Equipment Review: The Go Bento Box

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Go Game Set Bento Box

Descrip­tion: The “Go Game Set Bento Box” this is per­haps the first prod­uct I’ve seen that aims to pro­vide play­ers with a portable set of go stones that are not cheap plas­tic stones. Not only do they pack away very well and are easy to carry, but the stones are also a respectable size and mate­r­ial that should delight any go player who wants a portable set of stones!

Prod­uct Details

Title Go Game Set Bento Box
Prod­uct Go Stones and Bowls
Stones (Mate­r­ial) Glass (Ceramic)
Stones (Size) Size 22 (7 mm thick and 21 mm in diameter)
Stones (Quan­tity) 160 Black and 160 White Stones
Mate­r­ial (Bowls) Plas­tic
Weight 4 lbs / 1.8 kg
Ven­dor GoGame­Guru
Man­u­fac­turer Baduk Broth­ers

Syn­op­sis

What’s the best aspect about this product?

  • Real stones that are portable!

What is the weak­est aspect of this product?

  • Though it pack­ages well, it is lack­ing a strap of some sort to keep the lid from com­ing off dur­ing transit.

Is it durable?

  • Yes. I think they will hold up well over­all. I will update if I find any evi­dence to the contrary.

Bot­tom Line

  1. The first portable go set to have real stones while being easy to carry!
  2. A fan­tas­tic com­pan­ion to the fold­ing go board.
  3. Highly rec­om­mended for any­one look­ing for a portable set with real stones!

What I Was Hop­ing For

As some­one who has bought his fair share of portable go sets, the one thing I always felt was lack­ing was the feel­ing of real stones. The mag­netic go sets always came with plas­tic stones that did the job when you had noth­ing else, but left me wish­ing I had real stones each time. And I had tried bring­ing my actual go stones and bowls out to cof­fee shops, but they were rather cum­ber­some and awk­ward to carry. In addi­tion, I was always wor­ried I would dam­age them in tran­sit since I would be car­ry­ing them in a backpack.

So when I dis­cov­ered this set, I was thrilled at the idea that I might get to bring a go set with legit­i­mate stones wher­ever I went. I had never owned glass/ceramic stones that were size 22 before, but I was cer­tainly hop­ing that they would do the trick when­ever I was on the go and in need of a go set.

My Review

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Since it’s been awhile since I reviewed equip­ment last, we start with the prod­uct in all its glory! Once you take it out of the box, you have the following:

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The prod­uct prior to open­ing the lid. (For those notic­ing the yel­low tint, it is from the lid of the prod­uct and not light­ing issues).

As you can see, this is a set of glass Go stones, plas­tic bowls and a plas­tic Go board that pack away snugly, just like a lunch box! Very portable and very easy to hold in one had. The only down­side I will say to this design how­ever is that it does seem to lack some sort of strap­ping mech­a­nism to pre­vent the lid from com­ing off in a back­pack. A rub­ber band will do the trick, but I do wish there was some­thing that came with the product.

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Bento box with­out the lid.

As you can clearly see here, the 160 stones of each color fit quite com­fort­ably in each box and do not show any signs of spilling out of the box. In addi­tion, for those who are con­cerned with the fact that the set is less than the stan­dard 361 stone set, keep in mind that most go games are less than 300 moves. So though it might seem like “less,” this set will actu­ally be more than ade­quate 99% of the time.

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Side angle shot of bowls and stones to show that there is a nice depth to them that reminds you of a bowl.

One of the things I dis­liked about other portable sets was the lack of dip­ping my hand into a bowl to grab a stone. Either the plas­tic bowls were way too shal­low, or the stones were in a bag which did not really repli­cate the feel­ing very well. So even though this is a portable set, there is still enough depth to pro­vide the “bowl-like” feel­ing (which was very much appreciated).

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The pri­mary con­tents of the go bento box (2 lids, 2 bowls and the respec­tive stones).

As you can see above, the pri­mary com­po­nents of this set are the 2 bowls to hold the stones, the lids, and the stones them­selves. Some­thing that peo­ple might over­look, how­ever, is that the lids actu­ally have another func­tion besides pro­vid­ing the “bento box” shape.

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The lids dou­ble as ways to hold your cap­tured stones when you’re on the go! They’re even color coor­di­nated! How clever!

The stones were over­all in great con­di­tion. Unfor­tu­nately, I did receive a cou­ple of chipped stones. There was only one that had a major chip (which was unus­able) and one with a minor chip, but oth­er­wise it was okay.

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Besides the chipped stones, the stones seem to hold up rather well. They aren’t exactly top-notch mate­r­ial and might dam­age over a long period of time, but that is only fair when you con­sider that you are only pay­ing around $25 for this set.

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The stones in action on my fold­ing go board at a cof­fee shop!

When it came time to using them, I have to say that they were a delight to use. Although they are not as thick as the stones that one might nor­mally use at a go club or at home, the size and weight of the stones are more than ade­quate when it comes to pro­vid­ing that feel­ing of pick­ing up and plac­ing the go stone on the board. And as you can see in the pic­ture above, they fit quite nicely on my fold­ing go board and look great!

So at the end of the day, I have to say that The Go Bento Box from GoGame­Guru is a great prod­uct that pro­vides incred­i­ble value for those inter­ested in obtain­ing a portable set that keeps the essence of real stones with­out the hefty weight and bulky items. I wouldn’t nec­es­sar­ily rec­om­mend it as your pri­mary set of stones that you use at home, but when it comes to need­ing a set of stones on the go, this prod­uct fits the job descrip­tion! Highly recommended!

Note: The new Go Bento Box also includes a durable, full size, crease resis­tant 19x19 plas­tic Go board. Unfor­tu­nately, when I pur­chased this set it did not come with one; but since most of you will prob­a­bly be pur­chas­ing this for the stones, I hope that you don’t mind!

Where Can I Buy It?

  • GoGame­Guru — $27.00 (ship­ping and han­dling not included)

Last Updated on Novem­ber 12th, 2013

  • Todd Bowlby

    I didn’t receive any sort of board with this, just a brief Baduk pam­phlet in Korean which I barely glanced at before toss­ing out.

    I keep mine in my “go back­pack” in the box it shipped with. It doesn’t keep it so tight that there aren’t stones spilled over into the wrong colour after kick­ing around in my back­pack, but it keeps them pretty well separated.

    They get tiny chips rat­tling around in my go back­pack, but are still playable so far. I did end up with a cou­ple shat­tered stones after the inevitabe knock­ing over of a bowl onto a coffee-shop tile floor. Still well worth the money, though, when I’m already cart­ing a bunch of 9x9s with stones in lock n locks, a fold­ing 19x19, and a few go books around in my backpack.

    • http://gogameguru.com/ Go Game Guru

      Todd, great to hear you’re enjoy­ing the set.

      We used to sell the bento bowls and stones with­out the board. In late Octo­ber, we replaced that prod­uct with a com­plete set, that also includes a light­weight board. In other words, this is a slightly dif­fer­ent prod­uct to the one you ordered earlier.

      Peo­ple have been ask­ing to buy the boards indi­vid­u­ally, so (if you want one) we’ll be adding them to the store, as a very cheap board, soon.

      • Todd Bowlby

        Great! I’ve been telling some new play­ers in our newly formed Go club about your entry-level Go equip­ment, and I’ll be sure to men­tion the stones we play with almost every week now come with a light­weight board.

      • http://www.bengozen.com/ Ben

        Ahhhh… no won­der! I could’ve sworn that I never had one to begin with. Time to update the review! xD

    • http://www.bengozen.com/ Ben

      Glad to hear your expe­ri­ence with them! It’s always great to hear another opin­ion from some­one who has used them longer than I have. I can def­i­nitely see how they might chip over time, but def­i­nitely agree that they are well worth it regardless. =)

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