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Kamikaze Mortal Shogi. Send your Kamikazes on suicide missions in this Shogi variant. (9x9, Cells: 81) [All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Fergus Duniho wrote on 2022-05-26 UTC

It is now ready, and I decided to call it Shogi with Impassable Kings, because this name better indicates that it is Shogi with a slight difference. The other alternatives I mentioned for the usual way of handling impasses in Shogi can also be used with Shogi with similar names that put Shogi first. So,

  • Shogi with Confined Kings
  • Shogi with the Try Rule, or Shogi with Thronemate
  • Shogi with Campmate
  • Shogi with Unopposable Kings

Greg Strong wrote on 2022-05-25 UTC

It would be worth it to apply this in normal Shogi, to create a variant 'Impasseless Shogi'.

I would definitely be interested in testing out this idea.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2022-05-25 UTC

It woould be worth it to apply this in normal Shogi, to create a variant 'Impasseless Shogi'.

I was thinking the same thing with the name Impassable Shogi, or perhaps Impassable Kings Shogi to make the meaning more clear.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2022-05-25 UTC

This is an interesting idea. It also would make kings a very large threat to each other, when they get close in ranks. Because they create an artificial board edge against which the opponent could be checkmated. Or could provide protection for a general dropped in front of the enemy king.

It woould be worth it to apply this in normal Shogi, to create a variant 'Impasseless Shogi'.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2022-05-24 UTC

One more option is to forbid Kings from occupying the same rank. This could be programmed by giving each King a checking move to every space in its rank. Being unable to occupy the same rank, Kings could not pass each other, and the impasse situation where each King has moved into the opponent's camp would never arise. If one King passed into his opponent's camp, the other King would have to be there too, which would leave that King vulnerable to attack. Additionally, the King in the opponent's camp would be unable to move to the last rank, which would leave it more vulnerable to some attacks.

I like how this option makes the game more decisive without fundamentally overturning gameplay. Unlike some options, it has no effect until the Kings come close together. Also, it's the easiest to program, it doesn't affect the movement of any piece but the King, and it doesn't add any new goals to the game.

H. G. Muller wrote on 2022-05-23 UTC

My guess is that forbidding kings to face each other would not help. Exposed kings get checkmated very quickly in Shogi. So when the manage to cross it is always surrounded by a group of friendly pieces, from which they are chased out, and then again get new pieces dropped around the to survive.

I could imagine that the Kamikazes present the same problem as Pawns, when you are allowed to drop more than one of those in the same file.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2022-05-22 UTC

Ever since I played a game with Greg that ended in an impasse, I felt this game may be too drawish, and I've sometimes considered changing the rules to fix this. The rule change I was thinking of was to forbid Kings from crossing to the other side of the board and to give them the ability to check each other from a distance, as in Eurasian Chess. However, it has come up that Shogi has its own rule for handling impasses, and there are alternatives to it.

The rule in Shogi is if each King has moved to the opponent's camp, which is the ranks the opponent's pieces start on, players may agree that an impasse has been reached and count pieces to determine the winner. Kings count for nothing, Rook and Bishops, promoted or not, each count 5, and other pieces each count 1. A player with less than 24 points loses. Because of the piece attrition in Kamikaze Mortal Shogi, it is possible that each side would have less than 24 points. So, instead, it could be played with the rule that whoever has more points wins. But I don't like this counting solution, and others don't too.

An alternative rule proposed for Shogi is called the Try rule. This involves winning by moving one's own King to the space the opponent's King began on. I don't know if this involves moving there only if it is safe or if it becomes a condition only after both Kings have crossed into the enemy camp. I would propose making it a winning condition only if both Kings have crossed into the opponent's camp and it moves there safely.

Similar to this is the Campmate rule, which allows a player to win by reaching the last rank with his King. I would propose the same conditions on it that I am proposing for the Try rule.

Another possibility for dealing with impasse is to reverse the directions that the opponent's pieces may move when the King moves into the opponent's camp. Additionally, pieces could be allowed to treat their own camp as a promotion zone when the opponent's King is there. These changes would discourage players from moving their Kings to the other side of the board without strictly forbidding it.

One more possibility is to allow Kings to check each other from a distance but to not forbid Kings from crossing to the other side. Instead, the ability of Kings to check each other from a distance would usually prevent both Kings from crossing to the other side, and if they happened to do so by having another piece between them on the same rank, this ability would provide an incentive for leaving the King more exposed.

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2018-03-01 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Another cool concept by Fergus, this time in the field of shogi variants.

Greg Strong wrote on 2011-03-26 UTC

Oops, I noticed that in my previous post I forgot to rate the game, so I'll do it here.  [EDIT: moved comment to previous post so it shows under my 'Reviews']

Also a comment about the opening - the player with the first move has a very aggressive attack by marching the rook-pawn up, forcing an exchange, and dropping a kamikaze on 2c, which is protected by the rook and attacks the trapped knight. You have to respond to this attack immediately to prevent it.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2011-03-26 UTC
Thanks, Greg. There is a reason I consider this to be my best Chess variant, and you hit on it quite well. Huge thanks go to Roberto Lavieri, who came up with the initial idea for Mortal Shogi and who also came up with the underpromotion rule, which I think has made this game a lot more interesting. Thanks also go to Karl Scherer, whose Hydra Chess inspired Mortal Chessgi.

Greg Strong wrote on 2011-03-26 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
This is fantastic game; one of my favorites of all time.

I love shogi, but this game even improves on the classic.  The biggest difference is not the fact that the pieces get weaker with each capture, nor is it the addition of the kamikaze.  I find the biggest difference to be the change in the promotion rules, which has profound implications...

In shogi, when you promote a pawn, you get a piece that has the fighting power of a gold general.  But, when the opponent captures it, all he gets is a pawn.  This makes promotion a terrific thing.  In this game, though, if you choose to promote it to a gold, it fights as a gold, but when the opponent captures it, he gets a silver (i.e., the gold general demoted one step.)  So promotion is double-edged.  If it's going to get captured, (and, in combat areas, pieces are captured and re-dropped a lot,) you're really just giving your opponent a more powerful piece by promoting.  For this reason, holes in the promotion zone aren't nearly as deadly as in regular shogi.

In shogi, a gold general is slightly stronger than a silver, but only slightly, and, in some situations, the silver is actually better because it's diagonal move helps it to slip through the pawns.  In this variant, I feel that unless the current situation specifically needs a gold, the silver is actually much better.  The fighting power is very similar, but when your gold gets captured, you give the opponent a silver; when your silver gets captured, he only gets a lance.  That's a pretty big difference.

Also, promoting a bishop or rook is very dangerous.  If you promote your bishop to a dragon horse, for example, you better not let it get captured, or you've handed your opponent a rook! (which can probably be promoted to a dragon king!)  When it's still a bishop, though, if it gets captured, you're only giving your opponent a gold (which can't even be promoted.)

I find that with the introduction of the kamikaze, the opening becomes intense very quickly, much more quickly than shogi.  Later in the game, though, because of the promotion change resulting in promotion being risky and holes in the promotion zone being much less significant, I find the game stays even much longer.  When a player starts losing (measured in conventional terms - he has less material) he starts to gain a strange advantage.  The opponent's 'stronger' pieces can't engage because they can't risk getting taken by a 'weaker' piece, because if that trade takes place, the player who had the weaker piece now gets a stronger piece in hand, and, even if the other player can recapture, he only gets a piece even weaker than the weaker piece already was...  This is like the 'leveling effect' described by Ralph Betza, but to a much greater extreme, leading to very intense games that are in doubt right up until the end.

M Winther wrote on 2010-03-10 UTC
These video demonstrations are fantastic tools of learning. I have often watched the ICC opening survey videos. This one is professionally done, but the subject is very ambitious. This site could have good use of a video on Western piece movement and foundational chess principles. I have often noticed that amateurs wanting to learn chess come to this site.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2010-03-07 UTC
I have now uploaded a video on Kamikaze Mortal Shogi to Youtube:

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2005-04-05 UTC
A piece may keep promoting until it promotes to something that can't promote, which would be a Gold General, a Dragon Horse, or a Dragon King.

Greg Strong wrote on 2005-04-05 UTC
I'm not clear on something regarding promotion. Can I assume any piece may only promote once? Or can it keep moving in the promotion zone, gaining a rank each time?

Anonymous wrote on 2004-07-30 UTC
<ul><li>In the description of the Bishop, it says:<br> 'When it enters, exits, or moves with the promotion zone, a <b>Rook</b> may promote to a Dragon Horse.'

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