An hybrid between Shōgi and Tetris? An automatic tsume generator? Or a family transposition of Shogi? Extreme Shōgi is all this: let’s see together the result of this interesting mix of game designs.

Extreme Shōgi (エクストリーム将棋), published in 2020 by Jelly Jelly Games, is a competitive game for two players, with a duration of about 15 minutes per game, that mixes in an original way the Shōgi with mechanics of secret deployment, card draw and modular generation of the game board, introducing an asymmetry of factions in a game that, in its orthodox version, is perfectly symmetrical.

The game system

The game system of Extreme Shōgi is very simple. The first peculiarity is that in the game there is not an authentic shogiban (= shogi chessboard) but a modular section of it. In fact, at the beginning of the game, players randomly draw one card each from a special deck: the two cards will indicate which modules of the shogiban to compose in order to create a game board. It should also be noted that the shogiban modules have irregular shapes, fitting together like Tetris shapes, and thus forming a shogiban section that is itself irregular. The irregularity of the shogiban section thus obtained symbolises, in abstraction, lines of movement that are inhibited or prohibited, reproducing the complexity of an endgame.

After composing the section of shogiban, players draw one card each from a second deck of six cards: each card indicates a causal combination of five koma (= pieces of the shogi) that the player may dispose of during the game. The five koma always include a king surrounded by four pieces to be used in defence or attack. Much care has been taken in the distribution of the koma across the six cards in the deck, resulting in a good balance of factions.

Once the modular shogiban has been created and the koma have been distributed to the players, a divider screen is placed on the central division line of the shogiban, allowing each player to secretly place their own koma on their half of the field. This phase is extremely important as each player will have to try to predict his opponent’s intentions based on the set of koma that have been drawn.

Once the secret deployment phase is over, the divider screen is removed and the game begins.

From this stage onwards the game is played according to the usual rules of shogi, thus including the rule of promotion and dropping.

Naturally the aim of each player is to checkmate the opponent’s king. For each checkmate suffered, the player loses one life of the three he initially has available. The player who manages to make his opponent lose three lives wins the game.

Game components

The game includes:

  • 10 shogiban modules
  • a divider screen
  • 16 cards
  • 19 plastic koma
  • 6 life markers

The game materials are of excellent quality. The cardboard used for the divider screen and the shogiban modules is comparable in thickness to Caverna tiles, just to give an example. The cards are also of good weight. The komas are made of well-made plastic and are pleasant to the touch.

It has to be said, if you want to find a nitpick, that the koma do not have their classic forward tilt, so they are flat, but this does not compromise the game in any way (even if shogi purists might turn up their nose at this aesthetic defiance).


Extreme Shōgi is an abstract game that belongs to the category of fillers (= games with simple rules and short duration). It is easy to play and it is explained very quickly, being immediately accessible to everyone. Because of these characteristics Extreme Shōgi can be considered an excellent introduction to shōgi: you can use it as a propaedeutic to shōgi to teach the movements of koma and to learn the kanji that distinguish them. But not only for beginners: Extreme Shōgi can be pleasant to play also for players who already play shōgi since, after all, Extreme Shōgi is an automatic generator of tsume and hisshi (i.e. checkmate or pre-checkmate problems).

The variability of the board, the random distribution of the koma and the secret deployment of the same guarantee a high variation of the games and an excellent replayability, allowing also non trivial strategic evaluations.


If you need to teach shōgi in a fast and fun way or if you want to practice tsume and hisshi, this is the game for you. You can play it with your children, with shōgi laymen, or even with your more experienced friends: the fast and tight games of Extreme Shōgi will allow you to familiarize yourself with some fundamental shōgi techniques and will allow you to start breathing the atmosphere, the history and the tradition that are infused in the ancient “Game of the Generals”.