Gonu Nori

Gonu Nori

Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Folk Games

Writer LeeSangho(李相昊)

A game moving one’s game pieces to trap or capture an opponent’s game pieces on a game board drawn in the dirt, a piece of wood, or a stone, to decide a winner.

Gonu Nori is a game played nationwide game under various names per region. Also, the board, the number of game pieces, and rules exist in subtle variations from place to place. However, these differences can be categorized into two types. One variation involves a game where one player traps the game pieces of an opponent in order to win – namely, Umulgonu and Hobakgonu; the other is a game capturing the pieces by meeting certain conditions, such as in Julgonu and Chamgonu.

Among all kinds of Gonu Nori, let’s look at the most common type: Gonjilgonu. Gonjilgonu is unique in that players take turns, placing their pieces one by one. Since its rules are the most complex and inspire various fascinating moves, it is perhaps much more interesting. In this regard, it is also known as chamgonu or kkotgonu, which implies that this is the most elite form of Gonu Nori. To begin with, each player has 12 pieces in hand, while on a game board, there is a figure with 24 intersecting points where multiple lines meet. Usually, the less-skilled of the players takes the first turn. During a turn, a player places one of their pieces on one of 24 intersecting points. Upon forming a chain, horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, of three pieces for a kkon, the opponent must then be prevented from aligning pieces into a kkon. Once a kkon has been created, the player shouts out “Kkon!” and removes one of opponent’s pieces on the board. The space where the piece is removed is either marked with a star or occupied with another marker so that nobody can place their pieces there. Players repeat this process until all 24 intersecting points are filled.

Once there are no longer any vacant intersecting points, spaces with a star or other indicator become freed to be newly occupied. In other words, a player can move a piece to a vacant space to create a kkon, followed by the removal of one of the opponent’s pieces. Once a player drives an opponent down to the last remaining two pieces, that player is declared the victor.

The rules and forms of Gonu Nori are seemingly related to Janggi or Baduk and is continuously enjoyed from childhood on into the adult years. Amid the various levels of difficulty that can be customized to a player’s understanding of the game, the game boards, number of pieces, and rules of play vary greatly. This game was played not only in Korea, but also in neighboring countries, such as China, Japan, Mongolia, and India. A number of similarly developed games have also been observed across the world.

Gonu Nori

Gonu Nori
Location of the encyclopedia

Korean Folk Arts > Folk Games

Writer LeeSangho(李相昊)

A game moving one’s game pieces to trap or capture an opponent’s game pieces on a game board drawn in the dirt, a piece of wood, or a stone, to decide a winner.

Gonu Nori is a game played nationwide game under various names per region. Also, the board, the number of game pieces, and rules exist in subtle variations from place to place. However, these differences can be categorized into two types. One variation involves a game where one player traps the game pieces of an opponent in order to win – namely, Umulgonu and Hobakgonu; the other is a game capturing the pieces by meeting certain conditions, such as in Julgonu and Chamgonu.

Among all kinds of Gonu Nori, let’s look at the most common type: Gonjilgonu. Gonjilgonu is unique in that players take turns, placing their pieces one by one. Since its rules are the most complex and inspire various fascinating moves, it is perhaps much more interesting. In this regard, it is also known as chamgonu or kkotgonu, which implies that this is the most elite form of Gonu Nori. To begin with, each player has 12 pieces in hand, while on a game board, there is a figure with 24 intersecting points where multiple lines meet. Usually, the less-skilled of the players takes the first turn. During a turn, a player places one of their pieces on one of 24 intersecting points. Upon forming a chain, horizontally, vertically, or diagonally, of three pieces for a kkon, the opponent must then be prevented from aligning pieces into a kkon. Once a kkon has been created, the player shouts out “Kkon!” and removes one of opponent’s pieces on the board. The space where the piece is removed is either marked with a star or occupied with another marker so that nobody can place their pieces there. Players repeat this process until all 24 intersecting points are filled.

Once there are no longer any vacant intersecting points, spaces with a star or other indicator become freed to be newly occupied. In other words, a player can move a piece to a vacant space to create a kkon, followed by the removal of one of the opponent’s pieces. Once a player drives an opponent down to the last remaining two pieces, that player is declared the victor.

The rules and forms of Gonu Nori are seemingly related to Janggi or Baduk and is continuously enjoyed from childhood on into the adult years. Amid the various levels of difficulty that can be customized to a player’s understanding of the game, the game boards, number of pieces, and rules of play vary greatly. This game was played not only in Korea, but also in neighboring countries, such as China, Japan, Mongolia, and India. A number of similarly developed games have also been observed across the world.