Little Go 4+

Patrick Näf Moser

Designed for iPad

    • 3.2 • 109 Ratings
    • Free



Little Go is a free and open source iOS application that lets you play the game of Go on the iPhone or iPad. You can play against another human (on the same device), or against the computer. The computer player is powered by the open source software library Fuego ( The minimum requirement for running this version of Little Go is iOS 9.0.

- Board sizes between 7x7 and 19x19 (start a new game to change the board size)
- Let the computer player suggest a move or immediately play the move for you
- Calculate the score at any time during the game (area scoring is the default, territory scoring can be selected at the start of a new game)
- Adjust the computer's playing strength and resign behaviour by selecting from a number of presets, or by fine-tuning advanced settings
- Play even games, or games with 2-9 handicap stones (fixed stone placement)
- Select from 5 pre-defined rulesets when you start a new game, or adjust game rules to your preference (komi, ko rule, area/territory scoring system, number of passes to end game, resume play by alternating/non-alternating play, four passes end game)
- Place arbitrary black and white stones for initial board setup before a game starts
- View board positions for moves played earlier during the game (no support for game variations, though)
- Discard moves (aka "undo")
- Display move numbers and coordinate labels
- Zoom & scroll board
- Create and edit board and move annotations (e.g. good/bad move, good position for black/white, etc.) and add textual notes to a position
- Mark intersections on the board with symbols, markers and labels, and draw arrows or lines on the board
- Display player influence (aka territory statistics) for an estimate who owns an area
- Computer vs. computer game for entertainment
- Save & load games to/from the archive
- Use iTunes file sharing to transfer saved games to/from your iOS device
- Import/export game files from/to other apps on your device (e.g. Mail, DropBox)
- In-app user manual (text-only)
- Submit bug report email from inside the app (yes, this *is* a feature :-))
- For the technically inclined: Watch what happens behind the scenes when Little Go and Fuego talk to each other over the Go Text Protocol (GTP)

Your contribution in any form (coding, UI design, testing, bug reports, creating an app video preview, website design) is welcome - please contact me or visit the support website to find out more.

A note about the project state: Several years of development have gone into Little Go since its inception in January 2011. The app now has a feature set that is, I believe, quite nice :-) for a free program. My main focus therefore lies on fixing any remaining bugs (of which I am sure there are plenty) and keeping the app running under future versions of iOS.

Little Go is released under the Apache License 2.0 (

What’s New

Version 1.7.1

This is the Little Go bugfix release 1.7.1. It contains two fixes for bugs that caused the app to crash (#397 and #398).

The previous release was the Little Go feature release 1.7.0. An overview of the changes follows, for more details read the in-game Changelog.

- The app now supports reading and writing of all SGF node annotation and move annotation properties (#339). The app also displays these properties' values and lets you edit them. This means that you can now add a valuation to a move (e.g. good/bad move) and/or to the entire board position (e.g. good position for black/white), designate a board position to be a "hotspot" (e.g. it contains a game-deciding move), annotate a board position with an estimated score, and finally you can add textual notes to a board position. Annotation data is displayed by, and can be edited via, an all-new annotation view.
- The app now supports reading and writing of all SGF markup properties (#349). Except for the DD property (dim parts of the board), the app also displays these properties' values and lets you edit them. This means that you can now mark intersections on the board with 5 different symbols (circle, square, triangle, "X" mark, "selected" symbol), place single-character letter markers or single-digit number markers, place a free-form label text, and finally you can draw arrows or plain lines on the board. The app has an all-new markup editing mode for this (accessible via menu icon) that includes drag & drop support to move around existing markup.
- In the Settings screen there are now a number of user preferences that affect how markup is drawn and that let you tweak some aspects of the markup editing process.

Improvements and changes
- The general user interface (UI) of Little Go now looks and behaves the same on all device types (#371). This unification of UI layouts became necessary because the effort to support different layouts proved to be too much. Also the unification provided the opportunity to get rid of many behind-the-scenes hacks. The main changes are: 1) Smaller iPhone devices which only support the Portrait orientation UI layout, now display board positions and the navigation buttons differently than before. 2) Larger iPhone devices now display a tab bar when in Landscape orientation (alas, reducing the size of the board). 3) iPad devices now always show board positions when in Portrait orientation, and when in Landscape orientation they display board positions and navigation buttons differently than before.
- Changed the icon of the "More Game Actions" button (#377). The previous icon was a "curved arrow" symbol, which seemed to confuse many users so that they couldn't find important actions, such as "New game". The new icon is the established "hamburger menu" icon, which should now more clearly indicate that the button pops up a menu with actions to select from.
- Button boxes and the board position list now support Dark mode by switching to a dark background color (#378 and #379). Thanks to Peter Waldispühl for reporting this.
- For more improvements/changes see the Changelog.

- Board position zero (representing the start of the game) sometimes did not display handicap and komi. This is now fixed (#374).
- Various speculative fixes for potential app crashes. See the Changelog for details.

- A bug was introduced in version 1.6.0 that would cause Ko detection to fail after the app was suspended and was forced to restart by the operating system (a relatively common occurrence). This is now fixed (#372). Because Little Go has struggled with Ko detection many times in the past, this regression was particularly painful.

Technical changes
- See Changelog.

Ratings and Reviews

3.2 out of 5
109 Ratings

109 Ratings

Levithepuppy0869 ,

Outstanding (learn the setting)

While out of the box the computer will mercilessly defeat a beginner, this is a FREE amazing learning tool. You MUST read the instructions and understand how to adjust it to your skill level otherwise prepare for a very uneven match that will make the most stubborn challenger want to give up. After tweaking I found the features quite useful and the game is now addictive in ways i can only describe a three hours of satisfying gameplay I that was traded for sleep or time with my family.

ProdigiousMiguel ,

Fun Learning Tool

As a beginner, I have a lot of fun with this app. Even on weaker difficulty, I really struggle to keep up with the AI, and that’s great. Anytime I mess up I will consistently get harshly punished and it has really opened my eyes to the weaknesses in certain play styles. I’ve learned so much from this app and I’ve gotten to watch the margin of loss drop more and more as I keep playing. Sometimes it is frustrating to lose all the time, but every game I learn something and get a little better.

I noticed that the game is open source, but I haven’t gotten a chance to check out the algorithms used. It surprises me that there isn’t a way to tweak the difficulty level to easier levels, as that’s usually pretty easy to do from a developer standpoint. I’ve read that Fuego uses MCTS to make its moves and there should be parameters one could tune to make playing a little easier.

Thanks again for this tool, its really great!

Developer Response ,

Oh, but there are *so many* options to tweak the computer player‘s strength!

First of all you can play against the pre-defined computer player „Fuego (weak)“, which is substantially weaker than the default player that is just named „Fuego“.

Second you can change a large variety of options in the profile that is behind a computer player. 1) Call up the settings screen. 2) Select "Players & Profiles". 3) In the lower section titled "Profiles" select the profile you want to change. At the bottom you see which computer players use that profile. 4) Near the top of the screen you can select between five different preset playing strengths. 5) For a deep dive select "Advanced configuration". The in-game manual (available under „Help“) tells you what each setting does. 6) When you have finished changing a profile start a new game and make sure to play against one of the computer players that uses the profile. Enjoy.

ShoobyTaylor ,

MUCH TOO HARD, not fun at all

Give up. You're going to lose. You were going to lose within the first few moves. Even with the engine on the weakest setting, you are going to lose badly, very quickly, every single time. It is not fun at all. Don't even bother playing. You lose. And in case there are some random chance you might accidentally win, don't worry, the computer gives itself seven points ahead of you, even though you don't get a handicap with extra pieces to start like you're supposed to. Or, if you find a very well hidden the setting that allows you to get a couple of extra pieces is a handicap for the other player, the very first time you take one of its pieces, it simply resigns. So, I hope you like losing, and losing badly, because that is all that's going to happen in this game. If you think having even the slightest chance of winning is fun, forget it, because it will quit the minute it thinks there's even a tiny chance you will win. You lose.

Developer Response ,

Thanks for your review. It mercilessly but truthfully points out what are probably the main shortcomings of the app: 1) The default profile is too strong for beginners. 2) The computer player does not always act as a human player would, this is especially obvious when it comes to resigning. 3) The app is too technical for the casual user. Although configuration options exist that allow the user to weaken the computer player down to a suitable playing strength and to change its resign behaviour, these options are not available at a single, easy tap, but must be found and explored by an investigative user. Although everything is documented in the in-app manual, reading the manual requires a significant amount of time.

Apart from point 1 there's not much I could or would change, though. Sorry for that, but you will have to find a different app that suits you better. A final word regarding komi and handicap: You can easily adjust those when you start a new game. Please take the time to have a look at the settings in the "New game" screen.

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