The Chess Variant Pages

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Kevin Pacey wrote on 2016-01-25 UTC
H.G. wrote:
"...Note that size is not the exclusive determining factor. The large Shogi variants are all designed to have a few 'boss pieces' in them, which are capable of massacring weaker pieces at high rate. Even when the latter flock together in dense crowd where they mutually protect each other. Because pieces like Lions and their ilk have rifle-capture modes that thwart protection. And often there are rules that prevent them from being traded out of the game. Without such features the games would quickly degenerate into a tedious and boringly slow shuffling of all the weak pieces, with large probability for a stand-off. Tenjiku Shogi (2x78 pieces) did enjoy quite some popularity amongst western players a decade or so ago. But this is unique amongst the historic Shogi variants for having ultra-powerful Fire Demons (2 per side) which can capture up to 8 pieces in one turn, and greatly shorten the duration of the game (even compared to the much smaller Chu Shogi, where a typical game lasts 200-300 moves)."

Thanks for your reply H.G. I've played standard Shogi many times, and I've tried Chu Shogi once (though my opponent and I had to abandon the game in the opening phase due to time constraints, as we were not using a clock, plus we were unsure of some rules, or at least my opponent was unsure how to react to my moving my Lion many turns in a row, I seem to vaguely recall).

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Fwiw, I once was at the Ottawa home of a player of games such as Go and Shogi, and watched a documentary from Japan, where for an exhibition a huge board was made for a unique one-time Shogi variant between two players, with a few thousand pieces per side used. The game lasted something like 4 days, and the players naturally took breaks, including a whirlpool break together (more than the viewer needed to see or know, IMHO).

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