How to Play Senet, the Ancient Egyptian Game of the Pharaohs
Senet is a game for two players, each with a set of a maximum of 7 pieces, although the game can be played with lesser but equal number of pieces (i.e: 6, 5 , 4, etc. pieces each).
The board consists of 30 squares called houses, arranged in three rows of 10 squares each. The pieces are placed alternatively starting on square 1 and ending on square 14.
Blue plays first. You may start with any piece that can make a legal move.
Press the button to see how many squares to move your piece forward.
Pieces move around the board left to right in the first row, right to left in the second row and left to right in the third row.
• 1 = move 1 square and
A piece cannot land on a square occupied by a piece belonging to that same player.
When a piece lands on a square occupied by the other player's piece, they switch places, unless that player has two or more pieces in a row, in which case the pieces are “protected”. Pieces on squares 26, 28 and 29 are always safe from being switched.
When a player has 3 or more pieces in a row, it “blocks” the other player’s pieces and these cannot pass.
As you play along, you may encounter situations in which a move is not possible and you must therefore relinquish your turn. If you obtain a 1 or 4 and you cannot move a piece, you're still allowed another turn. This may go on until you obtain a 5 (lose a turn) or another number that lets you move.
The House of Rebirth (SQUARE 15): You land here after falling on the Nile(SQUARE 27). If the House of Rebirth is occupied (by you or your opponent), then you must land on the closest open square behind.
The House of Seth (SQUARE 21): This is an evil square. You must exit only with numbers 1, 4 or 6. This last number will drop you straight onto the river, though.
Getting the pieces out of the Senet board:
IMPORTANT: To exit the board, the first row must be emptied of that player’s pieces.
All pieces must land on the House of Happiness (SQUARE 26) before proceeding to the last three squares. From the House of Happiness you can move to any of the last 4 squares by obtaining the corresponding number:
• Get a 1 and you fall into the river and move back to the House of Rebirth.
• Get a 2 and you reach the House of the Spirits (Khu)(SQUARE 28). Moving from here to the last 2 squares is prohibited. You must get a 3 and leave the board.
• Get a 3 and you reach the House of the Double (Ka)(SQUARE 29). Moving from here to the last square is prohibited. You must get a 2 and leave the board.
• Get a 4 and you reach the last square. You must get a 1 to leave the board.
• Get a 6 and you get to leave the board.
IMPORTANT: Getting to the last 3 squares (28, 29, 30) require that you land in the House of Happiness first.
First player to get all of their pieces off the board wins the game of Senet.
Good luck and may the Neteru be with you.