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Let's Catch the Lion (Dobutsu Shogi)



Category Board, War, Replacement, Eliminate, Target


Let's Catch the Lion is a simple version of Shogi. Both players have only four pieces – chick, giraffe, elephant and lion – and they're trying to either catch the opponent's lion or move their own lion to the other side. The board is just 3×4 squares, so the game is rather short, aimed mostly at getting children interested in Shogi – but even if you're an adult, the game is enjoyable.


Each player starts the game with four pieces:

- a Lion (king) in the center of the home row
- a Giraffe (rook) to the right of the king
- an Elephant (bishop) to the left of the king
- a Chick (pawn) in front of the king

Each piece moves as in standard shogi, but is limited to moving one square per turn. If the Chick advances to reach the final rank, it promotes to a Hen, which can move one square any way except diagonally backwards (like the gold general in shogi).

As in shogi, if a Hen is captured, it may only be dropped back into play as a Chick. However, standard restrictions on where one may drop a Chick, such as not being allowed to give immediate checkmate, have two Chicks on a file, or drop the Chick on the final rank, do not apply. A chick dropped on the final rank, however, does not promote (and may make no further moves until it is recaptured).

If the players play the same position three turns in a row, the game is a draw.


Madoka Kitao



Creation date


Ludeme Description

Let's Catch the Lion.lud


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lkjh Maastricht University Data Science and Knowledge Engineering (DKE), Paul-Henri Spaaklaan 1, 6229 EN Maastricht, Netherlands Funded by a €2m ERC Consolidator Grant (#771292) from the European Research Council