Cubic Shogi

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Cubic Shogi
a b c d e f g h
b8 black knight
c8 black bishop
d8 black queen
e8 black king
f8 black queen
g8 black knight
b7 black rook
g7 black bishop
a6 black pawn
b6 black pawn
c6 black pawn
d6 black pawn
e6 black pawn
f6 black pawn
g6 black pawn
h6 black pawn
a3 white pawn
b3 white pawn
c3 white pawn
d3 white pawn
e3 white pawn
f3 white pawn
g3 white pawn
h3 white pawn
b2 white bishop
g2 white rook
b1 white knight
c1 white queen
d1 white king
e1 white queen
f1 white bishop
g1 white knight
7 7
6 6
5 5
4 4
3 3
2 2
1 1
a b c d e f g h
Cubic Shogi starting position. For this diagram, generals are represented by queens.
Designer(s) Vladimír Pribylinec
Genre(s) Abstract strategy game
Shogi variant
Players 2
Setup time ~1 min.
Playing time Casual games usually 10–60 mins.
Random chance None
Skill(s) required Strategy, tactics

Cubic Shogi is a shogi variant invented by Vladimír Pribylinec starting in 2000.[1] The game developed from an early version of chess variant Echos in 1977, leading to Cubic Chess, then later to Cubic Shogi. The game substitutes cubes for the chess pieces, where the six faces of each cube display a different chess piece (pawn, knight, bishop, rook, general, and king). This provides an efficient means (rotating the cube on a square) to change a piece's type.

A major tenet of Cubic Shogi is simplification without radical changes, while maintaining good gameplay. The variant Heian šogi with playing board 8×8 or 9×8 is the only shogi variant somewhat similar to Cubic Shogi; other variants are larger or smaller, have new units, or lack drops.

Game rules[edit]

Instead of the classical figures, cubes are used to separately show king, rook, bishop, knight, general, and pawn symbols on each cube face. The current uppermost symbol determines a piece's type. The game is played on an 8×8 board, where the furthest three ranks from each player is their promotion zone. The starting setup is as shown. Pieces capture the same as they move.



The king steps one square in any direction, orthogonal or diagonal. The king does not promote.

       ○   ○   ○ 
       ○   K   ○ 
       ○   ○   ○


The rook moves any number of unoccupied squares along any of the four orthogonal directions. A rook, that moves or is dropped to the promotion zone, obtains immediately an extension one square diagonally.

           │                                              │                                                    │
           │                                            o │ o                                                  │
      ———— R ————          after promotion           ———— ER ————         outside of promotion zone       ———— R ————       
           │                                            o │ o                                                  │
           │                                              │                                                    │


The bishop moves any number of unoccupied squares along any of the four diagonal directions. A bishop that moves or is dropped into the promotion zone obtains immediately an extension one square ortogonally.

       \       /                                    \       /                                           \       /
         \   /                                        \ ° /                                               \   /
            B              after promotion             ° EB  °            outside of promotion zone            B
         /   \                                        / ° \                                               /   \
       /       \                                    /       \                                           /       \


The general steps one square in one of the four orthogonal directions, or one square diagonally forward. (Six possibilities.) The general does not promote.

       ○   ○   ○                                               ○   ○   ○
       ○   G   ○            in the promotion zone              ○   G   ○
           ○                                                       ○


The knight jumps at an angle intermediate to orthogonal and diagonal, equivalent to: one square orthogonally forward, then one square diagonally forward, in a single move. (So, a choice of two forward destinations.) The knight leaps over any intervening men. The Cubic Shogi knight has an additional extension: it can also move one square orthogonally to the side. A knight that moves into the promotion zone (but is not dropped in) is immediately promoted to general.

       ☆       ☆                                              ○   ○   ○
       ☆   N   ☆              after promotion                 ○   G   ○     


The pawn steps one square forward. A pawn that moves (but is not dropped) into the promotion zone is immediately promoted to general.

           o                                                   ○   ○   ○
                               after promotion                 ○   G   ○ 
           P                                                       ○


A player's promotion zone consists of the three farthest ranks (that is, the territory behind an opponent's pawns at setup). If a player's man crosses into its promotion zone, the player immediately promotes the man at the end of the turn. The king and general cannot promote. A pawn and the knight, after entering into the promotion zone instantly turns into a general by rotating its cube. After drop from the stack are they not promoted instantly, but even if they does move. A rook promotes to extended rook, the bishop promotes to extended bishop. A rook and a bishop dropped from the reservoir into the promotion zone are promoted immediately. After the move out of the promotion zone a rook and a bishop lose its extended move, and move as a rook and bishop on the starting position.


Each player owns a stack for staging captured men, which start the game holding two white and two black pawns, respectively. When a man is captured, it is transferred to the stack of the capturer, and to his color, while preserving the type of piece at the time of capture. This is achieved by rotating a pawn in the capturer's stack to the piece type of the captured man. Last, the physical cube captured is rotated to 'pawn' and added to the stack of the player whose piece was captured. The pawns opposite colors cannot be mixed up symbol, so pawn removed from the chessboard is eliminated from the game — as well as unit, when the stack is not a substitution for the pawn. A player whose turn it is to move may either move a man on the chessboard, or drop any man from his stack on any vacant square, but a pawn may not be dropped on a file already containing a pawn of the same color.

Check and checkmate[edit]

Check, checkmate, and draws follow the same conditions as in classical chess. However, it is not permitted to give perpetual check in Cubic Shogi. A game can end in two additional (although uncommon) ways – by repetition or impasse .

  1. Repetition: If the same position occurs three times with the same player to move, then the game is a draw. (Recall, however, the prohibition against giving perpetual check.)
  2. Impasse: The game might reach an impasse if kings are advanced into their respective promotion zones and neither player has any hope of mating the other; or, if there is no chance of gaining any further material.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pritchard (2007), p. 260


External links[edit]