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Abstraction: East Asian Chess – Shogi and Xiangqi

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16 Mar 2021 00:00 #320879 by DukeofChutney
Shogi
Apart from the great aesthetics, damn that’s some good print...

I hate chess. So I’m going to write an article about chess games. I don’t think chess is a bad game, I just don’t process it very well. If my opponent can run the game long enough I will just fail to spot bishop and knight moves and lose pieces. I do however love abstracts, and learning games from other cultures. With that in mind here is a very brief intro to Shogi and Xiangqi, chess for Japan and chess for China.

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19 Mar 2021 13:17 #320880 by Dr. Mabuse
Thank-you for a wonderful overview of these two games that I've been really curious about.
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19 Mar 2021 17:19 #320898 by jason10mm
These look really interesting, and the web crawler obediently filled my ad space with "Yellow Mountain Shogi" sets from amazon at a variety of price levels.

I love physical abstracts like this. That wonderful THUMP of a Go stone on a good hollow board, meaty marble chess pieces, the clink of tiles of a mahjong set. These games look to have similar tactile qualities.

The psychological factor being culturally specific is a fascinating concept as well. Media certainly has latched on to it, how many strategic masterminds are shown playing chess, or the bluffing contest of wills masquerading as a game of poker or blackjack. There was a sci-fi book series way back called Chung Kuo or something that used a lot of Go metaphors for depicting the oblique Sun Tzu type maneuvering of the characters.

Now i want to go home and bust out my Hive tiles for some more ameritrashy abstract goodness :p

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19 Mar 2021 17:58 #320900 by DukeofChutney
The physicality is a big part of what makes a good abstract. My Xiangqi set, and many others, has big chess men that you grip in your paw and move around. I've a very cheap set of shogi chess men, but if i had regular opponents I'd get a good set. I've submitted articles on Mahjong and Go to follow this, both of which have nice clacky components.
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19 Mar 2021 18:28 #320903 by Gary Sax
This is useful info even though I don't play abstracts, just from a game cultural familiarity angle.

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