Original by Kaga Tetsuko
Revised by inumako
There are two significant differences in Shougi that no other board game has i.e. Promotion and Paratroops. Let me explain the 1st one, Shougi board is divided into 2 imaginary regions, yours and your opponent's. When you start the game you arrange your men into 3 ranks, the line on Pawns rank is called promotion lines. When your pieces get to the other side of the far promotion line, or when his pieces get to your side of the near promotion line, those pieces can be "promoted," that is, they will change into Gold. Most pieces will merely change into Gold and lose their original nature when they get promoted. However, there is an exception for Bishop and Rook that when they get promoted, they will keep their basic role and added with Gold's role. So you always promote Rook and Bishop when you can, because you lose nothing and their power increase. With the other pieces you must consider before promoting them whether it will be more useful to have a new Gold than to have the piece in its original role.
Next is my fave, Paratroops. This is the "drop"-a sort of paratroop attack. When you capture an enemy, it is not dead. It becomes yours and you keep it by the side of the board. Any time, instead of a move, you can drop one of these captured men on any vacant square. The piece now points towards the enemy, and it is your piece and works for you. So you're not only concentrating to the pieces on the board but you should also remember the captured pieces. That's why I think Shougi has so much fun!
Shougi is well organized in Japan today, and has an accumulated documentation, including an excellent book in English entitled SHOUGI Japan's Game of Strategy by Trevor Legget and published by Tuttle. Please buy the book for the sake of Shougi! however, maybe it's a bit difficult for commoners to recon the pieces in its original version b'coz they are written in Kanji, yet you can find the English 'sub-titled' pawns on store nowadays. Goodluck, and may you find the same pleasure as i do ^_^