Twenty years ago, I was a Japanophile. I ate a ton of teriyaki (with chopsticks), I watched a lot of anime, and I read a ton of manga. At the time, I was much more a role-player than a boardgamer, but I still had a fascination with good board games.
In Seattle, there is a store called Uwajimaya. It's a Japanese grocery with a couple of local branches. The one in Seattle also includes a Kinokuniya Bookstore, and during one visit, I wandered out of the manga section and found a magnetic travel copy of Shogi. It was hidden in and amongst several much more expensive sets, but I still found it. I grabbed it and a copy of Shogi for Beginners, and called it good.
I puzzled over it for months, but didn't manage to get a game in for a while. Not until my college fencing partner turned out to be a Shogi player, and spent some time going over the game and some of its strategies with me. I was still never any good at it, but at least I started to figure out why I was losing so badly.
One of the distinctive features of the game is that the pieces are double-sided, and some pieces which reach a certain part of the board may promote themselves to a different piece which then moves differently.
Then, about ten years ago, I encountered Navia Dratp. It was a collectible chess-like game, and each piece had a different movement pattern again. And, in a clearly Shogi-influenced way, most pieces had the ability to promote themselves. And, if you could promote your King (called the "Navia" in this one), you won. The game was good. I bought a ton of the base game and its boosters. Then it went idle for close to a year before the expansion came out. I never bought any of the expansion boosters.
This year while at GenCon, I saw wooden pieces moving on a wooden board. The pieces were square, but the movement reminded me a great deal of Shogi - in part because they kept flipping over. I asked what the game was, and was told it was a new game from Catalyst Game Labs called The Duke. It had apparently been Kickstarted, and I had missed it.
But I had to try it. So I did. And I liked it. A lot. Because it reminded me of both Shogi and Navia Dratp, two games that I very much loved. But you don't have to just take my word for it, either - Catalyst has made it available for download as a print & play game on their website.
I've ordered it from my FLGS (I didn't buy as many games at GenCon this year, because I made a conscious decision to support my FLGS instead), but it hasn't arrived, yet. When it gets here, I very much hope that Stephanie enjoys it as much as I do.