How to Play Jungle / Dou Shou Qi / 鬥獸棋

Jungle or Dou Shou Qi is a two-player traditional board game from China. It is also known as Jungle Chess or Animal Chess and is a very popular game among children. The game bears resemblance to the western game Stratego, which probably derived from Dou Shou Qi.

The Board

The board is composed of seven columns and nine rows of squares. The pictures of the animals indicate the starting arrangement of each animal.

Doushouqi - Board


On the board are several terrain features.

Doushouqi - Trap

Trap "Xianjing" 陷阱

Doushouqi - Den

Den "Shouxue" 兽穴

Doushouqi - River

River (Water area) "Xiaohe" 小河


The Pieces

Each player has eight pieces representing different animals, each with a different degree of power ranking. Below are all the animal pieces and their power ranking:

Doushouqi - Mouse
Mouse "Shu" 鼠 - 1

Doushouqi - Cat
Cat "Mao" 猫 - 2
Doushouqi - Wolf
Wolf "Lang" 狼 - 3
Doushouqi - Dog
Dog "Gou" 狗 – 4
Doushouqi - Leopard
Leopard "Bao" 豹 - 5

Doushouqi - Tiger
Tiger "Hu" 虎 - 6

Doushouqi - Lion
Lion "Shi" 狮 - 7
Doushouqi - Elephant
Elephant "Xiang" 象 – 8


Each player alternates making one move per turn. The first player to move is determined by a flip of a coin or by scissors, rock, paper. The goal is to win the game by moving any animal into the opponent's den. All pieces can move either one square vertical or horizontal.

Pieces can capture all other pieces of equal or lower degree of ranking by moving and landing onto it. There are two exceptions:

  • The Mouse and the Elephant. An elephant may not capture a mouse while the mouse may capture the Elephant. The reason, it is said, is because the Mouse can crawl into the Elephant's ear and eat its brain!
  • The trap. A player can capture an opponent's piece that is higher in rank if that piece is in one of their traps. A player's traps are next to their den on their side of the board.

There are special rules on movement regarding the rivers and the den:

  • The Mouse is the only animal that is allowed to move onto a water square.
  • A Mouse may not capture an Elephant or another Mouse on land directly from a water square.
  • A Mouse may capture another Mouse if they are both in the water.
  • A Mouse on land may not capture another Mouse in the water.
  • Both the Lion and the Tiger can jump over the water horizontally or vertically. They move from one land square on the edge of the water to the next non-water square on the other side. They may not jump, however, if there is a
  • Mouse from either side in the way. The Lion or Tiger may also capture an opponent's piece on the other side of the water by jumping.
  • A player may not move its own piece into its own den.

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