Shogi Vs Go
Go is a Chinese strategy game that is simple to learn to play but complex to master. However, I believe Shogi is a better game than Go. Shogi is certainly more fun. I believe this is because while both games are strategy games, Shogi is a war game, but Go is a territory collecting game. The thing I like best about Go is capturing the opponents stones. But if you spend your time capturing one group of stones then your opponent will merely cordon off heaps of territory and will win the game. Shogi is a battle and you can capture your enemies pieces as part of aiming to capture the enemies king. Some people claim that Go is a better game because it is more complex in the amount of lines of play that are available. However, I believe that this is only the case because of the ridiculously large size of the Go board (19 by 19 intersections) whereas the Shogi-ban is (9 by 9 squares). If one plays Go on a 9 by 9 sized board (and people do this, usually when they are learning) then there can be no doubt that Shogi is the more complex game. Or conversely if one plays Go on a 19 by 19 ban (board), then it should be compared to Maka-Dai-Dai-Shogi which is also played on a 19 by 19 board with 192 pieces on the board! Maka-Dai-Dai-Shogi is a Shogi variant and it is not so obvious that Go has more lines of play than Maka-Dai-Dai-Shogi. However even comparing the proper 9 by 9 ban for Shogi and the 19 by 19 ban for Go, Shogi is still more fun.
Shogi Vs Chess
(Western) Chess and Shogi (Japanese Chess) are both war games, so I like Shogi better than Chess for different reasons than I like Shogi better than Go. Shogi is better than chess because when you capture an enemies piece in chess it is out of play, but in Shogi it becomes part of your side and can be used in your army. Thus as Shogi progresses in the game, it increases the lines of play available (because of 'drops'). But in Chess as the game goes on, it gets more simplistic as there are less pieces to worry about. Now someone may use my arguement that I used with Shogi Vs Igo, about the difference in the size of the boards. However, it will not hold water when comparing Shogi and Chess. While it is true that Shogi is 9 by 9 and the Chess board is 8 by 8. Even if they were the same size Shogi would still be the more complex game. This is because of the 'drop' rule in Shogi and changing the board size will not change the difference in complexity of the two games. I read in a book that people who play Shogi find their Chess playing improving. I do not know if this is true (I've basically given up on Chess since discovering Shogi). However I was in the arcade the other day and they have a game of 'quick chess' in there, so I gave it a go. Quick Chess is played on a 5 by 5 board and you have a King, Queen, Knight, Bishop, Rook and 5 pawns. I wasn't really concentrating for the first couple of moves and it is the first time I'd played the game. I quickly realised that my pieces were in terrible places. My defence was almost non-existent. I quickly reverted to Shogi thinking. In Shogi it is a race game more so than Chess, where each player races to capture the others king. So I sacrificed my queen and got the computer in Checkmate in a couple more moves!
Read a friend of mine's rebuttal to this argument against Chess.
Are there other games like Shogi?
Well I don't know if there are, but another strategy game that is almost as fun as Shogi is Stratego. This game has the element of surprise as you cannot see what your opponents pieces are. This feature I find to be quite enjoyable, so I think that is probably the closest board game to Shogi...
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