Animals depicted on the pieces shown here are very interesting
abstractions. Your set may look like this, or may have the same
animals depicted in a different style — and the same animals
may be depicted differently on the board as well. You may want
to pencil the pieces’ value numbers, 1 through 8, on the
underside of each piece, or keep this chart on hand, to help
you become acquainted with the pieces as you play.
of the Game
the game, one player must successfully move any animal into
the Den of the opponent. (see Den in the diagram above)
of the Pieces
black (or darker) pieces have the first move. All pieces have
the same basic move, although some have special powers (described
below). The basic move is just one space either forward, backward,
left or right. The pieces never move diagonally.
is captured (or “eaten”) by an opposing animal moving
onto its square, as in chess or Stratego. But the attacking
animal must be of equal or higher power than the one being captured.
For instance, the Tiger (6) can capture the Tiger (6), Leopard
(5) or Dog (4), but the Dog can not capture the Leopard or Tiger.
Rat, although it is the least powerful piece,
has the power to capture the Elephant. The Elephant can not
capture the Rat. It is said that this is because the rat can
creep in under the Elephant’s ear and eat his brain (!).
Rat, and no other animal, can move freely in
the water. It can not, however, attack the Elephant from the
the Lion and the Tiger can
jump over the water, moving from one bank straight forward,
backward, left or right (like a rook in chess) to the first
square of dry land on the other side. They may capture in this
move as well. The Lion and Tiger may not, however, jump over
a rat if it is in the way, in the water.
side has three Trap squares surrounding its Den. A player may
move on and off of his own Trap squares with no effect. If,
however, a player moves onto the opponent’s trap square,
that piece loses all of its power, and may be captured by any
of the defending pieces.
are not allowed to move into their own Dens. When an animal
moves into the opponent’s Den, it has won the game.