Shepherds and Wolf

Shepherds and Wolf (also known as Cows and Leopards) is an unusual board game for two players since each player has a different number of counters and different aims to win. The game originally came from Sri Lanka. Although the rules are simple, it can be quite difficult to win.

Age: Adults and older children

No. of players: 2

Equipment: Chess (or checkers or draughts) board; Four counters of one colour and one counter of another colour.

Time: 10 minutes+

Aim: Each player has a different aim. The four shepherds win if they can trap the wolf, while the wolf aims to break past the shepherds and reach the sheepfold.

1. The game is set up on a standard chess/checkers/draughts board as shown below. The Shepherds are on the black squares at one end of the board, defending the sheepfold, while the Wolf can start on any black square. The Shepherds move forward one square at a time on a diagonal onto a vacant black square - they cannot move backwards. The Wolf can only move TWO squares in a straight line on a diagonal, but can move forwards and backwards. Neither Shepherds nor Wolf can jump over or capture each other. The Shepherds have the first move.

2. The Shepherds win the game if they can trap the wolf so that it cannot make a valid move (that is, two diagonal steps in any direction). The Wolf wins if it can get past the Shepherds and reach their end of the board.

3. Players then swap roles and ends.

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