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)
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: —|
|In hand: —|
|In hand: 桂N 香L|
|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)
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)
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)
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.
|In hand: 銀S 歩P|
|In hand: 銀s 歩p|
Invented by Natsuhiko Nagumo. Each player starts with their king in their left corner and a pawn and silver in hand.
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This page was last updated 2020-04-09.