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The Official All-Purpose Board Game Thread

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Yes, I know that another thread has served this purpose in some regard, but it was initially designated a chess thread, and it hasn't seen the light of day for some time.  This is a Nolan-esque reboot.  Are you okay with that?

With the pleasantries out of the way, what board games do you like to play?  I myself enjoy numerous board games and for various reason.  I will start with just a few.

Chess--Yes, yes, I could have just stuck with the first thread.  Well, I'll get it off my chest.  I love this game, and wish I were as good as I used to be.  I've never been fantastic, but I could consider myself respectable by mere mortal standards at one point.

Shogi--Not mentioned here that I've see, this is the Japanese version of chess.  The pieces are flat and pointed, and all of the same color.  What is interesting is that once you've captured a piece, you can turn it around and re-enter it on the board as your own piece!  It really is a fascinating game, and I recommend that any chess lover try it out.

Risk--No game in my mind has taken more undeserved flak than Risk.  Sure, it is simplistic and long at times.  But it's not the game itself I love; it's the metagame, comprised of diplomacy and politics.  In my mind, there are few games (i.e. the obvious Diplomacy) that allow for such subtlety in manipulation, even despite its lack of finesse in anything else.  Particularly relevant to me is Same Time Risk from the PC game Risk II.  I converted this PC only game to an actual board game, and for those interested, you can look here, here, here, and here to learn more about it.  It's simultaneous play, and truly allows the best aspects of the metagame come to the forefront.  This is a game where I truly excel.  The reason is not because I roll the better dice or really am the better general.  The reason is that I set my enemies against each other, all the while creating the perception that I am nearly harmless and innocent.  I usually win the game while looking like the least aggressive player.  I'm the better politician :)

Tell us about your game interests.

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I lost my last game of Scotland Yard on the very last turn.  I was Mr. X and just got cocky.  I should have stuck to the road instead of taking the underground.

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This thread should have never died, but a bunch of Star Wars nerds refused to post in it ;)

As I mentioned in my other thread, I am designing a wargame.  I'd been working on it three or four years ago, but took a break, and now I picked up my in-progress rules and made some real headway in areas that had stumped me before.  Though quite rough in written form, the actual mechanics are all worked out I think.  But since my game is meant for the other thread, I will post inspirations for that game here (though honestly I've not had the time to play most of these other games).

Risk 2210 A.D.  It's good old fashioned Risk, but with more.  Cards are important, and there are sea territories.  It's still a simple game, but complex enough to be interesting.  Of course, I haven't actually played it :(  But it looks good and is in a similar vein to a game I have played.

Lord of the Rings Risk.  It still sticks to the general Risk formula, but again with cards to affect gameplay and obviously with a LOTR theme.  This game almost makes me feel claustrophobic, as there are relatively few chokepoints when compared to vanilla Risk.

The number one board game on boardgamegeek.com is Twilight Struggle, a board game that is even more card driven than the previous two.  It's a Cold War theme where you either play the Americans or Soviets, and depending on your skill in influencing other nations, the better your chances of winning the Cold War.  It's a diplomatic game rather than war--in fact, if you trigger WWIII, you lose.  Still hoping to play, but I've don't even own it yet.

Diplomacy.  The prototypical game of negotiation.  You can't win without help, and it is indeed fun, though I still hold a grudge against a friend of mine who stabbed me in the back about 15 years ago.  One of these days I'll get him back.  I will...I will...I will.

Axis & Allies.  Actually, I don't much care for this game.  It's far too scripted, as the setup is always the same, your allies are always the same, and players use the same formulae to win each time.  But once I played with some other guys, and we attempted to make it more Risk-like by making it every man for himself and equalizing the economic distribution.  It still wasn't truly an even game due to setup, but it sure was fun as heck!  And I got stabbed in the back...by the same friend!!!  Jesus said to forgive, but surely there are exceptions.

A&A Anniversary Edition.  Significantly expanded version of the above game, which could potentially lead to more variety and better simulation of WWII, but still a simple enough game to enjoy in an afternoon.  Haven't played this, but maybe one day.

On some level, I've been inspired by each of these games when creating my own.  But my game is certainly unique enough that it is not a plagiarism at all.  Hopefully I will be able to playtest it soon with some friends and see how it works out.

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Settlers of Catan is one of my favorites.

7 Wonders is a fantastic, wonderful game. It's like a combination of Catan and Civilization. Not so much a deck building game like Dominion. Check out this video review - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cjv1JfFeQko

Risk is one of the all time greats.

And I have a soft spot for the old school games like Sorry!, Chutes and Ladders, etc.

“Grow up. These are my Disney's movies, not yours.”

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I've never had much chance to try economic games like this, but they seem fascinating.  I am a huge fan of board games, but when it comes down to it, I've never really had the time or a sizeable group of friends equally devoted to such games, and it bums me out.  I would love to try out 7 Wonders and give you a report, if I ever find an opportunity.

And you might be interested in knowing that my wife and I have a history of playing Sorry!  Still a great game.

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darth_ender said:

Shogi--Not mentioned here that I've see, this is the Japanese version of chess.  The pieces are flat and pointed, and all of the same color.  What is interesting is that once you've captured a piece, you can turn it around and re-enter it on the board as your own piece!  It really is a fascinating game, and I recommend that any chess lover try it out.

 

I should have mentioned that I played a game of shogi recently.  I have a homemade set that instead of using the Japanese Kanji to identify the pieces, has English letters and illustrates the moves of the pieces rather simply on both sides.  I taught my bro-in-law how to play and creamed him the first time.  The second time I decided to handicap myself by removing the Rook equivalent (The left-side piece in the second, near-empty rank).  I had never handicapped myself in previous plays.  In many ways it is not nearly as drastic to remove a piece from your side as in classic chess because the pieces are overall much weaker (the Rook being the most powerful on the board) and a player can recover the difference with some good play by capturing and reintroducing enemy pieces.  But as the Rook is so powerful, I quickly discovered how difficult it was to recover from this handicap.  I had to play an extremely defensive game, creating a fortress essentially with my pieces to prevent the enemy from penetrating my territory.  He nearly broke through with an overwhelming force, but he finally made enough mistakes to allow me to turn things around.  I dispatched of his strike force, then pushed my own into his territory and checkmated him.  It was a good challenge; he's a decent chess player, but was not familiar with shogi at all.  The handicap made for a pretty even game, but I suspect that he's already gained enough experience that such a handicap would be a guaranteed defeat for me.  I really enjoy this game.  You guys should try it out.

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I mentioned Risk II in the first post of the thread, but I played a game on Saturday and wanted to report on it.  Here is a picture of the board for reference when discussing additional territories:

Copied from my report on boardgamegeek.com with minor changes:

I was able to play another game of RISK II this weekend, and this time to completion.  Present was my trustworthy friend Derek, who has joined every game I've played, as well as two of my nephews, Max and Phil, who love classic Risk, but had never before played a simultaneous game. Playing to 60%, the players needed a mere 28 territories of the full 48 in order to win. Even at this early cutoff, the game was already in the winner's hands before we were done before turn 3. We made it through 5 in all.

In the beginning, I was granted a rather unfair advantage. We simply distributed the cards, which left me with a surprisingly good position--I had about half of Europe and several connected territories that also led into Asia (remember, in this version connected empires also grant additional armies). The result was a significant army bonus of 7 per turn while everyone else only got 4. Derek and I admittedly had a casual relationship--we hardly had any adjacent territories and couldn't really help each other out much. On the other hand, my nephews joined forces in an inseparable bond and were determined to attack me from Asia. They did not do much to prevent a European conquest in spite of owning a few of the territories between the two of them. Phil had the best shot of preventing me from gaining the whole continent, but he also had ambitions for N. America and clashed with Derek. Between the silly Asian assault and the N. American campaign, he did not have enough forces present in Europe to defend against me, and I had all of Europe by the end of the first turn.

Turn 2 I played rather cautiously. My nephews continued to trip over each other as their territories were interspersed. Rather than consolidating a continent and separating their territories so they had clearly discernible empires, they were weakened by trying to avoid conquering each others' "throwaway" territories. Max had sizable forces in both India and Siam, and Phil had a big army in Ural and China. I was somewhat nervous that they could break through my forces and remove my European bonus. They took out most of my useless Asian territories, but I succeeded in repelling them and gained Afghanistan and India. Meanwhile, Max also slowly tried to gain Australia and Phil and Derek were going back in forth in North American and extended their battle into the South. Derek clearly had the upper hand, as his forces were far more concentrated there, but he had quite a time eradicating Phil.

By turn 3 I broke through both nephews' defenses and had them both on the run. Derek had been true to his word in spite of a couple of times where I'd been a tad more vulnerable to a backstab. I managed to take out Max's backup line in Siam and continued to spread throughout Asia.  Derek tried to help me a bit by attacking Japan through Hawaii, but he couldn't really do much near to home.  Max pressed into S. America from New Zealand to help out his brother; the Americas remained unattainable and still no one else had gained a single continent other than myself.

Turn 4 I invaded Africa, which had largely been left alone. I nearly gained the whole of Asia, and I continued my policy of slowly building up in Iceland and Svalbard for a potential N. American invasion (to ensure Derek couldn't get too big...again, only if necessary). Max finally had Australia, but Phil literally had only two territories remaining in N. America by the end of the turn. I had played a rather cautious turn because while I had large forces on all fronts, Derek and I kept our mutually respectful truce and didn't attack him on any front (by this time, most of my front lines were now facing Derek's men).

Turn 5 was the final slammer. I had to turn on Derek, but we also swallowed up my nephews. Phil was crushed in N. America and Max forced out of the South. Derek owned both continents, minus one key territory: Greenland. You see, Greenland was Phil's last stand, and while Derek attacked him there from Oiktaluk, I did too from both Iceland and Svalbard, denying Derek the potential (though never enjoyed) continental bonus and securing a powerful foothold in the continent, as well as gaining Phil's card (yes, he cashed in, though he couldn't use most of his bonus troops due to Risk II's reinforcement restrictions). I completed my Asia conquest and would have appreciated that massive boost to my forces had another turn come around. I also pushed Max and Derek's troops out of Africa, thus gaining that continent with minimal effort. I invaded Australia through Siam while Derek invaded from Argentina, and we completely annihilated Max, except for his holding in New Guinea.

The number of territories I held at the end was 28, the exact minimum for victory. My holding of three continents while Derek only had one and my superior numbers on all fronts guaranteed an ultimate victory, even if Derek put up a reasonable resistance. We decided to call it quits, justifying it by the number of territories held.

In spite of the overwhelming victory, it was a bit depressing winning so overwhelmingly. As I said, the game was in the winner's hand early on, and the last two turns were more of boring mop up action than fun (especially for my poor nephews, who were both messing around on their phones for much of the time while Derek and I pondered placement and moves). Still, I'm always glad to win, and the boys said they wanted to play me again while they're still in town. I hope we get to. I'll keep you all posted.

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doubleofive said:

Thanks to TableTop, Mrs. O'Five and I are getting more board games and the like.

I meant to ask: what games have you been trying out?  What have you enjoyed and what have you hated?  I always have enjoyed wargames, but I know there are plenty of other fun games out there.  I just don't get to try them out often enough.  Input from others is useful in figuring out which to pick up.

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I'm a nut for Catan as well but sadly I don't own a copy.   I just got Kittens in a Blender which is a fantastic (if twisted) little game.  

 

I just bought a copy of an old Avalon Hill game called 'Kingmaker' about the war of Roses but I've yet to play it.   

 

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darth_ender said:



doubleofive said:

Thanks to TableTop, Mrs. O'Five and I are getting more board games and the like.


I meant to ask: what games have you been trying out?  What have you enjoyed and what have you hated?  I always have enjoyed wargames, but I know there are plenty of other fun games out there.  I just don't get to try them out often enough.  Input from others is useful in figuring out which to pick up.
I can't recommend TableTop highly enough, as you can see how the games are played and decide if you like it, but some things we've got because of or in relation to it:

Ticket To Ride

Deceptively simple. You collect cards of matching colors to lay tracks, gaining more points for the longer routes and having the longest continuous train. the catch is that you have a set of goal routes to connect, say LA to Dallas, or San Francisco to New York City, or Dallas to Nashville. You draw three of those at the beginning of the game, and you're able to discard one if you don't think you can make it. Each turn you can either draw two colored train cards, place a route using your plastic trains, or draw three more route cards (you have to keep at least one). You get bonus points at the end of the game for each route card you've completed, but you lose that many points if you don't complete them. There's light strategy as you can can place trains anywhere on your turn, so if you see someone obviously trying to go for a route, you can block the easy way so they have to go around.

Zombie Dice

Another simple game. You roll three colored dice at a time. Each color has a different combination of brains, shotgun blasts, or footprints. Each brain scores you a point, you can reroll the dice with the footprints, and if you get three shotgun blasts, you lose the points you've gained that round. You kind of take risks and "bank" your points before you get shot too many times. Its a quick and easy game to fill time. I may have my players play it when I have to stop our D&D to set up the next battle...

Lords of Waterdeep

Speaking of D&D, this board game takes place in the same "world" as most of D&D, but its a resource collecting game. Instead of collecting wood or grain, you collect gold, wizards, rogues, fighters, and clerics by sending "agents" to different parts of the city each round. You "spend" the adventurers to turn in quest cards, which give you points, some of which give you bonuses for the rest of the game. The neat part is that at the beginning of the game you've each drawn a different Lord of Waterdeep (which fits into the mythos because no one knows who the Lords are, not even one another). Each Lord gets bonus points for particular types of quests you've completed, so the game score can change drastically at the end.

“Oh yeah. I’m a dummy.” - me

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Ah, I've played Ticket to Ride once.  I remember I lost very severely, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  That sounds like a worthwhile site, and I'll have to visit it frequently.  The others I've not heard of.  Recommendations are always fun, as it's easier to try something out when you've heard good things and watched a bit of the fun.

Kittens in a blender sounds quite twisted, Scotty.  Perhaps when you give Kingmaker a go, you can tell us what you think.

Do you like abstract strategy games?  There is a bit of software, perhaps overpriced, but enjoyable in many ways.  It's called Zillions of Games, a gaming engine that will allow it to play nearly any abstract game.  The games itself are programed with a simple language (which is still beyond me) by various programmers.  It comes with several of its own, but I've been able to use it to play numerous chess games including Klin Zha (Klingon chess, which is surprisingly fun), Jetan (xhonzi would be proud, as it's Martian chess in the Burroughs universe), and various others.  It's useful for testing your own games, and it has respectable AI, though I'd much prefer to use it with a human opponent.

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Any kid who grew up in the 1980s wet their pants when we saw the TV commercials for this:

 

The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

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Mouse Trap isn't actually that great a game. We had it our house but we mostly just played with the traps. In fact, I don't think I have every actually "played" Mouse Trap. I understand it is vaguely like Candy Land, which I actually played the heck out of.

The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

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The wife and I bought it, you collect cheese pieces, and when you get to a certain point you can add another piece to the trap, then you circle around the end and if someone lands under the trap you can spend cheese to set off the trap, but if it fails along the line you have to reset until the next person lands under it. Basically, the game is an excuse to build a Rube Goldberg machine.

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Yeah, it's weird that as a mouse your goal in the game is to actually get caught (and in real life, presumably die).

Also, more on topic, in response to Darth Ender's OP: does Risk have a bad rep? When I was growing up, no one really knew what it was, but people knew it was a bit nerdy. But any real nerd loved it. It's probably my favourite game. I don't think it is simplistic, as board games by their nature must be simplified to some degree for gameplay reasons; I remembered Risk being considered a thinking mans game, like chess, because of the strategy involved. I guess with stuff like Settlers of Cataan and the new "nerd chique" thing board games have evolved a bit, but that's like complaining that a film from 1957 (when Risk was invented) doesn't have the graphics (or colour!) and surround sound of Avengers. Like chess, it is sufficiently complex yet simple enough to learn that it needs no elaboration.

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The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

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zombie84 said:


Yeah, it's weird that as a mouse your goal in the game is to actually get caught (and in real life, presumably die).
The goal was to catch the other players before they caught you.

I've been putting off buying Settlers of Catan, mostly because its a 3+ player game and the Mrs and I usually play by ourselves. Now that we have friends who live in town, we'll be expanding our horizons.

I'm glad I put it off so I can get this:

http://mayfairgames.com/news.php?id=175

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Well, I guess this replaces the Pirates version as my favourite. If you come down to Toronto we have the 6 player expansion pack, which we traditionally play outside on a wooden crate with sangria after wednesday brunch. Hilarity ensues.

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The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

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zombie84 said:

Also, more on topic, in response to Darth Ender's OP: does Risk have a bad rep? When I was growing up, no one really knew what it was, but people knew it was a bit nerdy. But any real nerd loved it. It's probably my favourite game. I don't think it is simplistic, as board games by their nature must be simplified to some degree for gameplay reasons; I remembered Risk being considered a thinking mans game, like chess, because of the strategy involved. I guess with stuff like Settlers of Cataan and the new "nerd chique" thing board games have evolved a bit, but that's like complaining that a film from 1957 (when Risk was invented) doesn't have the graphics (or colour!) and surround sound of Avengers. Like chess, it is sufficiently complex yet simple enough to learn that it needs no elaboration.

I too love Risk.  However, on boardgamegeek.com where all the nerds are permitted to be snobs in their own niche, Risk is considered little more than a "gateway" wargame, only to be played while engaging in other "gateway" activities *cough pot cough*.  While I exaggerate, there is a surprising hostility towards the game, and even more complex but similar games like Axis and Allies are looked down upon.  If you are a serious gamer, you won't settle for anything less than Puerto Rico, Settlers, or some other Euro game where no one really loses.  If you're going to play a wargame, you have to play something much more complex, like War of the Ring, to be cool.  I have no problem with any of these games (actually, I've never played them, but they sound cool), but when folks look down on you for being a Risk fan, it annoys me.  Your analogy about 1957 films is wonderful.

Risk has had some interesting incarnations lately that I find intriguing.  A game that largely remains faithful to the original, yet updates it a tad is Risk (revised).  It's supposedly quicker (both in pace and in termination) and a bit more modern.  I own it, but I only play the simultaneous version I continue to allude to, so I've yet to see how cool this version is.  I also hear that Risk: Legacy is fantastic, and seems to have the highest marks in the series.  I hear the OT version of Star Wars Risk is very good as well, while the PT version is not so enjoyable (cue skyjedi2005).  And a game only released in Europe is called Risk: Balance of Power, a 2 player version that seems interesting.  Sadly, I've not tried this out either.  In spite of my love for board games, I don't get to play them nearly enough.

But I do love Risk, zombie84.  It's simplistic, yes, but what I love about it is the human interaction, the promises, the lies.  This is especially potent in the Same Time Risk I keep advocating.  If you check out Risk II on BGG.com, I encourage you to download the supplied materials and try it out (see OP for links).  It's still Risk...only better!

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I played Risk:Balance of Power a few years ago. Didn't realize it was a Europe-only thing. It was in english and came from a local store so I just assumed it was a common variation.  Maybe they imported it. From what I remember it was basically just a streamlined two-player version so you don't have to sit there for 3 hours if there is only two of you.

The Secret History of Star Wars -- now available on Amazon.com!

"When George went back and put new creatures into the original Star Wars, I find that disturbing. It’s a revision of history. That bothers me."

--James Cameron, Entertainment Weekly, April 2010

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So I've been playing simultaneous games of chess and shogi on this site, as I'm sure you've all noticed.  My chess partner isn't very interested in trying shogi, and my shogi partner loves it far more than chess.  I have to say that I love both games.  Chess to me has such a beautiful balance that I am amazed.  So many ranging pieces can be utilized together to create such amazing ballet-like combinations, it just astounds me.  And though many don't realize it (since they don't play shogi), the finite number of pieces forces combinations and sacrifices to be done with care.

On the other hand, I really love shogi.  Instead of great symmetry, it is extremely forward-directed.  The pieces are substantially weaker, making for a slower opening game.  But once armies begin to clash, it gets so exciting and difficult to anticipate.  Players make sacrifices with less concern, because sometimess those exchanges, though for a weaker piece, gain a useful move not available to a stronger piece (a gold general for a knight, for instance).  The difficulty of anticipating a player's possible drops makes the game so exciting, and yet a single mistake can turn the game around drastically.

Bottom line: players may advocate for one game or the other, but I can't help but love both games tremendously. 

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I suspect not too many are reading this thread, but it's fun for me.  Playing against Ric has reminded me of my love of shogi and its variants.  Too bad some of the software created to play several variants does not work on 64 bit operating systems.  I'm going to try Virtual Box to install XP, then put on some cool old software.

I should take the time to describe some shogi variants.  Chess has been a relatively static game.  It has indeed evolved, but really if you look at what is presumed to be the original game and what our game is now, there is not a whole lot of difference.  I encourage you to read the wiki page on the history of chess, which I won't bother linking to at the moment.  Basically the pawns move exactly the same minus the option for a two step first move (and with that loss goes en passant), the king moves the same minus the castling special move, the queen is the weakest of pieces, moving one space diagonally, and the bishops move one diagonally or one straight ahead.  Knights are identical, and so are rooks, minus the castling move.  Otherwise, the game is pretty much the same, with only two pieces substantially altered.  Many variants have sprung up over the years, but have never caught on.  But in Japan where a variant of that ancient chess mutated into shogi, that game then spawned a surprising number of popular variants, several larger, several smaller, but each interesting and creative.

I will probably write about more every so often, but for now I'll mention some small variants.

Judkins shogi - related very closely to Mini shogi, only slightly larger and including an additional piece, it is a simple, fast variant that gives each player only a single pawn and is otherwise comprised of pieces.  Yet in spite of the odd and open setup, it is no trivial game.  Games can last for several turns.  It is faster paced than regular shogi, and obviously shorter, but it's a nice, light game when one just wants to get right into the action.

Mini shogi - Very similar to the above game, but smaller board and minus the knight.  It's a good game, perhaps slightly more enjoyable than Judkins simply because of positioning, but it's difficult to compare such similar games.  It's nice to just try both and see their slight differences and merits.

Goro goro shogi - I've never actually played this game.  On a 5x6 board, it's set up for immediate pawn exchanges and drops.  It has no rook, bishop, or knight, so all the pieces are short range--probably better for such a small board.  I'm interested to see how it plays out.

Kyoto Shogi - This 5x5 game is the most challenging of all the small shogi variants, in my opinion.  Each piece other than the king promotes, but not upon reaching a promotion zone.  Each move simply reverses the face of each piece.  For instance, you start with several pieces, including a pawn.  When you move it once, it immediately promotes to a rook.  But once you move it again, it turns back into a pawn.  This makes it truly difficult for me to plan for moves, because once I put a piece in a strategic place, it turns into something different and possibly less useful.  I'd have to move it again to make it do what I originally wanted.  So you really have to be familiar with both faces of each face and really try to anticipate the effects of each move far more.  Drops are free, in that you can drop a piece anywhere without any restrictions, even dropping a piece where it can no longer move, and you can drop it with either face up.  I struggled to try to enjoy this against a computer opponent that could easily remember the opposite faces of each piece, but I imagine I'll fare much better against a human and actually might like the game a bit more.

Micro shogi (sometimes called 5 minute Poppy shogi)- Now this is both challenging and fun.  At 4x5, it truly is a tiny game, yet it is amazingly complex for its size.  Its pieces alternately promote and demote like the kyoto shogi, but not every move.  Rather they promote and demote when the piece captures.  This allows you to position your pieces without them always changing.  Plus, the promotions and demotions seem to be more logical, keeping powerful pieces together, such as the gold general and rook.  So once your piece turns to its lesser value, it doesn't necessarily become near-worthless, like the pawn/rook of Kyoto shogi.  This is probably my favorite of the small variants.

That's all I'll cover for now.  There are many more, but it took me a while just to make this post, so I'll do the rest in a separate post.

I will cover some more small variants very soon, and then I'll move on to larger variants.

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It's interesting how Chu Shogi (played on a 12x12 board) was once considered a medium-sized game of Shogi. Now what we call Shogi is played on a 9x9 board and there are variants as small as 3x3. There are variants as large as 25x25, if not bigger, but those are far less common than small games.

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