The Game Shogi

in shogi •  last month

Introduction

Shogi is a Japanese chess game with a lot similarities and differences to standard chess, most notably the directional symbol peaces with two sides. I started playing shogi with a geeky old friend of mine back in high-school around 7-8 years ago. I actually printed out a couple boards and pieces sets, being the crafty person that I am, there was a template online but all the files are 404 from 2008. We ended up buying a nice wooden board on Amazon, we played a lot during lunch, we used to play chess before that and just mess around with other games. Before I moved he left me the board as a parting gift. Since it's not a very simple game it's hard to explain all the rules to play with people so most of the time I just play online unless I play by myself on the board.
This is what the beginning setup looks like:

0.jpg

General

Let's start with the pieces' details, point's mean the pieces can move to the spot it's in while lines mean moving to any space in that direction without jumping over pieces. Most pieces can promote by moving in and out of the opponent's 3 rows(including moving inside). All pieces except the bishop and rook(king and gold generals can't promote) promote into gold generals, a main reason you wouldn't want to promote is if you have a horse of a silver general that can move to spots a gold general can't. Another big difference between standard chess and shogi is you can conquer pieces and use a move to place them on any spot if it doesn't violate one of these rules(violating a rule is an instant loss):

  • Already having an non-promoted pawn in the column
  • Placing a piece in a spot where it can't ever make a move(like placing a pawn in the last row, you can't place promoted pieces but you can place them in the last 3 rows and promote when they move)
  • Dropping a pawn to checkmate.
    The objective of the game is to capture your opponent's king

This is a pawn, it moves 1 step forward(including conquering pieces)

2.jpg
This is what a promoted pawn looks like this
3.jpg

Here's a lance, it's like a power pawn that can move any spaces forward
4.jpg
Promoted
5.jpg

A knight moves similar to a chess horse but it can move only forward in an L formation, it can skip any piece in it's way
6.jpg
Promoted
7.jpg

Silver general, X and top, sometimes more useful than promoting to gold
8.jpg
Promoted
9.jpg

Gold general, + and top corners, has one more spot than silver but can't reach the bottom corners. Can't promote
10.jpg

Rook, moves like chess rook
11.jpg
Promoted rook has an additional access to the corners, only 1 space though
12.jpg

Bishop, moves like a chess bishop
14.jpg
Promoted bishop can reach 1 space to the sides
15.jpg

King moves like a chess king, any direction 1 space
13.jpg

Memorizing

I'm sure all these symbols are very overwhelming for most not Chinese/Japanese people, I can't memorize them all. I use some mnemonic devices to successfully recognize them though.
There are a bunch of pawns and are the smallest so they shouldn't be an issue.
The bottom of a lance looks like a perpendicular line passing indicating straight movement:
f1.jpg

The knight is slightly far-fetched but the bottom part of the piece looks like a rotated L indicating it's movement.
f2.jpg

The king is a simple symbol to memorize(the bottom part just means general) and is used in the other two generals
f3.jpg

The gold general looks like a cover(roof) for the king
f4.jpg

The silver general is the gold general's side
f5.jpg

The rook has the same bottom character as a lance but a more complex symbol on top, the piece is also larger.
f6.jpg

The bishop's bottom character flows like the bishops movements.
f7.jpg

The promoted knight and silver general look like gold generals but a promoted lance and pawn(both looking similar) have different but not very complex, recognizable symbols. The promoted bishop and rook's promoted characters are very similar to their non-promoted characters so you just have to differentiate between the two.

Final Words

Hope these instructions weren't too overwhelming and might incite some of you try to try and play this wonderful game. I had a lot of fun writing out this post, rekindling my love for it. You can play the game online here,you can sign up at the top where it says My Page. It's also useful to start out online since The game tells you where the pieces can move helping with learning the pieces. I'll try to make a papercraft file with all the pieces, shouldn't be that difficult, will take some time though. Was so caught up in the post I lost track of time, have to sleep :s

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Well as it turns out I recognise a few of those characters so I guess I haven't completely forgotten everything when I was actually trying to learn Mandarin (which I've been super slack on this year). Nice to know XD

I was confused from the top but perservered anyway, yep this is one of those games that would require a few playthroughs and even then I'm likely to just play it like I play chess (aka moving semi-randomly and frustrating the hell out of my opponent as they try to work out if I know what I'm doing or have no idea what I'm doing especially whe I merrily skip out of complicated traps and blunder headlong into blatantly obvious ones XD). Love your instructions with the little pieces of paper, it did help with understanding a bit :)

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As long as you're having fun xD, I did see some peintable pieces that had arrows instead of characters, that could help beginners. I'm not that good at shogi(why I didn't add a video of me playing) but It's fun and relaxing :D

Wow cool @ivan-g! Congrats on curie!!! :)
Ok, I am bad with chess and this looks pretty much as complicated as chess. But thank you for taking the time to show us the pieces. Can learn some Chinese / Japanese along the way too :) I like the wooden board and pieces with the carvings and it is really patient of you to write down symbols for each piece to help us recognize the pieces. Thank you @ivan-g! :)

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Thanks :D
I'd say its more complicated, just looking at the rules not strat. I really like the wooden feel of the pieces :)

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I like wooden feel too :) Actually, what made you and your geeky friend try Shogi instead of just playing the normal chess? I have not heard of Shogi.

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To be honest I don't remember how exactly it started, we were always interested in playing new board games, used to play chess a lot and shogi was just a cool thing to try out. I probably found the template for the set and learned the rules. It does occasionally get mentioned in anime but I don't think I got it from there.

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Ah nice. It does look cool. Sorta brings my imagination to the Samurai era 😁

Posted using Partiko iOS

What happens if you swallow one of the pieces?

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Don't D:

I'm glad someone takes the time to explain this game. I have seen it a lot being played in anime and manga but obviously I can't follow what's going on when it happens because they don't take the time to explain it.      
                         
Your explanation is pretty thorough, good job :D.      
                         
Congratulations on your curie vote.        
                         

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I've seen it in some anime too (I've read some shogi manga too)obviosly gets way more interesting when you know how to play it, even general is better than nothing. I'll probably do mahjong next(there's an old classic anime called akagi, and a pretty modern one called saki)rules for that are really insane even compared to this, but I'm actually decent at it.

Hi ivan-g,

This post has been upvoted by the Curie community curation project and associated vote trail as exceptional content (human curated and reviewed). Have a great day :)

Visit curiesteem.com or join the Curie Discord community to learn more.

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Thank you very much :D

I love chess, and I have a strong urge to try Shogi game too. Its a great tutorial which explains the difference between the two. Though for us, the characters look very similar, so is there any way I can get the English letters on the coins?

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There's a printable versio of this here http://genedavis.com/articles/2014/05/09/pdf-of-western-style-shogi-board-and-pieces/shogi_pieces_west.gif
Might be way easier to start with,more chess like.

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That's what I was looking for, so you can just print them and play one paper see if you like it before buying a full on board and pieces. I like that this has the roman character on the piece as well.
They have the moves that it can make also, now that is cool I would forget, that will make it so much easier to learn to play.
I love chess, so this will be fun, I'm still a little confused on the three lines and placing a pawn that cannot move but I will figure it out.

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3 lines as in the opponents 3 rows(their territory, so to speak), the pawn thing just means don't put it in the last row, since it won't be able to move or promote.

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Ok, that would make sense, LOL, if you did that wouldn't you lose.

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You'd lose because you'd brake a rule, yeah

I'm playing chess with my nephews and playing chess online as well. I was using chess.com but now I use lichess.org because there are no ads on the site, its an open source website.

By the way, how old is Shogi? When did it started?
Its nice to see you teach people how to play it especially the Japanese.

Have a good night sleep Ivan!

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As I was looking up the history of shogi I came across Xiangqi, or chinese chess. I took a while semester of this instead of PE in college but completely forgot about it, thanks for reminding me. Even some of the characters are the same :D
Apparently they probably had the same origin as chess, Chaturanga which was from India all the way back in 7th century bc. Just like shogi it was used as a simmulation of war, adopted a bit later.

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Oh!
Thank you for that info. I guess the games of old were some kinda the same based on war, territory, defense, kings and queens and other hands on battle.
Quite interesting and challenging to play different kinds of games.

Really great tutorial !!! Love the photos and the text explains the game so well <3 The shortcuts to remembering the kanjis are absolutely wonderful, also <3 <3 <3

Very lovely post, @ivan-g !!!

Congrats for curie <3

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Thank you :)
This was a surprise to wake up to after only 6 hours.

I only knew shogi from the Japanese movies and anime I see characters playing. I think there is an anime that revolves around this game but I skipped that one because it got too technical for my interest to keep up. This post simplifies a lot of things and reminds me of my ignorance about the game.

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There's two I know, March comes in like a lion, a questionable one: ryuo's work is never done. Read a couple manga too. Rewatching them when you know the basics might be more fun, especially the first one, really good story :D

In the past times i played many chess with my friends, so this looks really that i could throw an eye on it.

Perhaps i start next days with the dojo link you provided us :-)

I can imagine, that you had spend much time and effort in this super long guidance and review, so very well deserved ups from @curie team. I will also drop of course my contribution in !

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Thank you very much and have fun :)

Tengo que jugarlo para entenderlo

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Best way to learn is to try it, there's an online link :)

@ivan-g Interesting game shogi. The continuous practice will make us better understand the meaning of each chip and the direction in which we can move it. Detailed explanation of the game you gave us with excellent photos. I hope to have a lot of fun with this game that you have presented to us today. I'll enjoy it to the fullest. Thank you for your excellent and detailed information. A big greeting.

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Thank you for your nice comment :)

Hmmm. A game just like chess well impressive. The logic behind chess is something that I still don't understand. Well the board game am confident about is draft.
A lot of mysterious and tactics behind it

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Checkers is really fun, but I guess when games are more complicated they are more satisfying at higher levels of play, at least for me.

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Imagine me. I Was so engrossed in talking about the game that I used the local name.

Sometimes wen dey are real complicated, they can frustrate a person to give up... Have ever come across that??

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Don't worry I got it :D
Personally not really since I tend to be very patient,I've definitelyseen it in others though.