Yōkaï no Mori contains two simpler versions of Shōgi to introduce the game to new players and youngsters.
In ''Dōbutsu Shōgi, which means "animal shogi", each player has 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 opposite side of the game board. The board is just 3×4 squares, so the game is rather short. As for how to play:
- The giraffe moves one space orthogonally.
- The elephant moves one space diagonally.
- The chick is directly analogous to the pawn/soldier of Shōgi and can be promoted to a full-grown chicken, equivalent to the gold general in Shogi.
- The lion is analogous to a king in Chess, except that he can win through promotion as long as it doesn't leave him in check.
- Even on this 3×4 board, you are still able to drop in pieces that you captured from your opponent!
- Unlike in Shōgi, you can drop a chick for mate or have two chicks in a column.
Goro-Goro Dōbutsu Shōgi has a larger 5×6 game board with each player having eight pieces (3 chicks, 2 giraffes, 2 elephants and 1 lion). The game also adds more rules from the full Shōgi game, in particular:
- You win only by capturing your opponent's lion, not by reaching the opposite side of the game board.
- You can't have two of your own chicks in the same column/file.
- You can't drop a chick for mate.
The Japan Shogi Association created the rules for Goro-Goro Dōbutsu Shōgi in order for players to learn important concepts in Shōgi, such as how to handle the generals effectively, why pawn promotion is so important, and how to mate the opponent's king with successive piece drops.