Let's Catch the Lion: young version of the ancient Japanese game shogi

The Japanese game of shogi is an ancient game of strategy and planning, similar to chess. And like chess, with a little effort, anyone can learn to play but becoming proficient takes decades of experience and study. Let's Catch the Lion aims to make the learning process a little bit easier.

Let's Catch the Lion replaces the standard kanji-labelled chips with large, sturdy, square wooden blocks. Each block is printed with an animal as well as a set of helpful red circles indicating permitted moves. The standard shogi board is also replaced with a much smaller one (3 squares by 4 squares), likewise printed with friendly animals.

The one caveat is that the provided instructions are all in Japanese. However, by reading a standard set of shoji rules (like those listed on Wikipedia) and studying the plentiful illustrations included in the rules booklet, non-Japanese speaking players can easily learn to set-up and play this most basic version of this most challenging game. And, once this set is mastered, Gentosha offers three more sets, each a little more complex than the one before it. – Joel Neff