Bagh Chal, which means “Change of Tigers” or “Moving Tigers” and, more often than not simply referred to as Tigers and Goats is a board game that originates from the country of Nepal.

As the country’s national game, Bagh Chal has a fascinating history. It was created by Himalayan herders, whose job the game resembles. Historically, the game, which has been played for more than a thousand years, is played by some shepherds on a grid scrapped into dirt with stones used as bagh (tigers) and pebbles symbolising bakhri (goats).

The traditional and more common board today is overlaid with brass and the pieces are solid etched brass Tigers and Goats.

The Board

The square board is a five by five point grid, with intersecting diagonal lines. During setup, the tigers are placed on the four corners of the board. Goats are not placed onto the board until the first phase.

The Pieces

20 Goats and 4 Tigers


The tigers must move according to these rules:

  1. They can start capturing goats any moment after the match has started.
  2. They can capture only one goat at a time.
  3. They can jump over a goat in any direction, but it must be to an adjacent intersection following any of the lines drawn on the board.
  4. A tiger cannot jump over another tiger.

The goats must move according to these rules:

  1. They must leave the board when captured.
  2. They can not jump over the tigers or other goats.
  3. They can only move after all 20 have been put on the board.

To move: Tigers may leap over the goat to capture it. Once the goat is captured, it is removed from the board.

To win: If you are a tiger, you must capture five goats. For the goat to win, they must protect themselves by surrounding the tigers so that they are unable to move.

The game is played in two phases. During the first phase, goats are placed on the board by one player, while the tigers move from their initial position in the four corners of the board. During the second phase, both tigers and goats move.

The player with the goats moves first by placing a piece on an empty intersection. The play then alternates to the tiger, which is allowed to move into an open adjacent position along the lines of the board.

Play continues until all the goats are placed on the board. If possible during phase one, a tiger may capture a goat by jumping over it to an empty adjacent spot.

When a goat is captured, it is removed from the board. Jumps can occur in any direction except backwards as long as the jump is to an open spot next to the goat.

Tigers are not allowed to jump over their own pieces.

During phase two or takedown, goats are allowed to move to an empty adjacent point along the lines of the board.

The Tigers and Goats Board Game is a simple board game with a good strategy. It is suitable for anyone over 8yrs and the authentic Nepali Boards and pieces are decorative and characteristic of Himalayan culture.

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Source by David Trounce