Empty Bagh-Chal board
|Setup time||< 1 min|
|Playing time||< 1 hour|
Bagh-Chal (Nepali: बाघ चाल bāgh cāl, Newari:धुँ कासा dhun kasa meaning "Tiger game", ) is a strategic, two-player board game that originates in Nepal. The game is believed to have been created by Mandhodari, wife of Ravan. Books cite that Mandhodari was highly intelligent and played this game while being alone in her palace in Lanka. The game is asymmetric in that one player controls four tigers and the other player controls up to twenty goats. The tigers 'hunt' the goats while the goats attempt to block the tigers' movements. This game is also seen in southern India with different board but the rules are same. The game is played on a five by five point grid, like alquerque (an ancestor of draughts or checkers). Pieces are positioned at the intersection of the lines and not inside the areas delimited by them. Directions of valid movement between these points are connected by lines. The game play takes place in two phases. In the first phase the goats are placed on the board while the tigers are moved. In the second phase both the goats and the tigers are moved. For the tigers, the objective is to "capture" five goats to win. Capturing is performed as in alquerque and draughts, by jumping over the goats, although capturing is not obligatory. The goats win by blocking all the tigers' legal moves. It has many similarities to the Indian game Aadu puli attam (goat-tiger game), though the board is different.
At the start of the game all four tigers are placed on the four corners of the grid, facing the center. All goats start off the board.
The pieces must be put at the intersections of the board lines and moves follow these lines.
The player controlling the goats moves first by placing a goat onto a free intersection on the board. Then it is the tigers' turn. One tiger is then moved to an adjacent position along the lines that indicate the valid moves. Moves are alternate between players.
Tigers capture goats by jumping over them to an adjacent free position (as in checkers, although capturing is not obligatory in Bagh-Chal). Goats can not move until all 20 have been put on the board.
The tigers must move according to these rules:
- They can move to an adjacent free position along the lines.
- They can start capturing goats any moment after the match has started.
- They can capture only one goat at a time.
- 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.
- A tiger cannot jump over another tiger.
The goats must move according to these rules:
- They can move to an adjacent position along the lines after all 20 have been put on the board.
- They must leave the board when captured.
- They can not jump over the tigers or other goats.
The tigers win once they have captured five goats. Goats try to avoid being captured (jumped over) and they win by blocking the tigers' moves till they are unable to move.
Sometimes the game can fall into a repetitive cycle of positions; especially goats may use this resort to defend themselves from being captured. In order to avoid this kind of situation, an additional rule has been established: when all the goats have been placed, it is not allowed to perform any move that causes any situation of the pieces that has been already repeated during the same game.