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An internationalized but non-westernized shogi set
CouchTomato (1053) 2019-06-18 08:38
Hi everyone! I've been working on a new internationalized shogi set... I've always admired Hidetchi's set because of its beauty, simplicity, and how well it demonstrates movement. However, a number of players do not like such sets because of the westernized feeling, that using such pieces try too much to be like chess and lose what it is to be shogi.

So my goal is to create something in between, something that does what Hidetchi's set does, but does not rely on European-style chess pieces when possible (for example all the Catholic references).

Here is a picture of one of the set in plastic form (as opposed to wooden form): https://i.imgtc.ws/cRH55Gg.png

And here is an explanation of the set: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ot5l0ja3u7fk3r9/Internationalized%20Shogi.pdf?dl=0

Any feedback is appreciated! 
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25: nexxogen (1424) 2020-10-16 19:22
@ Ledung

Well, the two-kanji pieces can be a problem, this I agree with. I learned shogi with one-kanji pieces and once I was able to recognize those, the two-kanji ones weren't a problem anymore, because I could just look at the top one. But this is still within the kanji realm, and a very good step forward, rather than a step in a wrong direction which is what learning westernized pieces is, as it won't help you recognize kanji pieces later.

Imagine if someone asked you to start playing chess with pieces like this from now on: https://i.imgur.com/CVZUzCZ.png. I'm sure you'd be extremely annoyed and reluctant to give up on what you have become familiar with.

@ CouchTomato

Being a single digit kyu isn't really all that impressive. I guess starting from 3rd kyu and up you could say that the players have gained some strength beyond being pure beginners. But if you're 8th or 9th kyu, you're still very much a beginner. So I don't think that the fact that those people you mentioned are single-digit kyu players is very relevant. 

On the contrary, it is precisely the players at about that level that get super interested in stuff like chu-shogi, tori-shogi, maka-dai-dai shogi, westernized piece sets, and anything and everything except plain old shogi. You can see it if you scroll through the topics on this very forum. How about trying to focus on regular shogi a bit, get better at the game up to a point where you're qualified to teach someone, and then worry about all of those other things? Although I would argue that people who get to that level also understand the game well enough to know what is actually important in it, which is why you won't see many 1-Dan or higher maka-dai-dai shogi enthusiasts and alternative piece set promoters.
24: Ledung (1094) ☗0☗2☗12020-09-13 02:36
>>18  nexxogen

I have taught Shogi to some people but I have always used the 2 character Kanji traditional pieces so far (which was unproblematic once I got people to try it, but some people refused to try it because it "looked too hard"). I will try the shogi.cz set that I acquired recently, but there hasn't been much over the board play lately with the coronavirus restrictions. It is just a theory that it will be more successful, maybe it was just a waste of money.
23: captbirdseye (700) 2020-08-20 00:04 (Edited at 2020-08-20 04:06)
>>21  wmaynard

You have it exactly right!Three very short observations:

 > In my experience, if players can't be bothered to recognize a few kanji, they don't possess the patience required to enjoy or appreciate a game like shogi.

Spot on!

> Shogi is also extremely rooted in Japanese culture.  It's more or less a form of art, so I personally believe using anything other than the traditional pieces does a disservice to shogi.

How I wish that I had said that! A very neat summing up - in one sentence.

> ...the most helpful thing in teaching the pieces to new players is to have a marked set of pieces with movement on them...

I call these 'hybrid' pieces. They are very good! The pieces available from shogi.cz seem to fill the bill rather nicely.

22: captbirdseye (700) 2020-08-19 23:54 (Edited at 2020-08-20 00:09)
>>18  nexxogen

> He isn't a troll. He's a bit too involved with this topic for some reason, but he actually created a whole bunch of great shogi educational material and gave it away for free. And you didn't refute his points.

I only read this forum every 4-6 weeks, and I missed your comments 1st time around. They deserve a response. Here it is - I'll keep it brief.

I don't like alternative Shogi pieces. I never have, and I never will. I have always said so, and I will continue to do so.

The example under discussion here is a particularly irritating example of the genre, if only because when it was launched (in another Shogi forum) it was accompanied by a long, self-congratulatory, pretentious, patronising and inaccurate piece of bullshit.
Briefly, it is a poor copy of a poor Shogi piece set and the bullshit is little more than an attempt to disguise the fact that it is a piece of blatant plagiarism. These things are amazingly persistent. After it's relaunch here, this disaster has been copied by yet another wannabee, and launched on yet another Shogi forum. So, we now have:

(1) a poor Shogi set
(2) a poor copy of said Shogi set, and 
(3) a poor copy of the poor copy of the poor Shogi set. 

Give me strength...
21: wmaynard (1853) ☗2☗4☗52020-07-27 07:01
Despite the bickering in this thread, I want to provide my feedback to the original post...

In my experience, if players can't be bothered to recognize a few kanji, they don't possess the patience required to enjoy or appreciate a game like shogi.  Not everyone is suited for old-fashioned strategy games, and that's fine, but it serves as a kind of filter.

Shogi and other chess variants are difficult, complex games.  Learning the pieces is a completely trivial task compared to actually learning and practicing the strategy.  Besides, we already have dobutsu shogi to introduce people (children) into the game and make it easier to approach.

I appreciate that you (CouchTomato) have a passion for the game and want to bring it to more people.  I like your chosen icons, too.  I just don't think it's the "missing piece" the West needs to get into the game; it's a negligible barrier, really.  The lack of non-Japanese learning materials and low publicity are far more important factors to address.

Shogi is also extremely rooted in Japanese culture.  It's more or less a form of art, so I personally believe using anything other than the traditional pieces does a disservice to shogi.

I think that making a set of your own would be a fun project and I would want to see the results!  I just think that if you use your set to teach, you should also push people to traditional pieces sooner rather than later.  After a few games with non-standard pieces, once people have a grip on the game, I would push them to kanji.

All of that said, I run a shogi club, and the most helpful thing in teaching the pieces to new players is to have a marked set of pieces with movement on them, with the move indicators around the perimeter of the piece.  That way, they don't need to continually ask how pieces move, or look at the reference sheet I hand out.  Dots, lines for ranging pieces, and two splitting arrows for the kei... it might be a nice addition to your pieces.
20: captbirdseye (700) 2020-07-16 02:55 (Edited at 2020-07-16 03:06)
>>19  CouchTomato

> ...As to your second point, I refuted them on Reddit already...

No you didn't. (I summarise:) You continued to insist that there were no international standard Shogi pieces, despite at least three people pointing out that there were. It was only after several exchanges that you reluctantly conceded the point, so let's not have any nonsense from you about other people ignoring having their mistakes pointed out to them.

I might also add that I regard being called a pompous ass and a troll by folks such as yourself as praise of the highest order (and as excruciatingly funny at one and the same time, if that's possible). Thank you.

As for unprompted postings - this is, as far as I'm aware, an open forum - open to anyone to post at any time, and I'll continue to do so. If you don't like it, don't read it.

19: CouchTomato (1053) 2020-06-26 08:43
@ Nexxogen

I know your first point was addressed to Ledung, but I know at least two people that fit that description (both are single-digit kyu players here). As to your second point, I refuted them on Reddit already, which he continuously ignored. And I'm aware of his shogi material. But doing great work doesn't give you the right to be a pompous ass.
18: nexxogen (1424) 2020-06-25 20:00
@ Ledung

How many examples do you know of people who started learning shogi with westernized pieces, stuck with it and then switched to traditional kanji and continued playing?

@ CouchTomato

He isn't a troll. He's a bit too involved with this topic for some reason, but he actually created a whole bunch of great shogi educational material and gave it away for free. And you didn't refute his points.
17: CouchTomato (1053) 2020-06-05 06:25
I don't attempt to refute your points because 1) I already have before, and 2) there is no point in arguing with a troll. And you, who continues to post unprompted a year after this post was created, are a classic troll.
16: captbirdseye (700) 2020-06-04 13:37 (Edited at 2020-06-05 03:17)
>>15  CouchTomato

> If anyone wanted to know what it would be like if Donald Trump played shogi, we have exhibit A below, 
> replete with narcissistic and fact-twisting rants. Only thing missing is the Twitter handle.

Good morning! Welcome back! So nice to hear from you again...

Vulgar abuse eh? Oh goodie - I seem to have struck bone.

If Donald Trump played Shogi, he would probably be attempting to distract the other player(s) from the real issues by inventing faux-Shogi pieces - rather like your good self. You and he are very similar in that respect. Congratulations - it must be very flattering to be compared favourably with one of the world's great statesmen...

I notice however, that you don't attempt to refute the point(s) I make.

I challenge you once again to reconcile those genuine comments with your own twisted, warped point of view - based on the chagrin you must be feeling at the low take-up of your toy Shogi pieces. 

I don't know about narcissistic, but some people might consider that your own assumption that folks find kanji difficult to learn is damn patronising. They might also regard your attempts to fix something which ain't broke, and then to hawk it around complete with self-congratulatory bullshit as just a tad narcissistic?

The difference between you and me my friend is that I believe that 99.9% of folks are more than capable of learning a few strange symbols, and are willing, eager and committed enough to do so, while you just don't - for whatever reason - a deluded belief in your own superiority to the rest of the human race, I suppose. Or, to put it another way, a deluded belief that the rest of the human race are inferior to yourself. Another character trait you seem to share with Trump.

I also believe that far more people are put off Shogi by these foolish joke Shogi pieces than are put off by the difficulty involved in learning a few strange symbols. I've always said so, and I will continue to do so.

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