Gostop! STOP!!! STOPPP!!!!!

Beautiful cards. Evil game!

So I spent saturday night at home with my wife, my 2 brothers in law, and my brother in law’s wife (which is also my sister in law, right?  Heck, I don’t know..)

Well, after eating an awesome dinner we started to gamble on things.  First was Tekken 6 on my PS3.  I generally am better than either of them, but because I don’t play Tekken 6 as much as I played 5, or 4, or 3, some of the new characters are difficult to play against.  I still prevailed and won more than I lost.  This gave me a little bit of pocket money.

We then switched to poker, and I schooled them in Texas Hold’em.  I then got schooled in 7 card stud, but it was for lower stakes than the previous two games, so I was still on top.

Then they decided to switch to GoStop!

What’s GoStop?

GoStop is a Korean game… no wait.  It’s a Japanese game… no wait… It’s a Korean game played with Japanese cards that has some similarity to an originally Japanese game, but it’s not quite as popular in Japan anymore as it is in Korea.

Wait, what?

Okay.  GoStop is a game played with Hwatu cards.  Hwatu is the Korean pronunciation of “Hanafuda” which is the name of the cards in Japan.  The cards all have pictures of different flowers, representing different months of the year.  The game hanafuda, I have played only a few times in Japan, but from what I gather, the scoring and point system in GoStop is quite different than in Japan.

Gostop cards are similar to playing cards, though instead of 4 suits with 13 cards each, there are 12 suits of 4 cards each, with two wild cards.  (This means that theoretically, one can play gostop with a deck of playing cards with the aces removed.)

I won’t go into how to play GoStop here, because it’s a bit difficult to explain. (Here’s a link with pictures that explains it all, but I can’t really understand the explanation)

The scoring of Gostop is very interesting.

It really depends on what base you play in.  If you’re playing 100 won base, then the winner gets 100 won for each point he has amassed from the other players.

Usually one needs three points or more to win.

After acquiring three points, the winner can either stop, and collect his winnings, or say “go” and continue play until he gets another point, or until someone else amasses 3 or more points.

Why would anyone ever say go if there is risk that someone else could win?

Good question.  The reason is because for each time someone says go, the payout multiplies.

Cards labeled with the Chinese character 光 (광, gwang) are important to the game, and you don't want to be caught losing to someone with gwang points when you have no gwang cards yourself.

So, instead of collecting a measly 300 won from each player (about 30 cents) , if you “go” then you can potentially collect 4 or 5000 won or even more if you play it the right way.  There’s also a multiplier that works against the person who hasn’t collected a specific type of cards called “gwang”, which multiplies by 2 whatever amount he otherwise would have had to pay.

Huh?  I’m confused.

Ok… I’ll try to explain better… for a three person game with players A, B, and C.

Rounds 1-4:  All players get no points, but build closer to a position that they can get some.

Round 5:

Player A gets 3 points and says go, so play continues.

Player B gets 1 point.

Player C get no points.

Round 6

Player A gets 5 points and says go, play continues.

Player B gets 1 point.

Player C gets 2 points.

Round 7:

Player A gets 2 points, and seeing that the other players both have 2 points he decides to stop, so that they can’t steal the win from him.

The game ends with player A getting 10 points.  In a base 100 won game, that would entitle him to 100 won per point, or 1000 won.  Since he said “go” two times, this amount is multiplied by 3.

Why 3?

Well, for saying go 0 times, he gets 100 won x points x 1

After “go”ing once, he gets 100 won x points x 2

After “go”ing twice, he gets 100 won x points x 3… etc etc.

So, player A should get 3000 won each from players B and C.

But, let’s say player B has no “gwang” cards, then this number is also doubled.

So instead of 3000 won, he must pay 6000 won.

Now think,  It’s possible to go 10 or more times if you’re having a really really good game.  Imagine 100 won x 14points x 10 x 2 = 28000 won! (about $25!!!!)

Sometimes the really hardcore people play in base 1000 won, so the above situation with base 1000 would be 280,000 won (about $250).

Needless to say, the game got quite expensive for me and I ended up losing all I had gained in the beginning of the night.

I hate Gostop….

Is there any major difference between the Japanese game and Korean one?

A few.  The Korean game allows for more than two players and some of the cards are visually different.  The Japanese gwang cards don’t have the gwang character on them.  The Rainman card is also wearing different clothes in the Korean version.  Japanese cards tend to be made of thick lacquered paper, and Korean ones out of plastic.  Korean cards have jokers, but Japanese ones do not.

One interesting thing I found out a long time ago was that Koreans who play the game use Japanese language when playing, sometimes without their own knowledge.  The most clear example is the combination of the three bird cards… known as “Godori”.  This is actually Konglish.. no wait. Kapanese.  It’s a Korean coined term using the Japanese words “五” (Go, 5) and “鳥” (tori, bird).

Wait, you said it was 3 bird cards.

Yes, I did.  As you can see above, one of the cards has 3 birds, the other two have one each, making 5 total.

In Japanese, they might say 鳥五匹 (Tori-go-hiki).  I also found it interesting that in the most popular Japanese game played with hanafuda, there is no ranking for the 5 birds.  Instead there is a special combination awarded for the pig the deer and the butterflies.  I’m assuming that somewhere along the way someone simply chose to alter the rules and eliminate the hard to remember set and replace it with the easy to remember one, as all of the cards are birds.  These rules then got to become popularized.

22 Responses to “Gostop! STOP!!! STOPPP!!!!!”

  1. O_O
    Sounds complicated… I don’t think I will say Go! at any time…. You should have kept playing Poker hehe
    better luck next time!

  2. Just another korean american Says:

    And the most important part of the game is to slap your card as hard as you can onto the other cards in the middle of the mat on the floor.

    • lol I saw something like that on “My name is Kim Sam Soon” they played a card game but I’m not sure if it’s the same,,, I remember a card named “ship” and “il-ship” or something like that… o_o

    • Haha exactly! I love that sound.. (Isn’t it funny? lol) I don’t know why, but the sound makes me feel more excited and concentrate on the game!!! GoGoGo~~lol

    • The Seoul Searcher Says:

      Hahaha! Yeah, they were doing that. I didn’t do it so much..

    • yes..”slap” sound is really important in this game…but I can’t still make that sound..Plz teach me how to make it next time..:)

  3. GoStop is very intereting gamble when we play with my family or friends in Korea. I like also it very much. But it has to be only for enjoying…
    Anyway you need to learning more…kkkk

  4. I love GOSTOP!! Learn more how to win the game Mr Seoulsearcher and let’s play when I get back to Korea~~ HAHA

    • The Seoul Searcher Says:

      I will never play again. I can’t stand losing so much, and don’t know how to score the papers and animals and gwangs. All I know is the garbage points.

      • I think that you can love Gostop when you win the game. ^^

      • You’d better practice playing Gostop on a online game site in order to win! I don’t remember the site’s name now.. 😦 but you need to play it as long as you live in Korea! haha Everybody loves Gostop!!!!

        • The Seoul Searcher Says:

          I think my problem is that I keep giving people what they need instead of throwing away garbage that will only result in them picking up garbage. Like, I have to know better that if I throw something away, it won’t be something they need to get their gwang.

  5. Even in Korea, the rule of the GOSTOP is all different by region or home. For example, if A say ‘go’ 3 times, the amount will be multiplied by8. Because first ‘go’ makes *2, second ‘go’ makes *4 (*2*2) and third ‘go’ makes *8. I mean we don’t multiply, but square. It is very dangerous.

  6. Hwang Sun Ju Says:

    I saw that my family played this game in a national day. I know this game a little, but I don’t know about the scoring of this game. And now I more know this game. Actually I had known that Gostop is only Korean game, I know that idea is fault now.

  7. I miss gostop :P. I just don’t have anyone to play it with here haha well I still am enjoying myself with pokerrrrrrrrrrr

  8. Why don’t you include a list of online game websites where people can play 화투?

  9. […] ppit wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptI then got schooled in 7 card stud, but it was for lower stakes than the previous two games, so I was still on top. Then they decided to switch to GoStop! What’s GoStop? GoStop is a Korean game… no wait. It’s a Japanese game… no wait… … […]

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