The Chess Variant Pages

Four Player Shogi

In January 1999, Michael Shipley sent us the following email:

In surfing your Chess Variant Pages, I was surprised that I did not find any 3+ player versions of Shogi. I am attaching a copy of my rules for a Four Player Shogi Game for your consideration. I think it will be a nice addition to your online library.

Four Player Shogi is played on a cross-shaped board: A 9 square by 9 square central area with a 3 square by 9 square wing connected to each edge of the central area.

Initial Setup

The pieces are setup in the 3x9 wings in the same order as in Shogi with one exception. The East and West players should reverse the positions of the Rook and Bishop.

                              North
              +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
              | L | N | S | G | K | G | S | N | L |
              +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
              |   | R |   |   |   |   |   | B |   |
              +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
              | P | P | P | P | P | P | P | P | P |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
  | L |   | P |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | P |   | L |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
  | N | R | P |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | P | B | N |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
  | S |   | P |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | P |   | S |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
W | G |   | P |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | P |   | G |
e +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ E
s | K |   | P |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | P |   | K | a
t +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+ s
  | G |   | P |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | P |   | G | t
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
  | S |   | P |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | P |   | S |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
  | N | B | P |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | P | R | N |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
  | L |   | P |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   |   | P |   | L |
  +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
              | P | P | P | P | P | P | P | P | P |
              +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
              |   | B |   |   |   |   |   | R |   |
              +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
              | L | N | S | G | K | G | S | N | L |
              +---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+---+
                              South

Movement

The pieces move the same as in Shogi:

** Note: No pieces may be moved through the 3x3 voids at the four corners.

Promotion

A player may choose to promote a piece when it enters, moves within or leaves the starting field (3x9 wing section) of any other player. The piece must be promoted whenever it is moved to a square which does not permit further movement of the piece

Promoted pieces move the same as in Shogi:

Capturing

As in Shogi: All capturing is by replacement.

Drops

As in Shogi: a piece which has been captured becomes the captor?s reinforcements. The piece may be dropped onto any open square (with some restrictions) in lieu of moving a piece already on the board.

Pieces are always dropped in their non-promoted state.

Pieces may not be dropped onto a square where the piece will never have a legal move. (example: The South Player may not drop Pawns, Lances and Knights along the Northern edge of the board.)

Pawns may not be dropped to give Checkmate.

A player may not drop a pawn on a file in which he already has a non-promoted pawn. Thus a player can never have more than 15 non-promoted pawns on the board at any one time.

A player may not drop a piece captured by another player. (Captured pieces cannot be transferred to a teammate)

Game Style

There are three game styles. Team-Orthogonal, Team-Diagonal, and Independent

Team-Orthogonal:

The North and South players are one team and the East and West players are another team.

The North Player moves first, East moves second, South moves third and West moves fourth.

A player may not capture a piece belonging to his teammate

If a player?s king is in Check, The player must attempt to relieve the check. If the check cannot be relieved, the player looses his turn and may not move or drop any pieces. The checked king remains on the board (it cannot be captured). The other pieces can still be captured. The lines of attack of the pieces of a Checkmated king are still active even though the pieces cannot move.

A team wins when both kings of the opposing team are in Checkmate.

Team-Diagonal:

The North and East players are one team and the South and West players are another team. (Can also be played North and West versus South and East)

The North Player moves first, South moves second, East moves third and West moves fourth. (If playing the North and West versus South and East, West moves third and East moves Fourth)

A player may not capture a piece belonging to his teammate

If a player?s king is in Check, The player must attempt to relieve the check. If the check cannot be relieved (Checkmate), the player looses his turn and may not move or drop any pieces. The checked king remains on the board (it cannot be captured). The other pieces can still be captured. The lines of attack of the pieces of a Checkmated king are still active even though the pieces cannot move.

A team wins when both kings of the opposing team are in Checkmate.

Individual:

Each player must do battle against three other players.

The North Player moves first, East moves second, South moves third and West moves fourth.

If a player?s king is in Check, The player must attempt to relieve the check. If the check cannot be relieved (Checkmate), the player looses his turn and may not move or drop any pieces. Any player issuing check in a Checkmate may capture the king on his turn. A captured King is removed from play and cannot be dropped.

A player who has lost his king is eliminated from the game. If the King is not captured and the Checkmate is relieved, the player may resume play. (example: West?s King is along a board edge and North issues Checkmate with a Gold General guarded by North?s Bishop. East captures Gold?s Bishop with a Lance. South moves. West can relieve the Mate by King captures Gold. If East hadn?t captured North?s Bishop or if East had captured North?s Bishop with a Bishop, North would have been able to eliminate West from the game on North?s next turn.)

The remaining pieces of the eliminated player remain on the board until they are removed by capture. The lines of attack of the pieces of a Checkmated or captured king are still active even though the pieces cannot move.

Captured pieces in the possession of an eliminated player are removed from play.

Another Variation:

Treat the King as any other piece. Check is not announced. The King can be captured and may be dropped as an additional King. A player who has lost his King suffers no penalty and may continue to move his pieces. The game is won when one player or team has possession of all 4 kings.


Written by Michael Shipley. HTML conversion by David Howe.
WWW page created: January 8, 1999.