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If your wondering what traditional style game Jungle could be, you should know that Jungle is Blastbay game's great new online adaptation of the chinese game of Dou shou qi pronounced “Doe show chee" which means the game of fighting animals. More commonly called Jungle Chess or Animal Chess in the west.
Perhaps not as complex as traditional Chess, the game is surprisingly easy to learn and play, but rather tricky to play well. Each player has 8 different pieces which rank in power:
- 1, the rat,
- 2, the cat,
- 3, the wolf,
- 4, the dog,
- 5, the leopard,
- 6, the tiger,
- 7, the lion,
- and 8 the elephant.
Each piece usually moves one square in any direction, and can capture a piece of a lower rank. The one exception to this is the rat, which has the ability to capture the elephant by apparently climing into it's ear and eating it's brain! To complicate things further, this slightly zombie like rat cannot be captured by the elephant, since rats (even evil brain eating ones), are too small for the elephant to hit.
The game is played on a 7 x 9 board, however unlike traditional chess, the board also contains a number of different types of terrain. Two blocks of six squares towards the center are two rivers. These cannot be entered by any piece except the rat, and a peace on the bank of the river cannot attack another piece in in the river.On the other hand, the lion and tiger can leap across the rivers either horizontally or vertically.
At the top and bottom center of the board each player has a den square, and one way to win the game is to move one of your animals into your opponent's den, ---- either that, or capture all their pieces. Around the den are three traps, and when an animal is on a trap square, it can be captured irrispective of rank.
The Blastbay version of Jungle Chess is surprisingly easy to play. You can use the arrow keys to move around the board, or shift and arrows to move peaces, while control and arrows perform the jumps for the lion and tiger. Hotkeys exist to tell you the locations of any given animal piece of your side or your opponent, making it quickly easy to see when your opponent is trying to sneak up on you with their brain eating rat.
Though a computer opponent is included who you can practice against at various skill levels, the real fun of Jungle comes when you challenge people online across the world to a game, indeed since the game is run from a central server, challenges are extremely easy. The game is entirely self voiced, though sapi is used to speak some details like online player names, and has a few sound effects, however the stratogy is definitely the key focus here.
Despite having 16 pieces on a fairly crowded board, the overview keys make the game extremely easy to play and understand, and with potentially hundreds of strategic options from various online opponents, if you enter the Jungle don't expect to get out of the addiction any time soon. Best of all, the game is entirely free.
For more information about Blastbay games, check out This page on the audiogames archive site
Updates: entry 25 Jan 17 and description 25 Jan 17