鬥獸棋/斗兽棋 (dou shou qi)
A typical and inexpensive Jungle set with paper board, purchased at a Chinese stationery shop
Setup time1–2 minutes
Playing time5–30 minutes
SkillsStrategy, tactics, counting
  • Dou shou qi
  • The jungle game
  • Children's chess
  • Oriental chess
  • Animal chess

Jungle or dou shou qi (simplified Chinese: 斗兽棋; traditional Chinese: 鬥獸棋; pinyin: dòu shòu qí; lit. 'fighting animal game') is a modern Chinese board game with an obscure history.[2][3] A British version known as "Jungle King" was sold in the 1960s by the John Waddington company.[4][5] The game is played on a 7×9 board and is popular with children in the Far East.[1]

Jungle is a two-player strategy game and has been cited by The Playboy Winner's Guide to Board Games as resembling the Western game Stratego.[6] The game is also known as the jungle game, children's chess, oriental chess and animal chess.[7]


The Jungle gameboard represents a jungle terrain with dens, traps "set" around dens,[8] and rivers.[9] Each player controls eight game pieces representing different animals of various rank. Stronger-ranked animals can capture ("eat") animals of weaker or equal rank. The player who is first to maneuver any one of their pieces into the opponent's den wins the game.[9] An alternative way to win is to capture all the opponent's pieces.


The Jungle gameboard, usually made of paper,[1] consists of seven columns and nine rows of squares (7×9 rectangle = 63 squares). Pieces move on the squares as in chess, not on the grid lines as in xiangqi. Pictures of eight animals and their names appear on each side of the board to indicate initial placement of the game pieces. After initial setup, these designated squares have no special meaning in the gameplay.

There are several special squares and areas of the Jungle board:

The den highlighted in green
A typical Jungle board labelling the starting squares, the den, the traps, and the rivers
The traps highlighted in yellow
One of the rivers


Each player has eight game pieces representing different animals, each with a different rank, and in their own colour (blue versus red).[10][1][9] The animal ranking, from strongest to weakest, is:

Rank Piece
8 Elephant Chinese: ; pinyin: xiàng
7 Lion Chinese: ; pinyin: shī
6 Tiger Chinese: ; pinyin:
5 Leopard[10] Chinese: ; pinyin: bào
4 Wolf[10] Chinese: ; pinyin: láng
3 Dog[10] Chinese: ; pinyin: gǒu
2 Cat Chinese: ; pinyin: māo
1 Rat Chinese: ; pinyin: shǔ

Pieces start on squares with pictures corresponding to their animal, which are invariably shown on the Jungle board.



Players alternate moves with Blue moving first.[8] During their turn, a player must move. All pieces can move one square horizontally or vertically (not diagonally). A piece may not move into its own den. Animals of either side can move into and out of any trap square.[11]

There are special rules related to the water squares:


Animals capture opponent pieces by "killing/eating" them (the attacking piece replaces the captured piece on its square; the captured piece is removed from the game). A piece can capture any enemy piece that has the same or lower rank, with the following exceptions:

Minor variations

There are some commonly played ruleset variations, as follows:

Improve variances to reduce drawing games:

  1. Can jump vertical: lion, tiger, no blocking rule
  2. Can jump horizontal: lion, tiger, leopard
  3. Can swim: wolf, dog, rat
  4. Only rat, cat, and dog can move to home trap squares
  5. No piece can stay in water for more than 3 turns, on turn 4, if the piece cannot or does not move to land, it is drowned
  6. Limited food in den: if the home den is occupied by any piece for total of 30 turns in one game, the player the den belongs to loses.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Pritchard (1994), p. 163.
  2. ^ Parlett (1999), pp. 142–43, "R. C. Bell describes this contemporary Chinese game sent him in the 1960s by a correspondent in Hong Kong, but knows nothing of its ancestry. The board design suggests some influence of Chinese Chess, and the perfection of the game—it 'plays well'—suggests a solid period of experimentation and refinement; yet the concept as a whole appears too sophisticated to have much of a history behind it."
  3. ^ Pritchard (2007), p. 292, "Origins obscure; in the opinion of Bell, possibly a development of xiangqi."
  4. ^ Cazaux, Jean-Louis; Knowlton, Rick (2017). A world of chess : its development and variations through centuries and civilizations. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. p. 130. ISBN 9780786494279.
  5. ^ "Victoria and Albert Museum, Museum of Childhood". Retrieved 2022-02-19. Printed card board game, Jungle King, made in England by John Waddington in the 1950s. Chromolithograph on card showing a jungle scene with 'water' in the centre, [and] a den and three traps at each end.
  6. ^ Freeman, Jon (1979). The Playboy Winner's Guide to Board Games. New York: Playboy Press. p. 171. ISBN 0-87216-562-0. Retrieved 2008-01-29.
  7. ^ Pritchard (2007), p. 292.
  8. ^ a b c Bell (1983), p. 119.
  9. ^ a b c Parlett (1999), p. 143.
  10. ^ a b c d Bell (1979), p. 69.
  11. ^ Bell (1979), p. 70.
  12. ^ Animal Checkers. (2007). Retrieved May 20, 2007 from http://www.cse.unsw.edu.au/~cs3411/07s1/hw3/.


Further reading