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Abstraction: East Asian Chess – Shogi and Xiangqi
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.
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