Frequently Asked Questions

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Dragon game setup
  • How do I start a new game?
    There are several ways to start a new game:
    • Join a game offered within the waiting room.
       
      Use this method if you are looking for a new opponent. First, click the waiting room link in the menu. Find a game that you want to join, and then click the "Info" button to the left of it. At the bottom of the page should be a detailed description of the game info. If you want to join it, press the "Join" button. It’s that easy.
       
    • Offer your own game within the waiting room.
       
      If none of the games in the waiting room suit your palate, then you can place your own game offer. To do this, use the new game page, fill in the form and press "Add Game" button and wait. You will probably be playing within a few days.
       
    • Invite your friends.
       
      If you know an opponent's user-id you can send an invitation by following the Invite link in the main menu. Fill in your desired game options, and send it. Your opponent can accept or dispute the game options.
      There is also an "Invite this user" link at the bottom of every user-info page. Following this link will accomplish the same as above, but quicker.
  • How can I invite a friend to a game?
    Open the Invite page from the main menu. For this you have to know the userid of the other player. As alternative you may open the players user info page and then follow the "Invite this user" link on the page bottom. You can also start an invitation from the contacts page by clicking the the (img)-icon for one of your buddies. Then you can configure your game invitation.
     
    You have to choose from several options. Most of those items are the same as in adding a new game in the waiting room and are not repeated here. But there are some important features, that are unique for invitations, so ensure you get to know them as well. The following list comprises the differences, which are briefly explained:
    • To (userid): Choose the player you want to invite.
      If you press the "Preview" button and you and your opponent have a valid rating, the probable handicap and komi is given for the Conventional and Proper handicap to the right of the particular option in the game-settings. To see them you may have to scroll up on the invitation page.
       
    • Message: Free text field. You may type in a nice greeting message, explaining why you invite the other player or just say "hello" ;-)
    • The Require rated opponent and Comment items known from the waiting room page are not needed for an invitation and are therefore omitted.

    If you want to invite users with similar game-settings, you can save the game-settings in a template.
     
    Submitting the invitation sends a message to your invited player. Your opponent player then can accept, reject or dispute your game invitation.
     
    A disputed invitation show also the differences between the original invitation and the disputed game-settings.
     
    When a game-invitation or dispute is not answered by accepting, rejecting or disputing for longer than 6 months, it will be deleted automatically. The text messages are still there, but they cannot be used to start a game any more. A new invitation must then be sent.
  • How can I add a new game offer in the waiting room?
    To create game offers in the waiting room, you have to open the New Game page, which contains a page of simple game settings. With the bottom-links you can choose how to create a new game offer:

    You have to make some choices (in order of appearance), which are briefly explained here. These are used for the new game views though not all are available for all views:
    • Number of games to add: You can offer up to 10 games with the same setting. 1 is the default.
    • Board size: You can choose between a size of 5 and 25. Standard sizes are 19x19, 13x13 and 9x9. Different sizes show different impacts on the players' ratings.
       
    • Handicap type: To choose the handicap type of the game, you have to choose one of Conventional handicap, Proper handicap or Manual setting. If you choose Manual setting, you can adjust handicap and komi. You must select from Nigiri, Double, Black or White.
    • Adjust Handicap: On the expert view you can choose a reduced or increased number of handicap stones, and you set a minimum and maximum limit for the handicap stones. This is most useful in combination with the Conventional or Proper handicap type.
    • Standard placement: Choose this option, when you want a standard placement of potential handicap stones.
    • Adjust Komi: On the expert view you can choose to reduce or increase the Komi. With the option "Jigo mode" you can choose if you want to enforce or forbid <home >Jigo. This is most useful in combination with the Conventional or Proper handicap type.
       
    • Main time: Choose the main time for your game. Then choose one of the overtime settings: Japanese byo-yomi, Canadian byo-yomi or Fischer time.
      Choosing "0" as overtime is possible. In that case, the game only runs with an absolute time. When it's up, the game is over.
    • Clock runs on weekends: Weekend setting for the game.
       
    • Rated game: Specify, if your game should be a rated game or not. To get rated game, also choose the option "Require rated opponent" and be sure that the other conditions are met.
    • Require rated opponent: Choose this option, if you require an opponent with a valid rating. Additionally you can choose the rating range for your opponent.
    • Min. rated finished games: With this option you can enforce, that your opponent can only join your game offer, if he or she has a minimum amount of rated finished games.
    • Accept same opponent: With this option you can prevent, that the same user joins your game offer more than once.
      See How can I prevent that the same user joins my waiting room game twice?
       
    • Comment: An optional free text comment, you can give about your game. For example: "teaching game offered" and "please make comments on your moves".

    To get a rated game, be sure that all the conditions for getting a rated game are met. You may want to choose the option Require rated opponent to ask for opponents within a certain rating range.
  • How can I delete my game offer from the waiting room?
    Click on the info button of your game offer. At the bottom of the resulting page is a button to delete the game. If no player accepts a game offer within a few weeks it is removed automatically.
  • How to start a fair-komi game?
    A fair-komi game can be started as an even game without handicap stones by an invitation or by creating a new fair-komi game offer in the waiting room.
    Fair-komi games are not supported for multi-player-games or for Dragon Tournaments.
     
    For a fair-komi game you must choose from one the four fair-komi handicap-types and choose from one of the options for "Jigo-Check". The other game-settings are described in How to add a game offer in the waiting room and are not repeated here.
     
    The options for Jigo-Check influence the checks on the komi bids during the komi negotation phase for fair-komi games:
    • No Jigo restrictions: the komi bids can increase by 0.5 point steps.
    • Enforce Jigo: the komi bids can only be whole numbers (no fractional part thereby allowing Jigo).
    • Forbid Jigo: the komi bids must be fractional always ending with a .5 to prevent a Jigo.

    When your game offer is accepted, the fair-komi game starts with the komi negotiation phase. From this point on forward, the game clocks are running. The game page (and game-info page) show instructions how to do the bidding on komi (or to choose the playing color).
     
    Finally here's a hint: If you are undecided how to do your komi bids, you should ask yourself: "Would I rather play White or Black with this komi?"
  • What are the items on the Waiting room page?
    The Waiting room page is divided into two sections:
    • A list with game offers by the users. Clicking on the "Info" button will show a detailed info box about that game offer. Then you may join it, or you may choose another game offer from the list above.
       
    • Links to show other views of the games in the waiting room page:
      • All waiting games: shows all game offers except your own, but including the ones you can not join.
      • Suitable waiting games: shows only games, that you can join matched by several criteria configured by the game-offer.
      • My waiting games: shows only your own game-offers.

    Here is a brief explanation of the columns in the waiting room game list waiting for players to join them. The term "game" in the following entries refers to the game offered by the listed user identified by "Userid". Some more details you will find on How to add a new game offer.
    • Info: Click to show detailed info about the game. This info box repeats some of the static parameters of the game offer, but is extended with more information: see What are the items for a game offer?
    • UserType: see User Type icons
    • Name: Real name of the user, that added the game.
    • Userid: Login-ID of the user, that added the game.
    • Country: Country, the user choose to live in.
    • Rating: Current rating of the user, that added the game.
    • Comment: Additional comment from the user about the game. Free text.
    • GameType: see Game types
    • Size: Board size to use for the game.
    • Type: see Handicap types
    • Settings: Probable game settings used for the game; see What is shown in the Settings column in the waiting room?
    • Handicap: Number of handicap stones
    • Komi: The Komi for the game.
    • Restrictions: This column shows the restrictions for the game offer. Normally only the suitable games, that you are allowed to join, are shown. If you view all waiting games and you are not allowed to join the game, the column field is filled with a red background.
    • Time limit: Time limit specification for the game with Japanese byo-yomi, Canadian byo-yomi or Fischer time.
    • Rated: Indicates, if the game is played as rated or unrated game.
    • #Games: Number of games with the same game settings. Can be in range of 1 to 10.
    • Weekend Clock: The weekend clock setting of the game. Yes = game clock runs on weekend, No = game clock stopped on weekend.
    • Standard Placement: Indicates, if handicap stones should be placed on the standard positions or can be placed freely on the board.
  • What are the items for a game offer?
    If you select the Info for one of the game offers in the waiting-room or you received a game invitation or dispute, an info table contains information about what game settings would be used if you join the particular game offer.
     
    Here's a brief explanation of the fields in the main Info section (in the order of appearance). Please take note, that not all fields are available for all views:
    • Number of games: number of offered games in waiting-room with same settings
    • Number of game-players: number of free slots for multi-player-game
    • Player: name and user-if of opponent
    • Rating: rating of opponent
    • Started games: number of already started and running games with opponent
    • Shape Game: information about shape for shape-game
    • Game Type: see Game Types
    • Ruleset: Japanese rules
    • Size: board size
    • Type: see Handicap Types
    • Colors: the colors given for the opponent and yourself in the game (if possible to calculate at the time)
    • Handicap: number of handicap stones from game-offer (may be different from actual handicap used for game, see "Game settings" below)
    • Komi: komi from game-offer (may be different from actual handicap used for game, see "Game settings" below)
    • Handicap adjustment: Adjustment for handicap stones (increase, reduction of stones); minimum and maximum handicap
    • Standard placement: free or standard placement of handicap stones
    • Komi adjustment: Adjustment for komi (increase, reduction of komi)
    • Rating restrictions: Accepted rating range of your rating; you are not allowed to join if red background is shown.
    • Accept same opponent: restrictions that show how often the same opponent can join the same game offer; you are not allowed to join if red background is shown
    • Main time: main-time used for game
    • Japanese byoyomi, Canadian byoyomi, Fischer time: extra time used for game
    • Rated game: if game is rated or unrated
    • Clock runs on weekends: Yes = clock runs on weekend, No = clock stopped on weekend
    • Comment: Comment of game-offer from waiting-room

    What follows is a section with the Game settings or Probable game settings:
    • The section "Probable game settings" contains a probable handicap calculus according to your current rating. It's called probable, because a lot of things can happen while you are just reading it, e.g. the rating of the user can be changed, which also changes the calculated settings.
       
    • Color: The color field may contain a nice image indicating which color you get in the game:
      • (img) : you get White color
      • (img) : you get Black color
      • (img) (yin-yang symbol) : your color is chosen by random indicating an even or handicap game with nigiri
      • (img) + (img) : double game, you get one game with White and one with Black color

    • Handicap: number of handicap stones used for the actual game
    • Komi: komi used for the actual game
    • Jigo-Check: Jigo mode for fair komi
  • What types are there for a game offer?
    A game offer (invitation or waiting-room) has two kind of types:
     
    Game-Type:
    • Go : the standard (non-multi-player) Go game
    • Team-Go : multi-player-game with two teams playing each other
    • Zen-Go : multi-player-game with odd number of players taking turns

    Handicap-Type: game-setting that influences the setup and start of a game; often referred to only as "Type":
    • Conventional: see Conventional handicap
    • Proper: see Proper handicap
       
    • Manual setting (even or handicap game):
      • Nigiri: see Nigiri (even or handicapped game)
      • Double: see Double game
      • Color Black: player that offers game gets Black color
      • Color White: player that offers game gets White color

    • Fair Komi (even game): see Fair-komi game
      • Open Auction: Fair-komi game with an open auction to negotiate komi
      • Secret Auction: Fair-komi game with a secret auction to negotiate komi
      • You cut, I choose: Fair-komi game with Divide&Choose, one player chooses komi, the other the color
      • I cut, You choose: Fair-komi game with Divide&Choose, one player chooses komi, the other the color
  • What is shown in the Settings column in the waiting room?
    The waiting room has a column Settings, that shows the probable game settings used for a particular game offer.
    For your own game offers, the Settings-field is empty or only contains "(FH)" to indicate free handicap placement.
     
    The Settings field basically consists of two parts:
    • A "color"-icon with a tooltip telling about the likely color for the player to join, if you hover with the mouse over it. This can be one of the following icons:
      • (img) = indicates, that the color can not be determined yet (it's decided later)
      • (img) = your color will (probable) be White
      • (img) = your color will (probable) be Black
      • (img) = you play a double-game, one as White and one as Black player

      Probable color means, that the color could when you join the game as in the meantime the players ratings could change which influences the color settings. If the word "probable" is omitted, the color-setting is clear (e.g. with a manual handicap-type and fix color).
       
    • Additional information about the handicap and komi.
      The 2nd part can consist of a short text description or a special format for fair-komi games and multi-player-games.

    Here are some examples of the Settings field:
    • (img) Even = Even game with Nigiri (no handicap stones)
    • (img) H3 K-2 = Game with 3 handicap stones, -2 points komi and color chosen by Nigiri, standard handicap placement is used.
    • (img) H7 K0.5 (FH) = Handicapped game with 7 handicap stones and 0.5 points Komi, free handicap placement is used.
       
    • (img) Even / Hx Ky [(FH)] = Double game (even / handicap game with x handicap stones and y points komi). The optional suffix of "(FH)" indicates, that free handicap placement is used.
       
    • (img) (img) (3/4) = multi-player-game, color is determined by the game-master that started the game-offer. The (img)-icon has a tooltip showing number of free slots to join when you hover with the mouse over it.
       
    • (img) Negotiate = fair-komi game, the color will be determined by fair-komi negotiation between the players.
  • What does a red background in the waiting room mean?
    A light red background in the column "Restrictions" in the waiting room means that you are not suitable and therefore are not allowed to join that particular game offer. There is one exception, which is explained below.
     
    The restrictions applied for a game offer are shown in an abbreviated form in the "Restrictions" column. The used abbreviations are given below as examples in green color.
     
    A waiting game offer is suitable when a player matches the requested game restrictions on:
    • Handicap-type: For Conventional or Proper handicap you need a valid rating for calculations.
       
    • Rating range: the players rating must be within the requested rating range, e.g. "25k-2d".
       
    • Number of rated finished games: the player must have at least the given number of rated finished games, e.g. "RG[2]"
       
    • Accept same opponent: the player may not be allowed to join the same game offer more than once. The different options and abbreviations are explained mode in How can I prevent that the same user joins my game offer more than once?
      Examples: "SOT[1]" or "SO[1x]" or "SO[>7d]".
       
    • Max. number of opponents started games: the number of the players started games must not exceed the server-specific limits; a violated restriction is indicated by "MXG".
       
    • Hide waiting room games: the player can use the contacts feature to hide game offers from certain users in the waiting room. Game offers that match this "restriction" are marked by "[H]".
       
      If the only matching restriction violation is Hide the waiting room games of a particular user, the game offer can still be joined, because that option only influences WHAT games are shown in the default search for suitable games. The player can still see and join the games via the "All waiting games".
       
      Do not mix the contact system category "Hide waiting room games" with the system category of "Protect waiting room games", which protects your game offers from joining. "Hidden" game offers can still be viewed searching for All waiting games, while "protected" game offers can not be found at all.

    If any of the above restrictions is not met, the red background indicates the game offer as non suitable. In that case, the game offer can not be joined (except if the only restriction is "[H]", see "Hide waiting room games" above).
  • How many games can I start at the same time?
    The number of simultaneous games you can start is currently 200 games. If the limits is reached you get an error when you want to join a game or invite another player to a game. Other players get an error as well if they want to invite you to more games if your limit is reached.
     
    If 75% of the maximum number of games is reached a warning is given when you want to start new games. We advise you not to start too much games, because then you have no reserves. It's also easy to loose track when there are too many games at once.
  • How can I prevent that the same user joins my game offer more than once?
    In the expert view for creating a new game offer for the waiting room, you can use the option "Accept same opponent" to prevent that the same user joins your game offer too often.
     
    You can choose from three types of restrictions.
    The text in green color gives the abbreviated form shown in the Restrictions column in the waiting room:
    • X total times = a player can NOT join your game offer, if the player have at least X running games with you.
      Example: If you currently play one game with user A and you choose "2 total times" as restriction, player A can join your game offer only one more time.
      Abbreviated form: SOT[2]
       
    • X times (same offer) = a player can NOT join the same game offer for more than X times.
      Example: "2 times (same offer)" means the same player can at most join 2 games for a particular game-offer.
      Abbreviated form: SO[2x]
       
    • after X days = a player can NOT join the same game offer unless X days have passed.
      Example: "after 3 days" means, that the same player need to wait at least 3 days before he can join the same game-offer again.
      Abbreviated form: SO[>3d]
  • Why is my game not rated?
    A game is rated and will affect your ratings, if all of the following conditions are met:
    • The game must be started as a rated game, whether offered in the waiting room or by invitation.
    • Both players must have a DGS rating when the game has started.

    DGS rating does not mean Rank info, but the rating managed by Dragon. You can set an initial rating in your user profile. Be careful choosing your rating as it can normally not be changed once you set it and you played a rated game. If your strength changed in a big step (over 6k of rating difference), then you may ask for a rating-change following the instructions of the Change DGS-rating and rank-info page.
  • What does handicap mean?
    If two players differ in strength, they can (and should) agree that their game will start with additional "handicap" stones for the weaker player. Handicap stones are always given to black, and -if chosen well- compensates for the difference in Go skill. With handicap stones the game will become more interesting and each player will have an equal chance to win.
     
    On a 19x19 goban the handicap is equal to the difference in ranks. For other goban sizes Dragon scales it appropriately.
     
    Traditionally, handicap stones are placed on hoshi in a set pattern depending on the number of stones. On Dragon Black is allowed to place handicap stones freely.
     
    Please note that many players prefer to have handicap stones placed on the hoshi points. So if you're the one getting the handicap it's good form to agree wether to use traditional or free placement with your opponent. Offering a game in the waiting room let you choose if you prefer standard handicap placement.
  • Where are (standard) handicap stones placed?
    According to chinese rules handicap stones are placed anywhere. According to japanese rules handicap stones are placed following a given pattern. If nothing is explicitly agreed upon, most players will expect black to use japanese rules. The following list gives the handicap stone positions on the 19x19 goban. This is also explained very well on Wikipedia at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_handicap
    • 1 stone: The weaker player plays black without komi.
    • 2 stones: D4 + Q16
    • 3 stones: D4 + Q4 + Q16
    • 4 stones: D4 + Q4 + D16 + Q16
    • 5 stones: D4 + Q4 + K10 + D16 + Q16
    • 6 stones: D4 + Q4 + D10 + Q10 + D16 + Q16
    • 7 stones: D4 + Q4 + D10 + K10 + Q10 + D16 + Q16
    • 8 stones: D4 + K4 + Q4 + D10 + Q10 + D16 + K16 + Q16
    • 9 stones: D4 + K4 + Q4 + D10 + K10 + Q10 + D16 + K16 + Q16

    In the waiting room and on the invite page there is an option to restrict a game to Standard handicap placement. This follows the outlined patterns above. For the other board sizes and more handicap stones similar patterns are used. On the 19x19 goban, the following pattern is used.
     
    The Standard handicap placement is available for
    • 19x19 boards
    • odd size boards above 7x7: up to 9 stones
    • other boards: up to 4 stones
  • What is the difference between conventional and proper handicap?
    Conventional handicap uses the rank difference (and the board size) to set the handicap. Komi is 0.5 for uneven games and 6.5 for even games. The board size is independent on this. So the komi would be the same 6.5 on a 9x9, 13x13 or 19x19 goban.
     
    Proper handicap uses finer komi intervals (..., 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, ...) to balance minor rating differences to a 50:50 chance for both players.
  • What is an even game with nigiri?
    Even game means that you offer to start a game without handicap stones. Nigiri means that your color is selected randomly.
  • What is a double game?
    With double game you start two new games against the same opponent. You play White in one game and Black in the other. The choosen handicap and komi will be used for both games. In the waiting room the number of handicap stones is shown on the info page for the game offer.
     
    To start a double game as invitation or as new game in the waiting-room you have to choose Double from the select-box right to My color with a choice for Manual setting.
  • What is a fair-komi game?
    A fair-komi game on Dragon is always played as even game (without handicap stones). The komi and the color of the player is not fixed but will be determined at the start of the game by a bidding system. On Dragon there are four ways how this can be done controlled by the handicap type:
    • Open Auction: negotiate komi with an Open Auction
      • Players openly give their komi-bids.
      • Komi-bids are shown to the other player.
      • Komi-bids are given in turn till one player starts the game:
        * Each komi-bid must be higher than the last bid of the opponent.
        * The player with the highest bid takes Black and is giving that number of komi to White.

    • Secret Auction: negotiate komi with a Secret Auction
      • Players secretly give their respective komi-bid (once per player).
      • Komi-bids are hidden from the other player.
      • After the 2nd komi-bid, the game will be started:
        * The player with the highest bid takes Black and is giving that number of komi to White.
        * If the komi-bids are equal, player color is determined by Nigiri.

    • You cut, I choose or I cut, You choose: negotiate komi and colors by Divide & Choose
      • The difference between the two handicap types is just who starts to bid the komi and who ends with choosing the color.
         
      • One player chooses the komi for White ("cut").
      • Then the other player chooses the color to play and the game starts ("choose")

    Related topics:
  • Can I start a game with the same settings of an existing game?
    Yes. There are two ways you can accomplish that:
     
    1. When you create a game or invite another player you can save the game settings in a template, then open the template for a new-game or invitation.
       
    2. On the game-info page for a game you find two links:
      • Rematch : This opens a new invitation with the same game-settings as the game was started with.
      • Copy as new game : This opens a new game-offer for the waiting-room with the same game-settings as the game was started with.

      On games started before Jun-2012 the original game-settings were not stored and so defaults are used for some of the game-settings.

    Important Note:
    It does not matter how the game was started or saved as template (invitation, new-game offer). The game-settings are adjusted accordingly for the operation (use saved template, rematch or copy new game).
  • Can I start a game by uploading a SGF?
    Yes.
    You have to create and save a shape from the game using the goban editor. Best save it as private shape as it is a very specific shape. After saving the shape, you can start a new shape-game with the saved shape.
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