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Senet Rules

How to Play Senet: Senet Rules

Senet (or Sen’t or Senat) is an ancient Egyptian board game. This game is one of the oldest known board games in the world, with its history dating back to around 3100 BC. Even though records of the original Senate rules have never been retrieved, a great deal of the board game’s play has been recreated over the years based on studies of ancient Egyptian religion and culture. If this over 5,000-year old game has piqued your interest, you should go ahead and familiarize yourself with the Senet rules:

Setup: Set the Senet game board, ten pieces, and four Senet sticks.

The Senet game board consists of thirty squares called houses, arranged in three rows. The squares are labeled in numbers from number 1-30. Out of the 30 squares, there are five special houses with symbols, which include house number 15, 26, 27, 28, and 29. These special squares are also referred to as “Safety Squares.”

The game pieces, also referred to as counters, can be any small, movable objects that can fit in the squares/houses. Five pieces should be of the same color or shape, and so should be the other five pieces. The two players should take five pieces each.

The four Senet sticks with one side painted in white paint and the other side in black paint.

Senet Game Play: The game starts with players placing their game pieces on the first row of the board. One player should put his pieces on the odd-numbered squares from 1-9, and the other should place on the even-numbered squares from 2-10.

Casting the Dice: The first player should throw the four Senet sticks to determine the number of moves he’ll make when moving his pieces on the game board. For instance,

  • Four black faces up – move five squares and throw once 
  • Three black faces up – move one square and throw once
  • Two black faces up – move two squares
  • One black face up – move three squares
  • Four light faces up – move four squares and throw once

Players should alternate turns casting the dice, in this case, throwing the game Senet sticks.

Moving Game Pieces: One of the Senet Rules is that a player doesn’t have to move the same piece each time. If a player lands on a house that’s already occupied by the other player, he can take his piece and place it on the square number 15.

Ending the Game: Players should keep going until one of them has moved all of his game pieces off the board by landing on the end square, which is square number 30.