I'm looking to buy a set of fine (but not luxurious) go equipment (board, stones, and bowls).

I have a cheap set of glass stones with a blue plastic sheet "board". Unfortunately my home's floor is covered in ceramic tiles, so when the glass stones drop on the floor, the stones easily shatter or break in halves (I have broken a few already).

Would shell and slate stones be just as fragile? Or are they generally resistant to breakage from dropping? Alternatively, would yunzi be solid enough?

While I could go completely practical and just buy a magnetic set, I would like to avoid that. I find that magnetic sets just don't have the right feel to it and detracts from the appeal and esthetics of the game.

  • As long as someone else is paying for it, I love that shell and slate stones have little to no reflection on them. If I were to get some for free, I'd play with them in a carpeted area.
    – yurisich
    Feb 7, 2016 at 1:19
  • I have no sources except personal experience, but from that, it seems there is little practical difference between glass, yunzi and slate/shell. I wish I could justify buying slate and shell stones with their increased durability.
    – mafu
    Feb 8, 2016 at 2:17

1 Answer 1


From the Wikipedia article on Yunzi stones

Like glass Go stones, yunzi are very durable. However, like glass stones, yunzi are still at risk for chipping if they are dropped or otherwise come into sharp contact with hard surfaces such as metal, tile, or stone.

The problem you describe is more a property of your (very hard) tile floor. I would suggest acquiring a small area rug and placing it under your board or table when playing to protect your stones.

I have never enjoyed the pleasure of playing with shell and slate stones, but I suspect that the very properties that make them so beautiful also make them susceptible to chipping from such a hard surface. Being safe seems more prudent than being sorry.

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