Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hobby #11: Shogi

Shogi is another board game that has it's origins in japan. It is much more difficult to learn and play than western chess, and is just under 2 times as complex. Shogi is the 3rd most complex board game officially recognized, having a 10^226 game tree complexity. In comparison, chess has 10^123 and go has 10^360.

Shogi is the most popular strategy board game in japan. In a 1995 study, 70% of japanese boys ages 16-19 play shogi, and 61% of girls own a shogi set as well. Western chess is played by 15% of the population, and go only 7%.

Shogi is played on a 9x9 board, and if I could compare it to anything, it would be bughouse chess. If you've never heard of it, bughouse chess is a variant of chess that is popular among clubs for killing time. bughouse chess is different than regular chess in that you play in pairs and when a piece is captured you hand it to your partner. Your partner can then place the piece anywhere on the board with a few ristrictions. Shogi is very similar. If a piece is captured in shogi, you keep it for later use, and you can place it when necessary.

Shogi is a very difficult game to learn completely. There are many terms and rules to learn, and you also need to memorize certain japanese characters. It is immensely complex. However, if you DO learn this game, you can brag about how you play a game more complex than chess and checkers combined! (Seriously. 10^123 + 10^54 < 10^226.)

1 comment:

Joel said...

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Joel Houston