To those who play this strategy, or notice other players preferring this strategy, what has motivated you to learn this strategy?
And why do you think this is so popular?
I mean no offense, as I mostly only play 2 or 3 openings regularly, but I'm wondering about the ranging mino openings specifically.
My guess would be because it's a reasonably straight-forward strategy to learn, especially for those coming from chess. There's not really any specific "book" lines or tricky exchange combinations to remember (I'm thinking like bishop exchange openings), and as far as I know, there's not any rapid attack that can easily rip it apart before the king is castled. So it's a safe bet, more or less.
Also, when I was a beginner (not that I'm a pro or anything now lmao), I remember almost all of the English literature about shogi strategy mostly covered mino, sometimes the boat castle, and honestly that's about it. If you wanted to learn more, you had to dip your toes into the Japanese side of the internet, and even then, it was hard to find or understand what you were looking at.
As a new player still trying to beat the lowest level AIs, 4th file rook simply seemed easy to protect against bishop exchange while allowing the bishop to do something else. The AI always catches me with drops, so I don't want him having a bishop in hand.
As for mino, probably because it's covered a lot in tutorials and openings and it's fast to make. When I fire up a game, I know in advance I'm going to lose, so why spend all that time making fancy castles.
Also, the AI doesn't seem to have much respect for your castling efforts. Against humans you can have a sort of a silent agreement to just castle in peace. But then, if you grew up doing mino against the AI, perhaps it's natural to do the same against humans as well. And, as a starting player here, the AI is the only thing to play against.
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