No more stones. No more spears. No more slings. No more swords. No more weapons! NO MORE SYSTEMS!
You can fire your arrows from the Tower of Babel, but you can never strike God!
My chess-loving friend Joey came over and we played a few games tonight. My wife was making a Mother's Day card for mum, so he and I played a lot of head-to-head games. The final game --and most enjoyable--was Shogi.
I'd been winning a lot, so I let him move first. He moved his pawn so that his Bishop (I've got a trashy American't version of the game that uses mostly Chess terms) a line of attack. I began opening up the route for my Rook to advance, when during his second move, Joey moved his rook to join his bishop. A lopsided attack was coming and I knew it. I prepared my defense, and we began to spar.
I'll spare you a lot of the nitty gritty (mostly just because I can't remember it). He advanced with his rook and bishop, supporting with Knights. Pawns fell, we traded knights, and then he made a misstep. He took a Gold General (the one next to the King) with a Bishop, I countered with a Silver General, and he couldn't do anything about it. His attack began to lose its steam.
I saw that he was expecially weak on my left, where he had attacked from, and that his formation was broken. Without the initiative, I figured I could sweep in and mate him.
How wrong I was.
He quickly mounted another attack with his now promoted Rook and units that he was dropping in, repeated checking me, but never able to land the killing blow. I fought back with a frenzy of frustration. I'd finally had an opportunity to launch and offensive, and all I'd gotten was one lousy move. But, it turned out to be a game changer. I'd captured his pawn, and promoted my own, just past the promotion line. What was oddest about our duel on my side of the board was that no pieces were lost. We kept deploying captured pieces, manuevering ranged pieces, and generally being very careful. No one wanted to give anything up. Finally he made ran out of captured units, so I sprung to the attack.
I had dropped the captured bishop earlier to protect some of my Generals, and now I used him to attack a vulnerable pawn, earning himself a promotion. He countered with a Silver general, but I retreated into a threating position to his promoted rook.
He started to react to me. My King was never under threat again. I advanced upon his attackers and was able to elimate them all (with losses of my own, mostly pawns and a Silver General), except the promoted Rook. He had worked himself into a hole though, and was almost trapped in the bottom left hand corner. I had two Bishops (one promoted), a Rook, two Gold Generals, and Silver general, all closing in on the dangerous Rook.
Yet, he again escaped! He dropped in some knights, moved them forward and promoted them, giving him a kind of shield. At this point, my promoted pawn, which had been patiently waiting almost the whole game, was able to strike. I moved him into a threating position, threating the whole of Joey's pawn line. He knew it would cost him, but advanced his Gold General to engage. I took the General with my Pawn, which I then lost to his King. I moved both Bishops into successive checks on the King, and then dropped the Gold General, pinning the King to the back wall with no defenders in sight. Mate it was and the victory was mine!
Joey is the better player than me...I think. He is often able to do very much more with very much less than I. I usually have to debilitate my opponet by taking a great deal of their available forces away (attrition) before I am able to launch an effective attack. Joey has learned that he can attack with little, gaining reinforcements while on the go, and keeping me off balance. Ultimately, he's a little bit too agressive and often over-commits, losing in his gamble, but he's learning. The only way I launch an attack is when I'm fairly confident of its success, which means that I almost always have to survive an onslaught before I can have any hope of winning the game. Sometimes, I'm fortunate and am able to pick my foes apart through hit-and-run and other tactics and launch my attack without any serious threat, but this doesn't happen against a skilled player often.
Really, were both amatures who've only gotten to play the game a few times each. Each time I do much better than the time before. Still, I'm not a chess player. I can't plan ahead; can't expect my enemy's movements. I can survey the board and make wise choices, but lack a cause-and-effect approach, which is one of Joey's strengths. I can only react, attempting to do the unexpected while still profiting myself. Sometimes surprise can defeat planning.
I hope you've found this report enjoyable. I mostly play wargames, and so I desribe things in terms of areas and key units rather than square identification and precise unit play. Again, I'm not a chess player. Still Shogi is much more enjoyable because captured units can come back, and you can drop almost any unit almost any where, and that makes the game much more open and full of possibilities.