Shogi variants with small boards

This page lists rules for various variants of the Japanese board game Shogi, with a particular focus on those that can be played with standard pieces (except for the first one). These are good practice for beginners, or for regular players who want a quick challenge.

Unless otherwise stated, each variant follows every rule of standard Shogi. Promotion zones are marked in a darker color.

Dobutsu Shogi (3×4)

きG(ワW) ラL(王K) ぞE(フF)
ぞe(フf) ラl(玉k) きg(ワw)

Invented by Madoka Kitao as a suitable variant for young children. Each player has one lion (king), one giraffe (wazir, rook limited to 1 square), one elephant (ferz, bishop limited to 1 square), and one chicken (pawn). The chicken promotes to a hen (gold) on the last rank, while the other pieces don't promote.

A player can win either by capturing the opponent's lion or by reaching the last row with their own lion.

There are no restrictions on chicken drops. Perpetual check is a draw.

Goro Goro Shogi (5×6)

In hand: —
銀S 金G 王K 金G 銀S
歩P 歩P 歩P
歩p 歩p 歩p
銀s 金g 玉k 金g 銀s
In hand: —
In hand: 桂N 香L
銀S 金G 王K 金G 銀S
歩P 歩P 歩P
歩p 歩p 歩p
銀s 金g 玉k 金g 銀s
In hand: 桂n 香l

A simplified game focusing entirely on short-range pieces. Each player has one king, two golds, two silvers, and three pawns.

In a variant, both players also start with one lance and one knight in hand.

Mini Shogi / Gogo Shogi (5×5)

飛R 角B 銀S 金G 王K
玉k 金g 銀s 角b 飛r

Invented by Shigenobu Kusumoto. Each player has one each of king, gold, silver, bishop, rook, and pawn.

Mini Shogi has one special rule: fourfold repetition (sennichite) is a win for White (gote).

Judkins Shogi (6×6)

飛R 角B 桂N 銀S 金G 王K
玉k 金g 銀s 桂n 角b 飛r

Invented by Paul Judkins. Same pieces as Mini Shogi, with the addition of a knight. Fourfold repetition is a draw.

Simple Shogi (3×5)

In hand: 金G 銀S
In hand: 金g 銀s

Invented by Yoshihisa Itsubaki. Each player starts with one king and one pawn on the board, and one gold and one silver in hand.

Rocket Shogi (5×7)

桂N 飛R 王K 角B 桂N
金G 銀S
銀s 金g
桂n 角b 玉k 飛r 桂n

Invented by Yoshihisa Itsubaki. This variant is played without pawns. Each player has one king, one gold, one silver, one bishop, one rook, two knights, and one lance.

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This page was last updated 2017-12-18.