Nepal’s Popular Game of Bagh-Chal

The board game Bagh-Chal is a very popular game in Nepal, and its name means “Moving Tigers”. It is a strategic game, very similar to chess or tic tac toe. Only two players are able to play at a time, playing with tigers and goats. While the tigers are hunting the goats, the goats need to block their approach on a five by five point grid. The board looks similar to a draughts board but has lines running through it and the pieces are placed at the line intersections to start the game.

The game of Bagh-Chal is played in two different phases, and to start the game all tigers, of which there are four, are placed in each corner of the board. The goats start the game off the board. To make a legal move, the tigers and goats need to move along the lines, from one intersection to the next. Goats are allowed to make the first move, and the player will therefore place a goat on an open intersection. Then the tiger will move, trying to catch a goat, as the tigers need to capture five goats to win the board game. To catch a goat, the tiger must jump over the goat, just as is in checkers. For the goats to win, the player needs to be able to block all the legal moves made by the tigers. There are twenty goats for a player to play with, and they are not able to move a goat until all the goats have been placed on the game board.

There are strict rules for both sides. Goats must be removed from the board immediately after they have been captured, and tigers are only allowed to catch one goat within a move. Goats have to move where the intersections are clear, as they are unable to jump both goats and tigers. Tigers are permitted to start jumping goats at any time, and can do so in any direction as long as they follow the lines. They are not permitted to jump over another tiger to get to an intersection. Goats can ward off a tiger’s advance by blocking their legal moves, and if the goats have managed to position themselves in such a way that the tigers are not able to move, the goats win the Bagh-Chal game.