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Fergus Duniho wrote on 2016-07-22 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Shogi is an excellent game. Like Chinese Chess and western Chess, it probably evolved from the Indian Chaturanga. Despite being very different from Chinese Chess and from western Chess, it has too many similarities to them to be coincidence. The main evidence for the direction of evolution is that (1) it is a huge improvement over Chaturanga, and (2) its main differences from Chaturanga are not seen in other regional Chess variants. One of its main differences from other regional variants is its drop rule, which allows players to drop captured pieces back on the board as their own. Despite still having some slow-moving pieces like Chaturanga has, this rule greatly speeds up the game. because a captured piece can (with some restrictions) be placed on any empty space on the board. It also makes the game more dynamic. Instead the game being decided by a single-Pawn difference early in the game, there is a greater chance of material shifting between players, and the outcome depends more on the quality of play throughout the game. Shogi remains superior to Chess variants, such as Chessgi or Crazyhouse, that have added a similar drop rule to Chess. The reason for this is that its piece set is better-designed to work with the drop rule. In general, the drop rule works better with weaker pieces than are found in Chess. For example, the Chess Knight can be a formidable piece to drop, possibly forking several pieces, but the Shogi Knight can move in only two directions. Although it does include one Rook in the game, it has replaced the two corner Rooks with Lances, which move forward only. Also, unlike Chessgi and Crazyhouse, the Rook is the most powerful piece that may be dropped. In those games, you can drop a captured Queen. Shogi is also superior to Shatranji, my own attempt to apply the drop rule to the weaker piece set found in Shatranj. Besides the regular Chess Knight, Shatranji has a Ferz and some Elephants, which are both short-range diagonal moving pieces, instead of the Gold and Silver Generals. The two Generals, while being weaker than the King, both have the ability to change color. Also, like the Lance and Shogi Knight, they are more powerful going forward than backward. Having greater power for forward movement improves the offensive ability of pieces while weakening their defensive capabilities. Giving greater power to several pieces that reach the back three ranks also favors offense over defense. This favoring of offense over defense helps make Shogi more decisive and less drawish. Overall, Shogi is a fun, dynamic, and decisive game that can hold interest throughout the game, it is a huge improvement over Chaturanga, and among regional variants, it is my favorite.


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