After being at Draughts a couple of weeks ago and being far more interested in what the couple next to me were playing than my own group, after some digging I discovered it was Shobu and given how up my alley it looked, naturally I bought a set. The two I watched playing were utterly engrossed, and I don’t remember them saying a single thing for the whole hour we were there, seemingly fully entranced by the stones in front of them. I got round to playing it myself for the first time last night and it’s my new favourite thing. It is very similar to chess in the sense that it’s a two player strategy game where each player controls 16 pieces on an 8x8 board, but that large board is split up into 4 4x4 quadrants which effectively divides the battle into four separate skirmish, where if any single one is lost than that players loses entirely. It provokes intense concentration, and once my friend and I had the hang of the rules, we quickly fell into silence as we tried to calculate as best as possible in lieu of conversation.
Stretching my brain with a new but familiar challenge was a lot of fun, now I just need to try and find some more people to play with me.