Aadu puli aattam – The goat and the tiger game

Aadu Puli aatam  ஆடுபுலி ஆட்டம், Game of goats and tigers. It  is a strategic, two-player (or 2 teams) board game that’s played in south India. The game is asymmetric in that one player controls three tigers and the other player controls up to 15 goats. The tigers ‘hunt’ the goats while the goats attempt to block the tigers’ movements.

I remember my grandmother used to play this game with her friends siting under a peepal tree (Arasa maram) in Kumbakonam, India. It was a noisy  game . People used to group up into teams and play this game. I call this the Indian Chess.

How to play:

  1. Draw the chart as in the picture in a paper or on the ground with chalk powder
  2. Start the game with 3 Tigers are one placed on the apex and 2 in the inner place closest to the apex. All Goats start off the board.
  3. The pieces must be put at the intersections of the board lines and moves should follow these lines.
  4. The player controlling the Goats’ moves first by placing a Goat onto a free intersection on the board.
  5. Then it is the Tiger’s turn. One Tiger is then moved to an adjacent position along the lines that indicate the valid moves. Moves alternate between players.
  6. A Tiger captures a Goat by jumping over it to an adjacent free position (as in checkers). Goats cannot move until all 15 have been put on the board.


The Tigers must move according to these rules:

  • They can start capturing Goats any moment after the match has started.
  • They can capture only one Goat at a time.
  • They can jump over a goat in any direction, but it must be to an adjacent intersection following any of the lines drawn on the board.
  • A Tiger cannot jump over another Tiger.

The Goats must move according to these rules:

  • They must leave the board when captured.
  • They cannot jump over the Tigers or other Goats.
  • They can only move after all 15 have been put on the board.

Objective of the Game:

  • Goat’s objective is to encircle Tigers so that none of the Tigers can move. Tiger’s objective is to kill 5 Goats.
  • Tiger wins if all the Goats are captured and Goat wins if all Tigers are blocked from movement.



Interesting facts:

  1. This is the ancient game played in southern part of India especially in the state called Tamil Nadu.
  2. The board is drawn on parapet inside the mahadwara of the Chamundeshwari temple atop Chamundi Betta (hill) in Mysore, Karnataka
  3. This game helps people to develop strategy and concept of team work by teaching that even though weak, if united, one can vanquish the stronger enemy as a team.

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