Demala diviyan keliya

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Demala diviyan keliya is a two-player abstract strategy board game from Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon. It is a hunt game, and since it uses a triangle board, Demala diviyan keliya is specifically a leopard hunt game (or leopard game). Three tigers are going up against fifteen leopards. The leopards attempt to surround and trap the tigers while the tigers attempt to capture enough of them (usually 7) so that the leopards can not immobilize the tigers. It is unknown how old the game is, but the game was described by H. Parker in his 1909 book Ancient Ceylon - An Account of the Aborigines and of Part of the Early Civilisation. The game is also known as the Tamil leopards game. In India, it is called Rafaya.


Leopards win if they surround and immobilize the three tigers. That is, the tigers cannot move on their turn.

The tigers win if they capture seven leopards, as there are not enough leopards left to immobilize the tigers.


The board used is made up of four triangles adjoined together and dissected by three lines across their breadth, making for 21 intersection points. There are fifteen white pieces representing the leopards, and three black pieces representing the tigers. The leopard pieces and tiger pieces are played on the intersection points.

Gameplay and rules[edit]

  1. Players decide what animal to play. Players alternate their turns throughout the game. The board is empty in the beginning with the exception to the three tiger pieces which are placed at the top of the triangle board (see the first link below for an illustration).
  2. The Leopards start first. All fifteen leopard pieces must be dropped first before any of them can be moved. Only one leopard piece can be dropped per turn, and they are dropped onto any vacant point on the board during the Leopard's turn.
  3. The Tiger on its turn may either move one of the tigers one space onto a vacant point following the pattern on the board, or use it to capture a leopard piece. Only one tiger may be moved or used to capture a leopard per turn. After all the leopards have been dropped, a leopard can move one space per turn onto a vacant point following the pattern on the board. Only one leopard may be moved per turn. Unlike the tigers, the leopards cannot capture.
  4. The tiger captures a leopard by the short leap as in draughts. The tiger must be adjacent to the leopard, and leap over it onto a vacant point on the other side following the pattern on the board. Only one capture is allowed per turn. Captures are not compulsory.

Related games[edit]

External links[edit]