Shogi vs. Go: Which Game to Choose?

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Shogi and Go are both extremely popular board games that have their roots in Asia, something that we will discuss in greater detail further below. Both of these games are fairly difficult strategy games, and many people would compare them to chess (with Shogi being more like chess than Go, something else we will discuss further below).

That said, they aren’t the same game and there are some main differences that you need to know about. Let’s take a look at both the similarities and differences between Shogi and Go.

Shogi vs. Go: Which Game to Choose?

Similarities of Shogi and Go

First off, let’s figure out what the similarities between these two board games are. Surprisingly enough, there are actually quite a few of them.

1. Both Can Be Played by Adults of All Skill Levels

Right off the bat, what we can say here is that both of these games are ideal for adults of mostly all skill levels. Although both of these games are said to be extremely hard to master, their basic rules are easy to learn, thus making them ideal games for adults who have some time to spare. Both games are really fun and strategy-heavy, thus making them ideal for adults who like to put their brains to use.

2. Neither Is Ideal for Children

Although both of these games are very fun, the fact of the matter is that they can be quite difficult. The simple reality here is that both games are probably too difficult for very young children to master. Both Go and Shogi have a whole lot of rules and intricacies that you need to be aware of. Although an adult with a good brain between their ears can learn both games easily enough, a young child is probably not going to understand what is going on with either of them. They really just aren’t children’s games at all.

3. Both Games Are Very Strategy Heavy

One thing that is definitely true about both of these games is that they are extremely heavy in strategy. In fact, this is all that both of these games are, strategy and tactics. Both games are set to have their origins in war, or in other words, they are related to battlefield tactics. If you like games that are very fun and relaxed, don’t involve much strategy, and are generally luck-based, then neither of these games are going to be ideal for you.

Go Board

4. Both Are Board Games with Pieces, But No Cards or Dice

The very basic similarity that both of these board games feature is that they have simple boards that feature grids along with various pieces that are moved around or placed on the board. Neither of these games uses dice or cards.

5. Both Games Are Strictly Two-Player

Another very basic similarity that both of these games feature is that they are both strictly two-player. We suppose that technically speaking, you could play both games in two teams of two, but this would mean that teams would have to take turns between both players, and when it comes to strategy, that’s not really feasible.

6. Both Are Extremely Old Games

The other similarity between these two games is that they are both very old. Go is said to be about 2,500 years old and Shogi is at least 600 years old.

Differences Between Shogi and Go

There are many similarities between both of these games, but with that said, there are also some major differences that you need to be aware of. When it comes down to it, these differences are going to be the factors that decide which of these games is best for you.

1. Different Pieces

In terms of the game pieces, in Shogi, the pieces are more or less the same as chess pieces. The basic pieces you get in Shogi include a king, a rook, a bishop, two gold generals, two silver generals, two knights, two lances, and nine pawns. Just like in chess, each of these pieces moves in specific ways.

On the other hand, the pieces in the game of Go are more like the pieces in checkers. The pieces just look like little stones or rocks, and they’re all the same. One player has white rocks, and the other player has black rocks. Something that we will touch on further below is the fact that in the game of Go, once a piece is laid on the board, it can no longer be moved unless it is captured.

2. Different Boards

Another major difference here is that the Shogi board features a grid that is 9 by 9 squares, whereas the Go board features a grid that is generally 19 by 19 squares. That said, there are also smaller options, including 13 by 13 and 9 by 9 Go boards.

3. Different Origins

Shogi is about 500 or 600 years old and it has its origins in Japan. On the other hand, Go has its origins in China and is said to be about 2,500 years old.


4. Different Rules

OK, so to be honest there are way too many rules in both of these games for us to do a side-by-side comparison of the full gameplay and all of those rules. However, if we were to compare the rules of the two games, you could say that Shogi is very similar to chess, whereas Go is something quite different.

For instance, in Shogi, all of the pieces move more or less like chess pieces do. On the other hand, in the game of Go, players put their pieces down on the board, and once those pieces are on the board, they do not move anymore. Although both are strategy heavy games, the rules and the end goals are both quite different.

5. Different End Goals

Of course, the biggest difference between these two games is what the end goals are. In Go, the main goals are to capture as much territory as possible and to capture the pieces of your enemy. Shogi, on the other hand, as mentioned several times now, is very similar to chess, and yes, the main goal here is to checkmate the king.

Shogi vs. Go: Which Game to Choose?

It’s really difficult for us to tell you which of these games is best for you, because when it comes down to it, both are fairly difficult strategy games, with neither being ideal for children. If you like very strategy-heavy games that are going to require you to have a whole lot of brainpower, then we can recommend both of these games.

Now, with that being said, if you would like to start with something that is a bit more familiar to you, then you might want to start with Shogi, as it is very similar to chess. Shogi is probably the simpler game to learn, and if there is one game that is better for children than the other, it is Shogi, and it’s all because of the similarity with the Western game of chess.


If you want to try some new games, something exciting that you have never seen before, and you really like strategy games, then we recommend checking out both Go and Shogi.