GeekGold Bonus for All Supporters at year's end: 1000!
8,928 Supporters
$15 min for supporter badge & GeekGold bonus
18 Days Left

Support:

Recommend
3 
 Thumb up
 Hide
7 Posts

Shogi» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Shogi - Zombie Chess rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Laurentiu Cristofor
United States
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I just wrote a review of XiangQi in which I placed that game together with Shogi in the category of ancient games whose design feels dated in comparison to other games like GO and Chess which I feel could have been designed today. Thus, I wanted to also write a review of Shogi to expand on that.

Shogi has a couple of unique big features. One of them is that most pieces can be promoted once they reach the last three ranks of the board (in XiangQi/Chess only Soldiers/Pawns can be promoted). The second feature, and the most distinctive one, is also the reason for the title of my review: captured pieces can be placed back in play for the capturing player - this makes the game feel like two zombie armies facing each other (well, in reality they mimic mercenaries changing sides when captured, but the zombie theme sells better these days).

The design of the pieces has some weird aspects though, which is why I called the game design dated.

First, the King, Rook, and Bishop move just like their Chess counterparts. When promoted, the Rook and Bishop combine their movement with that of the King.

The Gold General moves like the King, but cannot retreat diagonally. All other promoted pieces (other than the Rook and Bishop I mentioned already), promote to become Gold Generals. This feels a bit weird to me given the initial variety of pieces.

The Silver General copies the King moves but just diagonally and forward. It cannot move laterally, or retreat straight behind. This piece also feels a bit contrived to me. I get it that it cannot be stronger than the Gold General because its promotion would not make sense, but it still feels artificially limited.

The Knight only moves forward (1 orthogonal, 1 diagonal), but can thankfully jump over another piece for the orthogonal part of the move.

The Lance moves like a Rook, but only forward.

I feel as if there are some missing figures, for symmetry. I'm not referring to the game having just one Rook and Bishop, but consider that a Lance is just like a Rook with only forward movement available. But the Bishop has no such weaker counterpart and the Knight lacks a stronger counterpart. For the Bishop, a weaker piece could just move diagonally forward. For the Knight, a stronger piece would move like the Chess Knight. It's not that these pieces are needed (they might even break the game for all I know), but I would find their presence more elegant from a pure design perspective (each limited type of movement would also have an unlimited type of movement counterpart).

Finally, the Pawns move and capture 1 space forward. This is like the movement of Soldiers in XiangQi, before they cross the river.

The limited movement options, the limited promotion options, and the lack of some pieces I would expect for having a complete combination of moving possibilities are what make me say that the design feels a bit dated. It just doesn't raise to the point where I can call it elegant.

However, the redeeming value is in the replaying of the captured pieces. It is this aspect that demands the above limitations on the movement of pieces. A Lance cannot move laterally, but once captured, it can be dropped on any column at the most inopportune moment. I can thus call Shogi clever, just not elegant, but this of course doesn't have anything to do with enjoying the gameplay, which I do.

I also enjoy the fact that figures cannot get blocked by pieces they cannot in turn capture, as is the case in XiangQi. This combined with the "zombie" aspect make the game of Shogi very unique and entertaining.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Russ Williams
Poland
Wrocław
Dolny Śląsk
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Laurentiu wrote:
I just wrote a review of XiangQi in which I placed that game together with Shogi in the category of ancient games whose design feels dated in comparison to other games like GO and Chess which I feel could have been designed today. Thus, I wanted to also write a review of Shogi to expand on that.

FWIW I don't see why Shogi feels dated but western/international Chess feels modern; they both seem like "old" games to me (but not "dated") and from the same family of games (with a common historical ancestor).

Chess actually feels less elegant to me than Shogi (and thus arguably less "modern") due to pawns capturing different from the way they move, en passant exception, and the castling rules.

And Shogi's drop rule (which does not exist in most Chess family games) makes Shogi feel more innovative (and thus arguably more "modern") than other Chess games.

...Go on the other hand is certainly a timeless classic in a class of its own.
9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Richard Irving
United States
Harrisburg
Pennsylvania
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I think what you need to do is play a game standard Chess with the drop rule.

I suspect the additional mobility of the pieces would make forcing a checkmate too easy in Drop Chess.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Silver Bowen
United States
Austin
Texas
flag msg tools
Woo! Gonna get some
badge
44, that's me!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Dragon Face does the zombie thing well (like Othello plus Checkers plus Chess).
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Laurentiu Cristofor
United States
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
rri1 wrote:

I suspect the additional mobility of the pieces would make forcing a checkmate too easy in Drop Chess.


That's what I said too:

Laurentiu wrote:

However, the redeeming value is in the replaying of the captured pieces. It is this aspect that demands the above limitations on the movement of pieces.


However, note that there is a version of Shogi with stronger Knight and Lance movements: Okisaki Shogi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okisaki_shogi).
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Laurentiu Cristofor
United States
Washington
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
russ wrote:

FWIW I don't see why Shogi feels dated but western/international Chess feels modern; they both seem like "old" games to me (but not "dated") and from the same family of games (with a common historical ancestor).


Well, that's what I tried to explain in this review. Not sure what I can add to that, except repeat myself. I just think that people developing such a board game today (look at Arimaa, for example) would avoid the weird movement rules that you see in Shogi for the Silver and Gold Generals, the Knight, and the Lance.

russ wrote:

Chess actually feels less elegant to me than Shogi (and thus arguably less "modern") due to pawns capturing different from the way they move, en passant exception, and the castling rules.


Well, I find Chess modern because of these rules. And I explained why in a review I wrote yesterday: Why I like Chess. I think they are modern because they make good compromises of adding (and in the case of Pawn capture rule, maintaining) some rule complexity to make the game more interesting. XiangQi and Shogi both dropped the Pawn capture rule. I think both games lost in gameplay because of that, but the addition of the drop rule in Shogi could be seen as compensation for the loss of cooperation among Pawns.

russ wrote:

And Shogi's drop rule (which does not exist in most Chess family games) makes Shogi feel more innovative (and thus arguably more "modern") than other Chess games.


The addition of one rule we can call modern by virtue of its simplicity does not automatically make dated movement rules feel modern as well.

I find the rule intriguing and it certainly opens up unique gameplay possibilities, but I could also criticize it as being out of theme in a combat game, because you cannot expect all captured enemies to turn to your side. On the other hand, a zombie theme fits better - zombies save the day!

russ wrote:

...Go on the other hand is certainly a timeless classic in a class of its own.


It definitely has the cleanest set of rules. But that is not difficult when you only have only one type of piece. I like GO, but I like thematic combat games like Shogi and Chess also. Arimaa looks very interesting too, which reminds me I should get the tablet version so I can have an opponent handy.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Michael Cotton
United States
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Xiangqi carries a similar level of depth as Western chess but plays much quicker. If anything that makes it more modern in feel than chess.

Shogi solves the major pacing problems chess tends to have. In chess the openings between good players tend to be extremely rigid and the most intense part of the game, but then the endgame winds down and becomes boring. Also ends in draws very often.

Shogi however starts a bit more slowly and flexibly. Just because your opponent plays a ranging rook strategy doesn't mean you can't, once you decide where to stage your attack and which of the few best options of attack you'll try, there's at least a dozen decent options for your defense, etc..

Shogi having less long-range movers allows the opening to be a bit slower and more creative. But then the endgame becomes very intense and much more likely to come down to who's a move ahead than a game of chess. The drops make the checkmate possibilities totally explode.

How that seems more old-fashioned to you than western chess is a complete mystery to me. It seems pretty clear that you don't have much experience with the game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.