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Macadamia Shogi

Introduction

Macadamia Shogi is inspired by the historic Japanese Chess variant Maka Dai Dai Shogi. The latter game contains many unique and interesting ideas (e.g. multiple captures, hook movers, a royal Universal leaper, promotion by capture, inheriting properties of the piece you capture). But it is huge (19x19 board, 96 pieces of 50 types, with 24 more types available through promotion), so that it is quite tedious to play.

Macadamia Shogi is Maka Dai Dai Shogi shrunk by roughly a factor two, by selecting a subset of the pieces (48 pieces of 26 types, with 11 new types available through promotion) on a 13x13 board. This is done in a way that conserves the 'feel' of the game as much as possible, by selecting the key pieces, and a representative set of the others, with a slight bias against the very weakest of each class. (As weak pieces tend to drag out a game.)

Setup

Fourth and fifth rank
  • a4-m4, a10-m10 Pawns (fW)
  • d5, j5, d9, j9 Snake (vW)

Click on piece names below to see its moves:

First rank
  • g1, g13 King (K)
  • f1, h13 Priest (rbfFlW)
  • h1, g13 Pirate (lbfFrW)
  • e1, i1, e13, i13 Gold (WfF)
  • d1, j1, d13, j13 Silver (FfW)
  • c1, k1, c13, k13 Copper (fFvW)
  • b1, l13 Kirin (FD)
  • l1, b13 Phoenix (WA)
  • a1, m1, a13, m13 Lance (fR)
Second rank
  • g2, g12: Elephant (FsfW)
  • f2, h2, g12, h12: Tiger (FsbW)
  • d2, j12 Lion (KNAD(cK-aK)(mK-bK), see below)
  • j2, d12 Wolf (KAD(mcK-vK)K3, see below)
  • b2, l2, b12, l12 Dragon (F2)
Third rank
  • g3, g11 Queen (Q)
  • f3, h11 Capricorner (B(B-sB))
  • h3, f11 Hook Mover (R(R-sR))
  • c3, k11 Wrestler (F3sW)
  • k3, c11 Guardian (W3fF)
  • e3, i3, e11, i11 Castle (RF)
  • d3, j3, d11, j11 Bishop (B)
  • b3, l11 Left Chariot (fRbWlfrbB)
  • l3, b11 Right Chariot (fRbWrflbB)
  • a3, m3, a11, m11 Rook (R)

Pieces

The moves of the pieces that are present in the initial setup is already given in Betza notation above. For most it should also be obvious how they move from the menemonic pieces glyphs used in the diagram. Other pieces can be obtained through promotion; their Betza description is given in the Rules section.

The Emperor

A King promotes to an all-powerful Emperor, which is a 'Universal Leaper'. I.e. it can reach any square of the board from any other square, whether moving or capturing. The Emperor is not allowed to capture any protected royal when this would expose it to capture, though. That even holds for capturing the opponent's sole remaining royal. So if the opponent also has an Emperor your Emperor will not be allowed to capture any royal other than the Emperor itsef (when no other piece protects it).

Hook movers

The Hook Mover is a Rook that can (but doesn't have to) make one 90-degree turn in its trajectory. On an empty board it could reach any square, most of them in two ways. A Capricorner is a Bishop that can do the same. Which means it can reach any square of its color on an empty board. Unfortunately your hook movers demote to Gold when they capture something promoted, and there is no way to get any new ones.

Wolf, Saint

A Saint moves as a Wolf or as a Queen. The Wolf is a triple mover: it can make up to 3 King steps along a ray, and even return to its starting square (but not overshoot it). It can make these steps as jumps when it chooses to do so. So it can:

  • Jump directly to any square 1-3 steps away along Queen rays, irrespective of what other squares are occupied,
  • Annihilate any opponent standing next to it, without moving (formally one step, and then a step back),
  • Step one square in any direction, annihilating what was 2 steps away in that direction (formally 2 steps out, 1 in)
  • Jump to the second square in any direction, annihilating the opponent it jumped over,
  • Move to the third square in any direction, annihilating the opponent on the first square it jumped over, irrespective of what is on the second square,
  • Move to the third square in any direction, annihilating the opponent on the second square it jumped over, irrespective of what is on the first square,
  • Move to the third square in any direction, annihilating the opponents on both the first and the second square it jumped over.
  • Stay in place without capturing anything if one of the neighboring squares is empty (effectively passing a turn).
All these moves can be made with a capture on the final square as well as to an empty square. So the Wolf can capture upto 3 pieces per turn. If any piece is captured, it can promote, but as it promotes to Gold, you would probably elect not to. If any of the pieces captured is promoted, however, the Wolf must promote. If it captures both Saint (Priest) and Ghost (Pirate) in one turn, it promotes to the one that was farthest away from it.

Lion, Berserker, Ghost

A Ghost moves as a Lion or a Queen. A Berserker moves as a Lion or slides upto 3 squares in any of the 8 directions. The Lion is a double mover: it can make up to 2 King steps per turn, changing direction between them, even when this returns it to its starting square. It can make the first step as jump, when it chooses to do so. So it can:

  • Jump directly to any square in the 5x5 area surrounding it,
  • Annihilate any opponent standing next to it, without moving (formally one step, and then a step back),
  • Annihilate any opponent standing next to it, moving on to an empty square next to that ('hit and run'),
  • Annihilate any opponent standing next to it, and normally capture an opponent standing next to that ('double capture'),
  • Stay in place without capturing anything if one of the neighboring squares is empty (effectively passing a turn).
If any piece is captured, the Lion can promote to Berserker. And as the Berserker is upward compatible with the Lion, you should always do that. If the Lion captures both Saint (Priest) and Ghost (Pirate) in one turn, it promotes to the one that was on its destination square.

Rules

Goal

The game is won when the opponent has lost all his royal pieces through capture. Royal pieces are Kings and Emperor. A player can have two of those, because the (non-Royal) Elephant can promote to King.

Promotion

Almost all pieces can promote at the end of their turn. There is no choice for what they promote to; each piece has a fixed promoted form, which can be different for each piece type. Promotion is irreversible, and once the piece is promoted it keeps the promoted form for as long as it remains in the game. There is an exception to this, see below. Promotion can happen anywhere on the board, but only when the piece captures something.

When capturing a piece that is already promoted, promotion is mandatory. Otherwise you can opt for not promoting. This is important, as some 'promotions' are actually hefty demotions, where a strong piece promotes to the weak Gold, so that you would want to avoid promotion if you could.

When a non-royal piece captures a Priest or Saint it promotes to Saint, even if it was already promoted. When it captures a Pirate or Ghost, it likewise promotes to Ghost. These rules cause that the (potential) Saint and Ghost, which are the two strongest pieces of the game, will virtually never disappear from play. They can change sides, though, but of course their owner would do his utmost to prevent that. Which in practice means that you cannot capture a protected Saint with another Saint to trade it: the opponent would recapture and promote to Saint, so he gets his Saint back, while you lost yours! Royals (including Elephant) always promote to their own promoted royal type, and never to Saint or Ghost.

Pieces promote as follows:
  • King -> Emperor (U)
  • Elephant -> King (K)
  • Priest -> Saint (Wolf + Q)
  • Pirate -> Ghost (Lion + Q)
  • Lion -> Berserker (Lion + K3)
  • Kirin -> Unicorn (sRvW2F3)
  • Phoenix -> Golden Bird (vRsW2F3)
  • Tiger -> Running Tiger (BbsR)
  • Gold -> Running Gold (RfB)
  • Silver -> Running Silver (BfR)
  • Copper -> Running Copper (vRfB)
  • Snake -> Sliding Snake (vR)
  • Wolf -> Gold
  • Capricorner -> Gold
  • Hook Mover -> Gold
  • Wrestler -> Gold
  • Guardian -> Gold
  • Rook -> Gold
  • Bishop -> Gold
  • L/R Chariot -> Gold
  • Dragon -> Gold
  • Lance -> Gold
  • Pawn -> Gold
Queen and Castle do not promote.

The white army with all pieces promoted

Repetition

Repeating a position that has occurred previously (with the same side to move) is in principle forbidden. But to prevent abuse of this rule for material gains and allowing draws in positions where really nothing can be achieved anymore, the outcome of the game is not automatically a loss for the side whose move created the repeated position, but will depend on all moves since the previous occurrence of the position as follows:

  • If one side has been checking (i.e. attacking the only opponent royal) with all his moves, that side loses. (In other words: perpetual checking is always forbidden).
  • If one side did not attack anything with any of his moves, but the other did, that latter side loses. (This outlaws perpetual chasing.)
  • If neither side attacked anything with any of their moves, the game is drawn.

Notes

The pieces can be roughly devided into 4 groups, depending on how they promote:

1) Most steppers promote to pieces that slide in the direction they stepped.
2) Most strong pieces (and Pawns) 'promote' to Gold
3) The strong Queen and Castle do not promote at all
4) A minority of the pieces promotes in a spectacular way, to pieces that will dominate the game

A Gold obtained by promotion is a bit stronger than the usual Gold, since it would force promotion on any piece that captures it. That makes it relatively immune to capture by the stronger unpromoted pieces, which would demote as a result of the capture.

The Hook Mover is the only piece that can checkmate an Emperor, when you do not have an Emperor yourself. So you might want to preserve it for that purpose.

Apart from being an interesting game in itself, Macadamia Shogi can be used as a convenient first step towards learning Maka Dai Dai Shogi, as the rules in no way contradict these of the larger game, but are a true sub-set of these.

I took the liberty to give some pieces names that differ from the literal translation of their Japanese names, to avoid names that would only be meaningful to Buddhist Monks, and avoid an abundance of Dragons. And make it easier to assign them to WinBoard piece graphics. So 'Great Dragon' became 'Unicorn', 'Deva' became 'Priest', 'Dark Spirit' became 'Pirate', 'Buddhist Spirit' became 'Ghost', 'Teaching King' became 'Saint', 'Go Between' became 'Snake', 'Lion Dog' became 'Wolf'.



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By H. G. Muller.
Web page created: 2015-03-09. Web page last updated: 2015-03-09