complex negotiations held in separate rooms as the combatants worked out competing alliances.

But then, back in those days, I was also playing "War Games" reacting famous military battles which could take a week or more to play out.

Joe Long

@helmut_meukel

A good comparison might be a battlefield where 3 or 4 armies are fighting each other. Everyone has 2 or even 3 enemies to fight against concurrently. Chaos!


Syria.

Replies:   Ross at Play
JohnBobMead

@Crumbly Writer

It was just before D&D was first launched, and the Diplomacy games were incredibly intense, with complex negotiations held in separate rooms as the combatants worked out competing alliances.


Ditto. In fact, I was the one who introduced D&D at my high school, a short while later. Had to mail order the rules, no one in the Portland, OR area carried them; wasn't long, though, until a couple of places did.

Never did do any real wargaming, although there was a small community of active wargamers in Portland for quite some time.

As far as I know there may still be a small die-hard corp, if they succeeded in recruiting new blood.

Didn't get back in contact when I moved back from Chicago in 1994, and then I moved to Tacoma some seven or so years ago.

Replies:   richardshagrin
richardshagrin
Updated:

@JohnBobMead


get back in contact


I suggest you google Metro Seattle Gamers if you want to reach some hard-core gamers in the area. Tacoma is sort of in the area of Seattle. If you don't want to make the drive, you might find some gamers at The Game Matrix. (It is Tacoma's PREMIER retail store for RPG's, CCG's, Miniature Gaming, Board Games and hobby game supplies.) Their site says it, it must be true. I've been there for Ancient miniature games (aka DBA).

Ross at Play

@Joe Long

@ helmet
Everyone has 2 or even 3 enemies to fight against concurrently. Chaos!
@ Joe
Syria.

Yugoslavia ... Donald Trump

Replies:   Joe Long
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

I was also playing "War Games" reacting famous military battles which could take a week or more to play out.

I once played Germany in a WW II game, and managed with my first move to crash through an inadequately defended Maginot Line, send my Panzers divisions through and drop extra paratroops, and capture Paris! Way ahead of schedule, I stupidly onto an all-out Battle-of-Britain assault. I went broke very quickly and had been crushed by 1943. :-(

What my smaller-moustached doppelgänger should have done was decide to take Gibraltar, and take out Franco too if he objected.

So while thinking about WW II do-overs, has anyone read, or watched the TV adaptation, of Philip K. Dick's The Man in the High Castle? I have never been so disappointed in the ending of any story. I devoted about 8 hours of my life to watching an interesting-enough story - only to have it all wiped in the final minute with the "revelation" that it was all a dream, or an alternative universe that no longer exists - there was not even an explanation of what had happened.

Does anyone else think that story is about the worst example of dues ex machina anyone's ever written?

Replies:   richardshagrin
Joe Long

@Ross at Play

Yugoslavia ... Donald Trump


I don't get it.

Let's look at Syria. In the country itself you have the Assad government, the secular rebels (Free Syria) and ISIS. Then the neighbors Turkey, Kurdistan, Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Lebanon (Hezbollah). Add in the global powers Russia and America.

That's 12. We're used to thinking in binary terms such as Allies and Axis, but in Syria each of these 12 have their own slate of those they support and those they oppose.

Turkey and the US are both NATO members and both are fighting ISIS, but come down on different sides regarding the Kurds. Turkey flies missions against the Kurds and the US flies in support - out of the same airbase in Turkey!

Ross at Play

@Joe Long

Let's look at Syria.

I agree Syria is much more chaotic than the examples I provided.

richardshagrin

@Ross at Play

Germany in a WW II game

If the game was a multi-player version of "Third Reich" (an older Avalon Hill game, when they were independent) an interesting option for France is to make an agreement with Germany not to capture Paris but to help Germany out by declaring war on neutrals, saving German basic resource points (BRPs) and automatically making them German allies. Including France declaring war on Italy, activating them at no cost to Italy, normally about 50 BRPs. It doesn't reduce the German Decisive Victory Conditions to let France hang around, live until 1944 or so, and it gives France a Decisive Victory as well. If France invades Spain or amphibiously attacks Turkey, instant German (or maybe Italian) ally. Can't do it all in one turn, of course, France's BRPs are almost as limited as Italy's. Another advantage is the British and US players can not invade French owned coastal hexes, if the French decide to keep them away. Multi-player Diplomacy, it can turn up in the strangest games.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@richardshagrin

The name, Third Reich, and BRPs sounds familiar but I only ever played it as a two-player game. It's all a bit fuzzy. It was about 40 years ago - and I would surely have been stoned at the time.
What I recall is that naval fleets had to purchased a long time before they became available. Also, the rules were strict on Spain and Switzerland being neutral, and Russia too until a particular move during 1942.

awnlee jawking

@Crumbly Writer

no space is ever truly safe


That's not true - a configuration with two eyes can never be captured.

AJ

Switch Blayde

@Joe Long

Let's look at Syria. In the country itself you have the Assad government, the secular rebels (Free Syria) and ISIS. Then the neighbors Turkey, Kurdistan, Iraq, Iran and Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Lebanon (Hezbollah). Add in the global powers Russia and America.


Don't forget Israel. They attack Hezbollah in Syria when they believe weapons are being delivered to Lebanon. I believe they also return fire when shells land in Israel from Syria.

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