The Chess Variant Pages





Ryu Shogi

by

Jared McComb

Introduction

Ryu Shogi (“Dragon Shogi”) is an updated version of my last-minute entry to the 84-spaces contest. It derives its name from all the dragons in it. It is a Shogi variant played on the board shown at left. The board is 7 by 12, so it has 84 spaces. The board is further divided into four sections (zones) of 21 spaces by the little dots on six of the vertices. Each player starts with 21 pieces which are arranged on their first three rows as shown below.

The first row consists entirely of pawns. The second consists of, from left to right, Bishop, Rook, Left Warrior, Center Warrior, Right Warrior, Bishop, Rook. The third row consists of, from left to right, Copper General, Silver General, Gold General, King, Gold General, Silver General, Copper General.

To the left is a picture of the board pre-set up.

Here is a picture representing the promoted forms of the non-king pieces.

The first row consists of seven Tokins, the second row contains, from left to right, Dragon Horse, Dragon King, Left Dragon, Center Dragon, Right Dragon, Dragon Horse, Dragon King. The third row consists of pairs of Copper Dragons, Silver Dragons, and Gold Dragons. (Hopefully you are now seeing why the game is called Ryu Shogi!)

(Alright, so I’m not an artist!)

The four zones of the board are referred to here as the First through Fourth zones. Of course, the notation is reversed for your opponent, so your First zone is his Fourth zone, etc.

Moves

As a general rule, the promoted forms of pieces retain the movement powers of their third-zone unpromoted counterparts.

The Pawns move as their normal Shogi counterparts while in the first zone. While in the second zone, they may also move diagonally forward. While in the third zone, they have the move of a first-zone Gold General. Pawns promote to Tokins. Unlike in Shogi, you may drop a Pawn into a column already containing a Pawn.

The Bishops may move as a Ferz while in the first zone. While in the second zone, they may move as a standard Bishop. While in the third zone, they are granted the additional power of moving like a King. Bishops promote to Dragon Horses.

The Rooks may move as a Wazir while in the first zone. While in the second zone, they may move as a standard Rook. While in the third zone, they are granted the additional power of moving like a King. Rooks promote to Dragon Kings.

The Left Warriors, while in the first zone, may move one space either to the left, directly forward or backward, or diagonally forward or backward to the right. While in the second zone, they may move any distance in these five directions. While in the third zone, they are granted the additional movement powers of a King. Left Warriors promote to Left Dragons.

The Right Warriors, while in the first zone, may move one space either to the right, directly forward or backward, or diagonally forward or backward to the left. While in the second zone, they may move any distance in these five directions. While in the third zone, they are granted the additional movement powers of a King. Right Warriors promote to Right Dragons.

The Center Warriors, while in the first zone, may move one space diagonally forward, one space to the left or right, or one space backwards. While in the second zone, they may move any distance in these five directions. While in the third zone, they are granted the additional movement powers of a King. Center Warriors promote to Center Dragons.

The Copper Generals may move one space forward, backward, or diagonally forward while in the first zone. While in the second zone, they may move any distance in these four directions. While in the Third zone, they are granted the additional movement powers of a King. Copper Generals promote to Copper Dragons.

The Silver Generals may move one space diagonally, or one space directly forward, while in the first zone. While in the second zone, they may move any distance in these five directions. While in the Third zone, they are granted the additional movement powers of a King. Silver Generals promote to Silver Dragons.

The Gold Generals may move one space orthogonally, or one space diagonally forward, while in the first zone. While in the second zone, they may move any distance in these six directions. While in the Third zone, they are granted the additional movement powers of a King. Gold Generals promote to Gold Dragons.

The King may move one space in any direction, regardless of which zone it is in. The King does not promote. You win by checkmating the enemy king (as if you couldn’t already figure that out!).

Rules

0. Unless stated otherwise (and believe me, it will be), all rules are the same as standard Shogi.

1. Captured pieces may not be dropped in your fourth zone.

2. When a non-promoted piece is moved to a previous zone, it does not retain its previous powers of movement, and assumes the powers granted to it by the zone it has just moved into.

3. Pieces do not actually promote until they reach your fourth zone. When they move out of the fourth zone, they retain their promotion until they are captured.

4. Promotion is forced upon reaching the fourth zone (i.e. there is no option to stay unpromoted).

5. A player reduced to a bare King can surrender at any time.

6. Unlike in Shogi, you may drop a Pawn into a column already containing a Pawn.

Heian Ryu Shogi

This is the original version of Ryu Shogi that was submitted for the 84-Squares Contest. The additional rules are:

1. If you drop a captured piece in your first zone, you are entitled to another turn, which may be declined if you deem it necessary. Using your second turn to drop another piece into your First Zone, however, does not entitle a third turn.

2. If you move a promoted piece into your first zone, it becomes demoted and is re-flipped. In order to re-promote it must move back to your fourth zone.

3. Bare King is a loss, unless you have some pieces in hand.

4. Pawns may not be dropped on a column containing a friendly Pawn.

Computer Play

See link below for Zillions of Games rule file.

Credits

This game was inspired by Shogi and a bunch of historic Shogi variants. The moves of most of the pieces are taken from historic variants. The Warriors are, I believe, my own invention. Thank-you's to Michael Howe, Michael Nelson, and John Lawson and everyone else who showed interest for being so supportive of this game. Extra Super Special Thanks™ go to Steve Evans, author of the Shogi Variants program for PC. (Hopefully Ryu Shogi will be added to a future version of his program!)


Written and diagrams by Jared B. McComb.
Webpage made by Hans Bodlaender, updated by Peter Aronson.