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Senet

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SenetGame

Senet Game Board

Senet is an ancient Egyptian game. What is known about this game comes from paintings on the walls of tombs. The rules were never recorded, so new ones have been created.

Equipment

  • Board (a 3x10 grid)
  • 10 or 14 pawns, depending on whose rules you're using
  • 4 flat sticks (marked on one side)

The board has 5 special squares.

  • R2C6 (row 2, column 6) is the House of Rebirth (marked with an ankh symbol)
  • R3C6: House of Happiness
  • R3C7: House of Water
  • R3C8: House of the Three Truths
  • R3C9: House of the Re-Atoum

Rules

Gameplay starts at the upper left-hand corner, goes all the way to right, drops down one row, goes all the way to the left, drops down one row, then all the way to the right again (in other words, in a Z pattern).

Bell's rules

  1. Each player has 10 pieces.
  2. Players take turns throwing the sticks. Unmarked side up counts as 1 point. If all 4 sticks land with unmarked sides up, they count as 5 points.
  3. After throwing the sticks, a player may choose to put a piece on the board, or move one of their pieces already on the board. The 5 special squares are starting points, and the throw of the sticks decides where a piece comes into play: R3C10 with a throw of 1, R3C9 with 2, R3C8 with 3, R3C7 with 4, and R3C6 with 5. Only one piece may occupy a square.
  4. If a piece lands on a square already occupied, the opposing piece is removed from play, and must start over. (This rule does not apply to the starting points.)
  5. The first player to reach the last square (R1C1, upper left-hand corner) gains 5 points. That player must then get all of their pieces into the odd-numbered squares (R1C3, R1C5, etc.) of the first and second rows, while the opponent tries to get their pieces into the even squares. Once a piece is placed into its final position, it cannot be removed from play.
  6. Once a player has moved all pieces into their final places, he or she gains 10 points, and 1 point for each move his or her opponent makes after that.

Kendall's rules

Please note: Kendall's rules are a little vague in some respects. In places where the wording was ambiguous or confusing, we have applied our own interpretation.

  1. Alternate both player's pieces on the first 14 squares (R1C1-C10, and R2C7-C10). R2C6 (House of Rebirth) is the starting point.
  2. Players take turns throwing the sticks. These are used to determine how many squares you can move. (After a throw, a piece is selected to move that number of squares.) Unmarked side up counts as 1 point. If all 4 sticks land with marked sides up, they count as 5 points.
  3. If a piece lands on an occupied square, it takes over that square, and the conquered piece is sent to the conquering piece's former position.
  4. The special squares have these rules:
    • House of Happiness (R3C6): All pieces must land directly on this square before they can pass it. (A player cannot ignore a throw. If the throw is too high to land on the House of Happiness, then that piece must move back.)
    • House of Water (R3C7): If a piece is on R3C8-C10, and must move back to this square, they are sent back to the House of Rebirth.
    • House of the Three Truths (R3C8): Piece cannot leave until a 3 is thrown.
    • House of the Re-Atoum (R3C9): Piece cannot leave until a 2 is thrown, then it leaves play.
  5. The player who removes all of his or her pieces from play first wins.

Tait's rules

  1. The players have pieces which are differentiated by shape and color. Player 1 has 5 pyramids or cones, preferably green, and player 2 has 5 reels (flat, round pieces like checkers), preferably green.
  2. 5 sticks are used, instead of 4. They are black on one side, and white on the other. Scoring is done by counting the number of white sides that come up. If all sticks fall black side up, it counts as 6. (Anytime this happens, that player gets an extra turn.)
  3. Gameplay starts at the upper left-hand square, and ends at the lower right-hand square.
  4. The special squares have these rules:
    • House of Rebirth: A piece on this square cannot be attacked.
    • House of Happiness: Throw sticks again.
    • House of Water: Piece is removed from play, and must start back at the beginning.
  5. To get a piece onto the board, a player must throw a 4 or a 6. On 4, the piece enters play on R1C4; on 6, the piece enters play on R1C6.
  6. To get a piece to exit the board, a player must throw the exact number, plus one. For example, if a piece is 3 squares away from the end, you must throw a 4.

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