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Gyaku-sama Shogi. Smaller version of Hanten Shogi on a 13x13 board.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Adam DeWitt wrote on 2021-10-02 UTC

I really like these experiments with reducing the size of Tenjiku Shogi with H. G. Muller's Nutty Shogi and Dr Eric Silverman's Makyou Shogi.

What I like about this version is that the powers of the super pieces are more limited and the weaker pieces have been boosted. The board is also about the right size and the prmotion rule is intriguing.

The original powers of the Fire Demon and Generals were such that they could cause devastation and that any mistakes could be punished very quickly.

I'm glad you like this game. I agree that the promotion rule is quite an interesting twist. The boosting of the weaker pieces and weakening of the stronger ones definitely helps make the game feel more balanced. In Tenjiku Shogi the Knights were so limited that they were a bit of a joke, and the Fire Demon and jumping generals are so powerful that some of the weaker pieces would rarely have a chance to get used.

In fact I would like to see a version with even more limited pieces, where generals can only leap one piece and area movers are limited to two king moves.

While this might be interesting for Gyaku-sama and Mitsugumi Shogi, the larger games in the Suzumu family would become too drawn out if the pieces are weakened further. Because of the larger board sizes, they need to have larger numbers of more powerful pieces in order to stay interesting.

In fact, I have made a new version of all Suzumu games (except Hook Shogi) which allows the Fire Demons to shoot an adjacent enemy piece after moving. Each game also has a new starting position to account for this. For Gyaku-sama Shogi and Mitsugumi Shogi, this alone isn't enough to eliminate all structural weaknesses in the new starting position. To solve this, I added the Horned Falcon and Soaring Eagle to these games, which solves the structural problem and balances out the Fire Demon's increased power by further limiting its movement in the opening. This should make these games more interesting while still preserving the original theme.

A couple of things I am curious about is the lack of symmetry with the Phoenix and Kirin which looks a bit odd, and if it would be a good idea to have a Dog on g5 and g9 to prevent the early trading of Rook Generals.

The lack of symmetry between the Phoenix and Kirin is there because I copy-pasted Nutty Shogi's starting position and then transposed the Rooks and Bishops to fix a structural weakness to regular captures. The new starting position has more symmetry between the two. As for the trading of Rook Generals, it isn't really a problem, because you wouldn't gain anything from trading these pieces anyway.