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The Rules of Tigers & Goats

The ancient game of Tigers and Goats is the national game of Nepal where it is known as Bagha Chal.



The game of Tigers and Goats is played on a special board of 5 x 5 points connected orthogonally to form a grid. There are also diagonal lines from corner to corner and diagonal lines connecting the midpoint on each side to the adjacent side's midpoints.

Bagha Chal is a two-player game of uneven sides and is played with two pieces representing a tiger and 20 pieces representing goats.


Preparation and Objective

Flip a coin to decide who player will play tigers for the first game. The board starts with the 4 tigers on the corner points and no goats on the board.

The objective of the tigers is to capture 5 goats. The objective of the goats is to hem the tigers in so that they cannot move.



Players take turns to play and goats start. The game has two phases - in the first phase, the goats are put onto the board. Once all goats have been played to the board, the second phase starts in which the goats are moved.

When it is the tiger's turn, the player may move 1 tiger along any line to an adjacent point or, if possible, the player may hop 1 tiger over 1 adjacent goat and into a vacant point beyond along a straight line. The latter move captures the hopped-over goat which is removed from the board.

When it is the goats turn to play, if not all goats have been placed on the board, the player can only place 1 goat on any vacant point on the board. If all goats have been placed on the board, the player can only move 1 goat to an adjacent point along a line.

Goats cannot hop or take tigers and can only move once all 20 goats have been played to the board. Tigers cannot hop over other tigers.

To prevent a repetitive stalemate, an extra rule is usually employed which says that a player cannot move a piece so that a position of the pieces on the board is repeated.



A game is won by the tigers if they capture (eat) 5 goats. A game is won by the goats if they succeed in preventing any tiger from being able to move.

Each round should consist of 2 games, the players swapping pieces for the second game. If the goats won on both occasions, then the winner is the person who had the most goats left at the end of the game when they played goats. Otherwise it is a draw.




These rules are provided by Masters Traditional Games, an Internet shop selling quality traditional games, pub games and unusual games. For information on copying and copyright, see our disclaimer.

Our rules are comprehensive instructions for friendly play. If in doubt, always abide by locally-played or house rules.

Copyright Masters Traditional Games © 2018. All rights reserved.

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