How to Play Ancient Egyptian Senet Game: Rules to Know

How to Play Ancient Egyptian Senet Game: Rules to Know

Are you interested in learning how to play an ancient Egyptian game? Then the Senet game is just what you’re looking for! It is likely that you have already guessed from the name that Senet is an extremely old game with an extensive history behind it based on the term Ancient Egypt. Senet, being one of the oldest board games still in existence, is definitely worth playing simply for the sake of its historical significance alone. However, it is also a game that requires a great deal of strategic thinking.

Although there are several deviations to the normal rules of Senet, the majority of individuals adhere to the traditional regulations, which we will outline in this tutorial.

What is Senet?

Well, we briefly discussed this, but to get a true sense of how old Senet is, consider that some of the boards date back to 3100 BC. People are shown in tomb paintings as well as participating in the game. As a result, it’s reasonable to assume that Senet was the game of choice for individuals in Ancient Egypt. However, it was also played in adjacent nations, such as Cyprus, as well. Senet is a two-player game with just ten pieces, and the objective of the game is rather straightforward. So let’s take a more in-depth look at how you go about playing Senet.

How to Play The Senet Game?

It is necessary to have a board in order to play Senet; however, you will not be required to travel to Egypt in order to obtain one. A variety of senet boards are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, with many including Egyptian-inspired motifs to evoke memories of the ancient boards of the past. A fantastic example of some of the Senet games that are available is this elegant board from WE Games, which is available for purchase. These packages will include everything you need to play Senet, making them the most convenient alternative for playing at home.

The Board

Because the board for Senet is rectangular rather than square, it might appear a little out of place in comparison to other games. The board is made up of three rows of 10 squares, which are referred to as “houses” on the game board. There are many different methods to create Seent boards, but the majority of them adhere to a conventional or traditional design scheme. One sign is frequently found in the middle house/square of a Senet board, making a total of five symbols on the board. As for the 26 to 29 houses/squares, there will be four designs to choose from.

  1. Square 15 – The House of Rebirth – This square is usually represented with an Ankh. It is customary to put a bird emblem in Square 26 to represent the House of Happiness. A house of water is located in Square 27
  2. It is usually comprised of three lines. In Square 28, there are usually three dark circles
  3. In Square 29, there are usually three light circles. There is usually an eye sign at Square 29 – the House of Re-Atoum.

The Senet Game Pieces

Senet differs from many other games in that it only includes 10 pieces, as opposed to many others (sometimes called counters). In contrast to games such as chess or checkers, which have a great deal more to offer. Each participant will be given five pieces of opposing colors to work with. Each pair of five pieces will be unique in terms of form as well as color.

There is a great deal of diversity in this, but typically, five parts will be tall and pointed, while the remaining pieces will be little and spherical in shape. Occasionally, the pieces of Senet will be patterned in addition to being patterned.

The Senet Sticks

Another aspect of the game of Senet that distinguishes it from others is that it does not include the use of dice. Most conventional sets do not have this feature, at least not in their most basic form. Senent Sticks, which are thin wooden rectangular forms, are used in place of dice in this game. Depending on the package, thin wooden popsicle sticks may be used. One side of each stick will be painted black, with the other side painted a brighter color, commonly white. There will be a total of four sticks.

How you move will be determined by how the sticks fall.

  1. If four sticks show black, you can advance five squares/houses and toss again
  2. If four sticks show white, you can throw again. To move one square/house and toss again if three sticks indicate black, move one square/house and throw again. If two sticks display black, you can move two squares/houses and then your turn is over
  3. Otherwise, your turn is over. If three colored sticks appear on the board, you can move three squares/houses before your round is over. You can move four squares/houses and toss again if four sticks display the same color as each other.

Senet – Rules and Gameplay

The objective of a game of Senet is straightforward: you must move your five pieces around the board. The board is made up of 30 squares, with each square representing a different type of home. Each row of the board has a total of ten homes. To win the game, you must successfully move all of your pieces across each row and off the board.

The Basic Rules

You must remove all of your pieces off the board in order to win Senet. When you get to the end of the row, you turn around and go on to the next one in the sequence. You will turn once again to the third and final row after you have reached the end of this row. When you reach the end of the board, the piece is removed from the board. At any given time, only one piece can be on a square or in a home. As previously explained, the Senet Sticks are used to determine which turns will be taken. It will also be necessary to put up the board with care.

Setting Up

Setting up a game of Senet, despite its straightforward simplicity, can be a little time-consuming. A decision on who player one and player two are will be required by the players prior to the commencement of the game. The first player will then put their pieces on the first, third, fifth, seventh, and ninth squares/houses on the board. Player two will do the same. Player two will put their pieces on the second, fourth, sixth, eighth, and tenth squares/houses on the board, respectively. The game will then begin, and you will have the opportunity to begin moving your pieces about the board.

The Advanced Rules

While Senet may be played very well with only the basic rules, the addition of more complicated rules can bring the game to a whole new level of strategy. Because only one piece may occupy a home or square at a time, these new rules provide you with a means of capturing houses while simultaneously protecting your pieces. The piece can be captured if you land on a home or square that has already been claimed by another player. The piece of the opposing player will then have to relocate to the square that your piece occupied at the start of your turn in order for you to continue.

This indicates that the piece cannot be captured, and as a result, you are unable to complete your turn. This indicates that your piece will be unable to move and you will be forced to wait until your next turn.

Playing With The Symbols

Later in this chapter, in the part titled “The Board,” we discussed the five symbol houses/squares that appear on the board. More sophisticated Senet games make use of these symbol squares, which are a key component of the game. You are not required to play with them, but they do bring an interesting additional dimension to the game. Check out the list below to see how you may use each symbol to your advantage. The Home of Happiness: In order to move their piece off the board, all players will need to pass through this house.

  1. You are unable to travel over the square; instead, you must land right on it.
  2. If you happen to land on this home, you will have to immediately transfer your piece back to the House of Rebirth to complete the game.
  3. In the event that you land on it, you may then throw your sticks again, and if you get three different colors, you can move that piece directly off the board.
  4. If you manage to obtain two sticks with the same color facing up, the piece can be removed from the board.

Senet – The Ancient Egyptian Game

So that’s how you go about playing a game of Senet! As you can see from this tutorial, there are a variety of methods to play the game because it is based on a very old tradition. So, whether you’re looking for something easy or something sophisticated, Senet would be a great pick for any board game night. Similarly to Shogi, playing Senet is a worthwhile experience if you want to get a taste of an ancient game as well.

Rules for the Ancient Egyptian game Senet or Senat

Senet (sometimes spelled Senat or Sen’t) was an ancient Egyptian board game that is considered to be the predecessor of Backgammon. However, while it is not known exactly what happened, it is possible to derive the rules of the game to a considerable extent, and the following is a popular guess.


A Senet board was made up of three rows of 10 squares that were arranged in a rectangle. a single stroke in one corner indicates that the square is assumed to be the final square; two strokes indicate that it is the next square along; three strokes indicate that it is the next square along; a diagonal cross indicates that it is the fifth square along; and a circle and cross indicate that it is the fifth square along. These were squares 26 to 30 of a thirty-square track that began in the opposite corner, traveled down one row, traveled back down the center row, and completed along the row that ended at these peculiar squares, it is presumed.

The House of Happiness is located on Square 26 and is symbolized by a cross and a circle.

Each participant is given five articles of clothing in a contrasting color or a contrasting design. Using the toss of four split twigs with a dark face on one side and a light face on the other, the pieces travel in a symmetrical pattern (binary lots).


Pieces are placed on the first ten squares of the first row with the colours alternating.

The Play

It is the players’ turn to move a single piece each toss of the split twigs, as follows:

  • 0 light is facing up – 5 plus one additional throw
  • 1 light face up and an extra throw
  • 2 lights face up and an extra throw
  • 3 lights face up and an extra throw
  • 4 lights face up and an extra throw
  • 5 lights face up and an extra throw
  • 6 lights face up and an extra throw
  • 7 lights face up and an extra throw
  • 8 lights face up and an extra throw
  • 9 lights face up and an extra throw
  • 10 lights face up and an extra throw
  • 11 lights face up and an extra throw
  • 12 lights face up and an extra throw
  • 13 lights face up and

A square may only be filled by a single piece at a time, regardless of how many pieces are there. If no pieces can be moved, the turn is considered completed. After landing on an opponent’s piece, the opposing piece is repositioned to the square where it began its initial motion. The House of Happiness is an unavoidable stop on any journey. Every piece must land on it before the next piece can be placed on it. A piece should be avoided landing on the House of Water square, since doing so would result in the piece being returned to the House of Rebirth.

  1. The winner is the first player to remove all of his or her pieces from the board.
  2. For more general information, as well as information on copying and copyright, please check our Rules Informationpage.
  3. If in doubt, always follow the rules of the game that is being played locally or the regulations of the house.
  4. All intellectual property rights are retained.

How to Play Senet

Documentation Download Documentation Download Documentation Senet, also known as (senat), is believed to be the world’s oldest board game. The earliest known hieroglyphic depiction of a senet game dates back to 3100 BC in Egypt. Sénét is a two-game player in which both players start with five pieces. The goal of senet is to be the first player to remove all of one’s pieces from the board before the other players do.

  1. 1 Make your way around the board. In Senet, you compete on a board that is divided into 30 squares, which are referred to as homes. Dwellings have been arranged in three rows, with a total of ten houses in each row. The goal of the game is to move your pieces across the board until you have removed all of your pieces from the board.
  • To move, you must first move your pieces along the first row of the board. Moving along this row is accomplished by moving left, with the hieroglyphs on your side of the row. Once you reach the end of the first row, you will round a corner and travel down the second row in the other direction
  • Once you reach the end of the second row, you will turn a corner once more and proceed down the third row in the opposite direction. After that, you’ll go down the third row in the other direction. By the conclusion of the third row, you have completed the movement of your piece off the board
  • The amount of squares you may move at a time is determined by the manner in which you hurl the senet sticks.
  • 2 Make use of senate sticks. In contrast to a regular board game, Senet does not make use of dice. Senet sticks, on the other hand, are what are known as senet sticks. Popsicle sticks with one side painted black and the other painted in a different, brighter color are typically used for this purpose. When it’s your time, you’ll toss the sticks into the air and see what happens. Your next move is determined by how many sticks land with the black side facing up.
  • For example, if you have three black sides and one color side, you can move one home and throw it again
  • Otherwise, you can move two houses and toss them again. If you have two color sides and two black sides, you move two homes and then lose your turn
  • If you have two color sides and two black sides, you move two houses and then lose your turn. For example, if you have three colored sides and one black side, you will move three homes and forfeit your turn. If you have four different colored sides, you must relocate four homes and throw again. Four black sides indicate that you must relocate five homes and throw again.
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  • s3 Play with a total of five game pieces. Senet is a cooperative game for two players. At the start of the game, each player is given 5 game pieces. In order to win, you must remove all of these pieces from the board. The pieces are normally rocks, but you may also use pennies or other money if you want to be creative. On a senet board, you may use any little, moveable item that you choose. 4 Take a look at the fundamental rules. When it comes to Senet, there are a few fundamental guidelines to follow. This is something you should acquaint yourself with before starting the game.
  • Only one piece may be placed in each home at a time
  • At the start of the game, all of your pieces must be placed on the first row of the game board. Player 1 will put his or her pieces on the first, third, fifth, seventh, and ninth homes, in that order. Player 2 will do the same. Playing piece 2 will be placed on the second, fourth, sixth, eighth, and tenth homes
  • Player 3 will place his or her pieces on any other house.
  1. 1 – Capture and guard residential areas. Due to the fact that only one piece may inhabit a home at a time, you may find yourself in a scenario where a house is blocked by another player at some point. When playing Senet, there are several approaches that may be used to take blocked dwellings. There are various methods for safeguarding your possessions
  • If you place your move on a home that is already inhabited by another player, you have the opportunity to seize the piece. Unless two or more of the opposing player’s pieces are next to each other, that home is protected from being moved back to the house your piece was on at the beginning of your round. It will not be captured, and you will not be able to finish your turn.
  • 2 Adhere to the unique restrictions that apply to dwellings with images. On a senet board, there are six homes, each of which has a different picture on it. If you happen to land on one of these residences, you must adhere to a set of specific regulations.
  • The House of Happiness, also known as the Pretty House, is identified by what seems to be three upside down stick figures. For you to win, all of your pieces must pass through this house first. You must land exactly on the house’s property line. The House of Happiness, for example, is on square 26 and you are on square 25, which means that if you don’t roll in a way that ensures that you move precisely one house, you will be forced to remain in place until your next turn. Three zigzagged lines denote the location of the House of Water. If you arrive in the House of Water, you must immediately return to the House of Rebirth to complete your journey. Three sideways stick figures denote the location of the House of Rebirth. When you place your piece on the House of Rebirth, it will remain there until you decide to remove it again
  • The House of Three Truths is denoted by a depiction of three birds. If you land on this home, you will be able to hurl your sticks once more. If you have three color sides up on this piece, you will be able to instantly remove it from the board
  • The House of Re-Atoum is represented by two dancing stick figures on the board. If you have come to this location, toss your sticks one again. If you have two colored sticks facing up on your piece, you can remove it from the board
  • The final home on the board is indicated by a design that looks like a leaf. When you go to this house, you’ll have to throw your sticks once more. You will not be able to remove your piece until all of your sticks have been tossed and just one colored stick is looking upright.
  1. 3Achieve victory in the game. The goal of senet is to get all of your pieces off the board as quickly as possible. The player who completes the task first wins. Advertisement
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Create a new question

  • QuestionCan I go from one side of the room to the other? Do I bump into other folks as well? When you reach the end of a row, you are the only one who can move from side to side. Another advantage is that you can capture other individuals without necessarily “bumping” them. In chess, you may physically ‘bounce’ a captured piece off a square, and I suppose you could do the same with Senet, but that is not the how it is done properly
  • Question Where can I obtain the materials necessary to construct a Senet board game? A stationery business, an office supply store, or even a hobby store may be appropriate. You will just require paper, colored pencils, a black fine-tipped marker, and craft sticks to complete this project
  • Question What exactly are the sticks for? They are hurled across the air. Some of them will spin around and fall on one side
  • This is a question What are the symbols represented by the designs on the Senet board? KAYLEN MAUSALI is a model and actress. Community Answer The designs are hieroglyphs, with each home represented by a different symbol. In this case, each symbol represents a separate word. Question Is it possible to free captured pieces in Senet after they have been caught? After a piece has been captured, it must be returned to the location where it was at the start of your turn. If you manage to catch up with the individual, you will technically be freed
  • However, this is not the case. Is it possible to create a more thorough sheet? You could, but it would very certainly necessitate a somewhat larger board (depending on how detailed you make it). Alternatively, if you desired a broader selection of unique dwellings, you would have to create your own. There may have been additional ancient Egyptians, but every evidence we have gathered points to the fact that there were just the ones depicted on this page, and nothing else. Question How many players will I require? There are just two players
  • There is a question Is it possible to purchase a pre-made senet board? Yes, it is possible. On Amazon and a variety of other online buying websites, they may be purchased
  • Question What are the words that the name represents? RoseheartCommunity Answer There are many different interpretations for the word “senet,” but in the context of Egyptian games, it refers to “the game of passing.” Question What do you think the sticks’ shape is? They are little, rectangular bits that may be held in one’s hand

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About This Article

Summary of the ArticleX Senet is an ancient Egyptian board game for two players that dates back thousands of years. The object of the game is for you to be the first player to remove all of your pieces from the board before the other player does the same for you. To play, you’ll need a senet board, senet sticks (which function similarly to traditional dice), and 4 or 5 color-coded pieces for each player, depending on the number of players. Begin by arranging all of the pieces in the first row in an alternating sequence, making sure that no player has two pieces sitting next to each other at the same time.

  • The sticks are color-coded (or otherwise designated), with the blank or “light” side of the stick counting as the face-up side.
  • You can advance one place and gain an additional turn for one face-up stick.
  • If all four of the sticks land face up, you will be able to travel four spaces and get an additional turn.
  • If you move a piece to a square that is now occupied by the opponent’s piece, you will send the opponent’s piece back to the square that you just moved it to.
  • Players, on the other hand, may leap pieces.
  • On the board, there are five distinctive places to be filled.
  • The “home of water” is located just underneath that.
  • A third option is to enter the “home of three spirits,” which is a safe square that can only be accessed by rolling a 3 on a die.
  • Play continues until the game comes to a conclusion anytime one player removes all of their pieces from the board, at which point that person is considered the winner.

Continue reading to find out more about capturing in Senet as well as distinctive residences on the board! Did you find this overview to be helpful? This page has been seen 165,527 times thanks to all authors who worked together to create it.

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At the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology, there is an entire board game known as Senet, which has been identified as UC2320. Image courtesy of UCL Culture

A game for kings and paupers alike, we take a closer look at the Ancient Egyptian board game of Senet in the collection of the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology

There are three mainly complete board games at the Petrie Museum that are reasonably identifiable as the game of Senet, which was one of the most popular games played by the Ancient Egyptians and people in Cyprus and the ancient Near East, and which may be found in the Petrie Museum. In Tutankhamun’s tomb, four Senet boards were discovered; nonetheless, Senet was a recreational pastime that was not based on one’s social standing in ancient Egypt. There is evidence of participation in the game from scraped graffiti boards to more opulent and intricate boards adorning the graves of kings, indicating that individuals from a variety of socioeconomic strata took part in the activity.

  • Over time, several aspects of the game altered, including the boards itself and the regulations.
  • Many people have drawn comparisons between the game and backgammon, which is played on a board with three rows of 10 squares, some of which have distinctive hieroglyphic symbols on them.
  • Image courtesy of UCL Culture Because of the game’s long history, the examples in the Petrie come from a variety of historical periods, including the Middle Kingdom, New Kingdom, and Late Period.
  • A notable difference between the samples is that various squares are painted with different hieroglyphs, resulting in a visible variety.
  • One of the fragments of a grey/green steatite senet-game board has two linked lotus blossoms and a carved handle at the unbroken end of its unbroken side.
  • Apparently, according to Flinders Petrie, this gaming board was brought from the New Kingdom in two parts.

UC2317: At the Petrie, there is still another intact version of Senet. Image courtesy of UCL Culture In this image, you can see the underside of the Senet board game. Image courtesy of UCL Culture

The rules of Senet

There are three mainly complete board games at the Petrie Museum that are reasonably identifiable as the game of Senet, which was one of the most popular games played by the Ancient Egyptians and people in Cyprus and the ancient Near East, and which may be reasonably identified as such. In Tutankhamun’s tomb, four Senet boards were discovered; nonetheless, Senet was a recreational pastime that was not reliant on one’s social standing in pre-dynastic Egyptian society. There is evidence that individuals from diverse socioeconomic strata participated in the game, ranging from scratched graffiti boards to more elegant and intricate boards adorning the graves of nobility.

  • Over the years, several aspects of the game have altered, including the boards itself and the rules themselves.
  • Comparatively, backgammon has been compared to this game, which has a board consisting of three rows of 10 squares, with some of the squares displaying special hieroglyphic characters.
  • Thanks to UCL Culture for their assistance.
  • In addition, the collection contains a number of additional board games or pieces of board games that are likely to be related to Senet as well as other board games.

One rectangular slab of green/grey siltstone from the 26th Dynasty has hieroglyphic signs/groups carved into the lower right hand corner, a handle with three grooves carved into the same end, and three columns containing eleven circles, the one in the center of which has six petals incised into it, all on the same side.

On the back, three lines divide the squares, and hieroglyphs or groups are shown in different squares: Hr nb, two II’s, three III’s, boat on mw, ms, and partially carved circles.

Historically, the Ancient Egyptians used sticks to move across these types of boards; however, the game may be played with a dice, and each player had five uniform pieces (ten in total).

UC2317: At the Petrie, there’s still another complete version of Senet. Thanks to UCL Culture for their assistance. In this image, you can see the back of the Senet board game. Thanks to UCL Culture for their assistance.

  • Starting at one end of the board (squares one to ten), players move across the board alternately with every other piece
  • The maximum number of roles that could be played was four (if employing sticks like the ancient Egyptians)
  • A player can move a piece as many spaces as the number of dice he or she rolls (for example, roll a two and move two spaces). It is your choice whether or not to land on a space with an opponent’s piece
  • If you do, you take that location and the opponent goes to where your piece originated. Other variants of the game propose that if you move and land on a square where your opponent’s piece may be moved, their game piece should be returned to the beginning of the board (rather than where you started from)
  • And A blockade is formed when you gather three of your pieces in a row (some sources claim four or five), and your opponent is unable to get beyond it. Some versions feature rules that state that if you roll particular numbers (such as a two, three, or both), you get to go again
  • However, this is not always the case. As soon as a gaming piece has made it to the last three squares – you must land on the fictitious 31st square with the precise number from your roll in order to safely quit the game. The winner is the first player to remove all of their pieces from the board. Traveling horizontally on the game track in a clockwise orientation, the pieces must resemble a reversed “Z” form
  • You are not permitted to land on a square that already contains one of your pieces. Pieces that are placed on the final four squares are unable to defend one another and must adhere to a series of specific criteria. Any time a player’s opponent swaps pieces from square 26 with a piece on one of the remaining four squares, the player’s piece must be moved to square 27.

The special rules of Senet

And here are the particular guidelines that Egyptologists have translated and published for individuals who are truly interested in walking and playing like an Ancient Egyptian:

  • “The House of Beauty” is the 26th square on the board, and any piece that lands on this square must come to a complete halt. With an accurate roll of the dice, a piece on this square has the potential to exit the gameboard. Square 27: “The House of Waters” – If one of your pieces lands in this square, you will have two possibilities. Option 1: Move the piece back to square 15, also known as “The House of Rebirth.” The piece must be returned to the first accessible square behind it if one should have been placed here by mistake. Option 2: Make an attempt to roll a number that is exactly four. The piece can be removed from the gameboard and you will be given an additional turn if you are successful, else your turn will be forfeited. If you roll exactly three dice, a piece cannot be moved, but it can be removed off the gameboard at Square 28 (“The House of Three Judges”). Square 29: “The House of Two Judges” – A piece cannot be moved, but it can be removed from the gameboard if the die rolls exactly two times. a piece can be removed from the gameboard with a roll of any value in Square 30: “The House of Horus.”
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A piece landing on this square, referred known as “The House of Beauty,” will cause all pieces to come to a complete halt. With an accurate roll of the dice, a piece on this square has the ability to exit the gameboard. In the event that one of your pieces lands in Square 27, “The House of Waters,” you have two options. The first option is to move the piece back to square 15, often known as “The House of Rebirth.” The piece must be returned to the first open square behind it if one should have been here previously.

Your turn is ended if you are successful in removing the piece off the gameboard; otherwise, your turn is forfeited.

“The House of Two Judges” – A piece cannot be moved, but it can be removed from the gameboard if an exact roll of two is obtained.


A total of around 80,000 artefacts are housed in the Petrie Museum, making it one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of Egyptian and Sudanese archaeology. Life in the Nile Valley is illustrated throughout history, from prehistory to the time of the pharaohs, the Ptolemaic, Roman, and Coptic periods, and on into the Islamic period. The entire thing.

Senet – Wikipedia


Senet set inscribed with theHorus nameofAmenhotep III(r. 1391–1353 BCE)
Genres Board game
Players 2

Senetorsenat (Ancient Egyptian:znt, lit.’passing’; cf. Coptic /sin/ “passing, afternoon”) is on board a gaming ship sailing to ancient Egypt. The earliest known portrayal of senet is located in the Mastaba of Hesy-Re, which dates back to c. 2620 BC E, but comparable boards and hieroglyphic inscriptions date back much farther. Following the Roman era, the game went out of favor, and the exact nature of its original rules is still a matter of debate.


Painting in tomb of Egyptian QueenNefertari(1295–1255 BCE)

In Egypt’s First Dynastyburials, around 3100 BC E, fragmentary boards that might have been used for sewing have been discovered. Hisy (c. 2686–2613 BCE) is credited with creating the earliest unambiguous depiction of this ancient game, which was found in the Third Dynastytomb of Hesy. In a picture in the tomb of Rashepes, as well as in other tombs of the Fifth and Sixth Dynasties, people are portrayed playing senet, among other things (c. 2500 BCE). Old Kingdom graffiti on Fifth and Sixth Dynasty monuments may date back as far as theMiddle Kingdom, with the earliest unbroken senet boards dating back to theMiddle Kingdom.

There is a relationship between the Great Game Text, which appears in a number of papyri, and the appearance of marks with religious meaning on the senet boards themselves, which is established in the Great Game Text.

Study of a senet board at theRosicrucian Egyptian Museum, which had been in existence since the earlyNew Kingdom of Egypt, revealed that the game had evolved from its secular roots to become a more sacred relic through time.

It has been discovered in sites in the Levant such as Arad and Byblos, as well as in Cyprus, among other places. There have been more senet games discovered in Cyprus than there have been in Egypt, which can be attributed to the local tradition of constructing games out of stone.


Tjau on the top side of the box and Senet on the bottom side of the box, c. 1550–1295 BCE, game box with two games. The senet gameboard consists of a grid of 30 squares that are organized in three rows of 10 squares per row. A senet board is comprised of two pairs of pawns (at least five of each). A number of historians, like Timothy Kendall and R. C. Bell, have attempted to reconstruct the original game rules, despite the fact that significant parts of the game rules are still up in the air.

  • As a result, it is doubtful that these rules accurately represent the course of ancient Egyptian games.
  • Several scenes discovered in Old Kingdom tombs, dated from 2686 to 2160 BCE, demonstrate that Senet was a game of position, strategy, and a dash of good fortune.
  • The American Museum of Natural History’s Alexander de Voogt responded by pointing out that games do not have a fixed set of rules, but rather, that rules change through time and vary from one location to another.
  • In his teaching notes on ancient games, games historian Eddie Duggan (University of Suffolk) presents a brief introduction of ideas linked to the ancient Egyptian game of senet (as well as an outline of the so-called ” Royal Game of Ur “), as well as a rendition of the game’s rules.

See also

  • Old-fashioned Egyptian board game called Hounds and Jackals. Mehen is another ancient Egyptian game that has survived to the present day. In Patolli, pre-Columbian Mesoamerican civilizations come together to play. The Royal Game of Ur was a Mesopotamian game that was played around 3000 BC. In certain circles, tab is mistaken for senet, a traditional Middle Eastern game. Mancala is a collection of games that are played in East and West Africa.


  1. AbcSebbane, Michael (2001). “Board Games from Canaan in the Early and Intermediate Bronze Ages and the Origin of the Egyptian Senet Game.” Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, vol. Tel Aviv University Journal of Science and Technology 28(2): 213–230. AbPiccione, Peter A., “In pursuit of the significance of Senet,” The American Veterinary Medical Association, 2001, 213: S2CID162219908
  2. AbPiccione, Peter A. The University of Waterloo’s Games Museum is located in Canada. On September 18, 2008, the original version of this article was archived. Metha Melissa Wijoyono and Alvin Raditya are two of the most well-known Indonesian actors (10 July 2014). “Perancangan Permainan Media Edukasi Sebagai Pembelajaran Cara Melindungi Diri Dalam Menghadapi Bencana Alam Bagi Anak Usia 7–12 Tahun: Cara Melindungi Diri Dalam Menghadapi Bencana Alam Bagi Anak Usia 7–12 Tahun”. (1): 12
  3. (4): Jurnal DKV Adiwarna (in Indonesian)
  4. Piccione, Peter A., et al (1990). Ph.D. (unpublished) thesis on the historical development of the game of Senet and its significance for ancient Egyptian religion. University of Chicago Press
  5. Chicago, IL Egyptian Symbols: “Egyptian Symbols: Senet.” Obtainable on February 23, 2016
  6. Walter Crist’s article “Passing from the Middle to the New Kingdom: A Senet Board at the Rosicrucian Museum” was published in 2020. abCrist, Walter
  7. And colleagues (2016). “Facilitating Interaction: Board Games as Social Lubricants in the Ancient Near East.” The Journal of Egyptian Archaeology, doi:10.1177/0307513319896288. Oxford Journal of Archaeology, volume 35, number 2, pages 179–196. Swiny and Swiny (1986). The Expedition to Episkopi-Phaneromeni led by Kent State University. Paul Astroms Forlag, Nicosia, ISBN 9186098403
  8. Crist, Walter
  9. And colleagues (2016). Bringing Ancient Egyptians to the Table: Board Games from Around the World. Bloomsbury.ISBN978-1-4742-2117-7
  10. s^ Catherine Soubeyrand is a writer who lives in France. “The Game of Senet,” as it is known. GameCabinet. Obtainable on October 25, 2014
  11. E. Aarseth (17–20 May 2017). Aarseth, E. Is Senet still in operation? The ontology of a game in which there are no rules. Models, Metaphors, and Meanings: The XXth Colloquium on Board Game Studies The University of Copenhagen in Denmark is a prestigious institution. E. Duggan, et al (2015). “The Royal Game of Ur and Senet,” as it is known in English. Ancient Board Games 1. (Revision C, 2015)
  12. Ancient Board Games 2.


  • Walter Crist, Anne-Elizabeth Dunn-Vaturi, and Alex de Voogt are among the authors of this article (2016). Ancient Egyptians at Play: Board games that transcend national boundaries. Bloomsbury Publishing Company, New York, pp. 41–80. ISBN978-1-4742-2117-7
  • Mr. Kendall, Mr. Timothy (1978). An Ancient Egyptian Funerary Game and Its Meaning: The Meaning and Play of Senet, an Ancient Egyptian Funerary Game Kirk Game Company is based in Belmont, Massachusetts.
  • Piccione, Peter A., et al (2007). Irving L. Finkel is the author of this work (ed.). Ancient Board Games are seen in a new light. The British Museum Press, London, pp. 54–63 (in English). ISBN978-0-714-11153-7

Further reading

  • R.C. Bell et al (1979). Vol. I: Board and Table Games from a Wide Range of Civilizations (Revised ed.). Oxford University Press (1960)
  • Dover Publications Inc (1979). pp. 26–28. London, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press. ISBN978-0-671-06030-5
  • “Senat,” in The Boardgame Book, edited by R.C. Bell and published by Exeter Books in 1983, pages 82–83. ISBN978-0-671-06030-5
  • Falkener, Edward (1961). “V. The Game of Senat.” Falkener, Edward (1961). Ancient and Oriental Games, as well as Instructions on How to Play Them Page numbers 63–82 are from Dover Publications Inc. ISBN978-0-486-20739-1
  • “Senat,” in Frederic V. Grunfeld’s “Games of the World,” published in 1975. Pages 53–55 of Holt, Rinehart, and Winston’s book. ISBN978-0-03-015261-0

External links

  • “Review of variants,” according to SenetatBoardGameGeek. BoardGameGeek. Speculation is prohibited per Senet.rules.
  • “Why did ancient Egypt spend 3000 years playing a game that no one else enjoyed?” you might wonder. Eurogamer, published on June 1st, 2016. A comparison between Senet and Ur’s Royal Game of Ur

Ancient Egyptian Senet

There were several other board games available to the Ancient Egyptians, but Senet was the most popular. Wealthy and impoverished individuals alike participated, and boards have been discovered in a variety of locations. Playing on boards created in the sand and stones, or with little ceramic playing pieces, Egyptian peasants could enjoy the game. Pharaohs, like Tutankhamon, possessed opulent sets made of wood, ivory, and faience, among other materials. Senet boards were also carved onto temples and tombs across ancient Egypt.

  1. The game itself may have religious significance, as it depicts a soul’s journey through the underworld, according to certain theories (Grunfeld 53).
  2. There are firms that manufacture copies of antique Senet boards, such as the one shown in this photograph (click on it to see it larger).
  3. Due to the fact that the surviving descriptions of the game do not clarify how to play the game precisely, the original rules of Senet are unknown.
  4. Swiss archaeologist Gustave Jequier formulated the following guidelines based on the materials that were accessible to him.
  5. Pusch, a German Egyptologist, was able to corroborate the fundamental principles of this game (Grunfeld 53).
  6. 54, with further explanation provided by Parlett’sThe Oxford History of Board Games, pp.
  7. Players:2 Objective: To be the first player to reach the end of the path and remove all of your pieces from the board before your opponents.

Alternatively, a permanent marker can be used to color the sides.

A Senet board is made up of 30 squares that are arranged in a 3×10 rectangle to form a triangle.

Although Parlett (p.

It is possible to distinguish between two sets of pieces: one set is dark and the other is light.

The two sets of pieces are arranged on the first row of the board in an alternating pattern, as shown in the diagram below: Moving: Movement on the board follows a path that is similar to a switchback path.

When it comes to the Dice Sticks, players use four two-sided dice to determine the number of spaces that their pieces can travel.

The players toss the four dice onto the table at the same time and determine the number of spaces they should move based on the colors of the sides facing up on the dice they are throwing.

  • One white side and three black sides equal one
  • Two white sides and two black sides equal two
  • Three white sides and one black side equal three
  • All four white sides equal four
  • All four black sides equal six

Starting with the first roll of the dice, each player takes it in turns to toss the dice until someone gets 1. In this game, this individual is the first player and is in command of the dark pieces. Taking the dark piece on square 10 and placing it on square 11 must be the very first move made by the first player. This allows him to move the remaining pieces of his puzzle. The dice are thrown once again by the first player. It is possible for two things to happen, depending on the value of his toss: The player moves one of his pieces (any piece he chooses) the number of spaces indicated by the value of the dice.

  1. Any number on the dice that is 1, 4, or 6 allows him to roll again, no matter how many times he has previously rolled.
  2. After then, the player’s turn comes to an end, and his opponent takes over.
  3. As soon as the first player’s turn is completed, the second player’s initial action must be to move the light piece on square 9 to the center of the board (no matter what value he gets onthe dice).
  4. Despite the fact that their pieces may cross over each other while moving, players are not permitted to have more than one of their own pieces on the same place at the same time.
  5. Whenever a player lands on a square already occupied by one of his opponent’s pieces, he “attacks” that piece, sending it back along the route to the square from whence he originally landed.
  6. It is possible for an enemy piece to advance past two friendly pieces that are adjacent to one other, but it is not permitted to land on any of them.
  7. A friendly piece can continue to pass across a roadblock without being stopped.

However, that player will still be unable to move backward to an occupied square (regardless of whose side occupies it), therefore if there are no freespaces for any of his pieces to go, even backwards, the player will be forced to forfeit his turn in its whole.

This trap is located at the square with the “X” on it (number 27).

If square 1 is already occupied, the piece must be moved to the free area that is the most convenient to the square 1 occupied space.

All of the other exceptional areas serve as safe havens.

Winning the Game entails the following steps: The player who removes all of his pieces from the board first is declared the winner.

See also:  The Quest for the Best Cornhole Board

From then, he must move the pieces one at a time until he reaches square 30.

), the player must roll the dice and receive the correct amount of the move.

Because of an assault or landing on a trap space, any of the player’s pieces in the exit row may be moved back to the earlier rows.

Optional Points for Completion: Although the game is won by the person who removes all of his pieces from the board, if you play a series of games, you may want to include a second scoring system as well.

At the conclusion of each game, the victorious player is awarded points for each of the following:

  • A point for each enemy piece that appears in the exit row but does not appear on any of the safe places
  • There are two points awarded for every enemy piece on the second row. a point for each opponent piece in the first row of the board

Senet – Game of 30 Squares

Senet is an Egyptian game that is one of the oldest games in the world, with records reaching back to the 1st Dynasty, circa 3100 BCE. It is also one of the most difficult games to master. Many Senet game boards have been discovered in Egyptian tombs, notably the Tomb of Tutankhamun, which contains a wealth of information. Other countries in the Levant and the Mediterranean region, including Israel, Lebanon, and Cyprus, have also played Senet, according to boards that have been discovered in those countries.

  1. The goal of this competition is to see who can finish first.
  2. When it comes to historical reconstructions, the most of them do not result in an exciting game and are quite rudimentary, which is difficult to understand given the game’s widespread popularity in antiquity.
  3. 1550–1295 BCE is the period under consideration.
  4. Faience and contemporary wood.
  5. In New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art has works by the artists 01.4.1a-p.
  6. Some clarifications to his regulations set have been made, since there were some confusing instructions in the first place.
  1. The total number of players is two. Four two-sided throwing sticks are included in the game to serve as dice, with one side rounded and the other side flat
  2. A board with 30 squares arranged into three rows of ten
  3. Five conoid pieces
  4. Five round spindle pieces
  5. And four two-sided throwing sticks are included in the game to serve as dice
  6. Cells 1-10 are used to begin the movement across the board, which continues along the course until all pieces depart the board at cell 30. Initially, the pieces are placed on the first row in alternating cells, with the conoid pieces occupying cells: 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and the spindle pieces occupying cells: 2, 4, 6, 8, 10. Then, all four throwing sticks are hurled simultaneously towards the center of the first row. The following factors are taken into consideration while calculating the score:
  1. When a single throwing stick lands on the flat side and the other three lands on the round side, the score is 1
  2. When two throwing sticks lands on the flat side and the other two lands on the round side, the score is 2
  3. When four throws sticks lands on the flat side and the fourth throw stick lands on the round side, the score is 3
  4. When all four throws sticks landed on the rounded side, the score is 5, which is the winning score.

In a single round, a player is not permitted to toss the sticks more than once with the same stick. Players who earn two or three points are only allowed to take one turn. Players who score 1, 4, or 5 have a second opportunity to play. The sticks are thrown by both players to determine which player will begin the game. Whoever scores 1 first gets to use the spindle pieces and make the initial move in the game. Once again, the player who receives the initial move tosses the sticks in order to decide the number of cells they will be moving.

  • A player may choose to move any of his or her pieces on any move, as long as the move is permitted under the game’s rules.
  • It is possible for a piece to travel through an opponent’s pieces as long as it is the only piece in a row (i.e., the next cell is not held by another opponent’s piece).
  • It is possible for pieces to be knocked out of cells by an opponent’s piece if they fall on a cell that is already occupied by the opponent’s piece.
  • In a game when two neighboring cells are occupied by the same player’s pieces, the opponent’s pieces are unable to cross through or knock out the player’s pieces.
  • That cell will stay occupied until the component that was originally in it is removed.
  • For example, if three pieces appear in a row, piece2 can be eliminated; if four pieces appear in a row, pieces2 and 3 can be eliminated; and if five pieces appear in a row, the remaining pieces 2, 3, and 4 can all be eliminated from the game.
  • That a result, if any of the pieces refuse to allow a forward movement, the pieces must travel backwards according to the same principles as they used to move ahead.
  • If a player is unable to make a forward move, he or she must make a backwards move in the same direction as the player.
  • If no moves are permitted at all, either forward or backward, then the player skips a turn and the game continues.
  • It is not permitted to skip a turn when any of the player’s pieces have traveled through cell 26.

Regardless of the outcome of the dice roll, the player must relocate any of the pieces that are positioned beyond cell26. A few cells on the board have been identified with hieroglyphics. These are specific cells, referred to as “houses,” that follow a set of rules:

  1. Cell15: The House of Resurrection: This cell is frequently labeled with the Egyptian sign Ankh, which means “life,” in reference to its location in the House of Resurrection. This is the cell where pieces that have fallen in trap cells 26 or 27 will return to so that the game may resume. Suppose cell15 is occupied by the opponent’s piece, and the player falls into one of the trap cells and is forced to return there, the opponent’s piece is knocked out and returns to cell 1. It is possible that cell15 will be occupied by a different piece belonging to the same player, in which case that piece will be knocked out to the next closest previous cell, which would be cell14, unless it is occupied by another piece belonging to the same player or the opponent, in which case that piece will be bumped backwards to cell13 and so on. It is not necessary for the opponent’s pieces placed in cells 14, 13, and so on to be eliminated in the event where the player’s piece is nudged backwards from cell 15. That is, those cells are simply skipped to the next available vacant cell
  2. Cell26: Per Nefer – House of Beauty: All pieces must come to a complete halt in this cell, even if the dice score was higher and this cell might have been bypassed. It is not permissible to skip this cell. After a piece lands in cell26, it is not permitted to be knocked out, it is not allowed to knock out an opponent’s pieces, it is not allowed to go backwards, and it is not allowed to pass other pieces, whether they are from the player or the opponent. It does, however, receive an extra move right away.
  1. In case the dice score for the additional move is 5, then the piece moves off the board and out of the game
  2. If the dice score for the additional move is 2, 3, or 4, but all upcoming cells are occupied and there is nowhere for the piece to move to, then the piece automatically lands on cell27 – House of Water, as if the dice score for the additional move was 1. If, on the other hand, cell27 is occupied by another piece, whether it is the player’s or the opponent’s, the piece is returned to cell15 – the House of Resurrection. If cell15 is also occupied, the cursor returns to the preceding vacant cell, as indicated in rule21a, which is the case in this case. If none of the forthcoming cells are occupied, the piece advances into one of them
  3. Otherwise, the piece remains in place.

The faith of a piece that falls on this cell is determined by the dice score of the second turn. Cell27: Per Mu – House of Water: If a piece lands on this cell, it receives a second turn and its faith is determined by the die score of the second turn.

  1. If the result of the dice roll is 5, the piece remains in position on cell 27. If the dice result is 4, the piece moves off the board and the game is over
  2. Otherwise, it remains on the board. If the dice result in a 1, 2, or 3 on the roll, the piece is returned to cell15 – the House of Resurrection.

House of the Three Truths (Cell 28): If a piece lands on this cell, it receives a second turn, and the faith of that piece is determined by its dice score on the second turn.

  1. If the dice result is three, the piece moves off the board and the game is over
  2. If the dice result is two, the piece moves off the board and the game is over
  3. If the result of the dice roll is a 1, 2, 4, or 5, the object remains in place on cell 28.

Re Atum’s House is represented by the number 29 in Cell 29. If a piece falls on this cell, it receives a second turn, and the faith of the piece is determined by the dice score of the second round, as explained above.

  1. Alternatively, if the dice roll yields a two, a piece moves off the board and ends the game. If the result of the dice roll is 1, 3, 4, or 5, the result remains in cell 29.

Cell30. If a piece lands in this cell, it does not receive a second turn and instead remains in cell30 until the next turn is taken by another piece. On the following round, it is removed from the board and the game is over regardless of the outcome of the dice. The game is won by the person who is the first to remove all of their five pieces from the board. On the subject of game strategy:

  1. The most important strategies in the game are blocking by positioning two pieces in a row and knocking out the opponent’s pieces
  2. And The game starts off a little sluggish, but after all of the pieces have moved into the second row, the game becomes extremely competitive, interesting, and even a little bit of a meat grinder, with parts continually being knocked out of their current cells and into prior cells. Cells 26 and 27 at the finish of the game are potential traps that can knock a piece back to the middle of the road, if it is half way down the path. When compared to a six-sided cubic dice, the throwing sticks have unequal probability for different scores, which makes them more irritating and entertaining at the same time. One of the traps – cell26 – cannot be avoided, however cell27 may be avoided by employing strategy.
  1. When throwing sticks, the most common dice score is 2 (probability is 6/16)
  2. The second most frequent dice score is 3. The next most common dice scores are 1 and 3 (probability is 4/16)
  3. The next most frequent die scores are 2 and 3. The dice values 4 and 5 are the least common (probability is 1/16), respectively.
  4. Because of the uneven likelihood of scoring, it is advantageous for the player to maintain gaps between their pieces and the pieces of their opponent that are either one or three cells wide. Gaps of four or five points are much better. A gap of two, on the other hand, is more perilous since the possibility of the opponent scoring a two is higher, and as a result, the piece is more likely to be knocked out. For the same reason, it is preferable to have more than three pieces in total on the second row of the board. This would expedite the pace of the game. If the second row only has two or three pieces in total, they will keep walking on each other’s toes and will be knocked out on a regular basis. As a result, whenever a player scores 1, 4, or 5, they are awarded a second turn. The game would be excessively sluggish if this were the case. Because of the same reason, playing the game with a six-sided cubical dice instead of the throwing sticks significantly detracts from the enjoyment of the game because it equalizes all probabilities of scoring and thus renders these stratagems inapplicable
  5. Playing the game with a six-sided cubical dice instead of the throwing sticks

When Senet was played in its more ancient forms (before to the 17th Dynasty), it contained 14 playing pieces – seven for each player (the same as the Royal game of Ur), rather than the more modern 10 – five for each player. According to Dmitriy Skiryuk, the reason for the shift from 14 pieces to 10 pieces was that many players desired to play Aseb and Senet on the same board, and Aseb only had 10 pieces and could not be played with 14 pieces, therefore the move to 10 pieces was necessary. This modification made a huge difference in the game of Senet.

  1. This made it possible to widen the spaces between parts.
  2. Players should avoid rushing to reach cell26 with a single piece as quickly as possible since the likelihood of falling into the trap and returning to cell15 is quite high, so they should take their time.
  3. Thus, playing with only 10 pieces causes the game to go more slowly and thus to be more fun to play.
  4. This will dramatically accelerate the game’s progress.
  5. The final piece is placed on cell 14.

Senet is driven more by chance than by strategy, which causes the participants to think less and the game to be played with less effort overall.


  1. R. C. Bell’s Board and Table Games from a Wide Range of Civilizations. 2012
  2. Walter Crist, Anne-Elizabeth Dunn-Vaturi, and Alex de Voogt (for the Courier Corporation)
  3. Walter Crist and Alex de Voogt (for the Courier Corporation). Games of Ancient Egypt: Board Games from Around the World. Piccione, Peter A. “The Egyptian game of senet and the movement of the soul,” Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016. Piccione, Peter A. “The Egyptian game of senet and the migration of the soul.” Ancient board games in perspective (2007): 54-63
  4. Piccione, Peter A., “In Search of the Meaning of Senet,” in Ancient Board Games in Perspective (2007): 54-63. Archaeology New York, NY33, no. 4 (1980): 55-58
  5. Archaeology New York, NY33, no. 4 (1980): 55-58

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