The game Senet used to be one of the most popular games in the old Egypt. Not only was it played by children, but also by adults – even by the pharaohs themselves

Further material for this article.


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Even the mummies received Senet as a grave good – that is how popular this game was in the old Egypt

The game Senet

(the Egyptian sign for the board game; the symbol also exists in the Pelikan font type Egypt: key: #) used to be one of the most popular games in the old Egypt. Not only was it played by children, but also by adults – even by the pharaohs themselves. It was so popular, that it was given the dead as a grave good, so they didn’t get bored in the afterlife.
This is what you need:
Game plan, crafting templates, sticks, Colorella Duo pens, tokens (about 3-7) in two different colors (e. g. from a checkers game)

Target of the game is to get all of your own tokens out of the game field with exactly one throw. Hereby, all of your own tokens can be reused and the opponent thrown out. However, be aware: Mysterious things might happen on some of the fields and some of the „houses“ protect you from being thrown out!


It’s as easy as this (game preparation): 

Game plan

First, print out our download templates. Use the Colorella Duo pens to color the game board the way you like it. Alternatively, a blank game board can be printed out and designed with own hieroglyphs.


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Back then, the people played by using sticks instead of a dice. Print out the download template of the sticks and glue it on a piece of cardboard. After having let it dry, cut out the sticks and paint them from the one side in a light color (e. g. in white) and on the other side in a dark color (e. g. in black). When you are playing, shake the sticks and then throw them onto the table. The image to the left will show you which numbers count.

Caution: There is no number 4 or 6! Should 4 white sticks be thrown, it counts as a 5, 4 black ones count as a 0!


Rules of the game

For a better understanding of the rules, the single fields (houses) were given the numbers as shown in the following imagery

Game Tokens

The Egyptians used small rocks or balls to play Senet. The number of tokens can be varied. The game will take proportionally longer when 7 tokens are used – in our case, each player has 3 tokens (stars), which are put up in turns, at the beginning of the game:

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Game play

When playing, the tokens go in serpentine lines. You only go forwards, not backwards. The arrows show the game direction:

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Basic rules:

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  • Whoever can go, must go.
  • If your own token is occupying a field, you may not go.
  • If the field is occupied by an opponent, the token is out of the game and has to start from the beginning. Therefore, the sticks are thrown and the token is put on one of the green fields at the beginning of the game. (The fourth field cannot be reached, as the number does not exist in the game.
  • If you are standing on either 26, 28, 29 or 30, you can only reach the finish line by throwing the exact number needed to finish. For example, on the field number 26 you will need a 5 to finish, or on the 28 you will need a 3, and so on. On the yellow fields, you cannot be thrown out of the game!
  • House no. 27 is a water trap. Whoever steps on it, must go back to field no. 15, the field of resurrection. However, if someone else is already standing here, both tokens are thrown out of the game and have to start from the beginning.
  • Special rule no. 1: Blockade – If two players are standing on the same color beside each other, they cannot be thrown out of the game.
  • Special rule no. 2: Give all the fields names. The old Egyptians did so, too! House no. 26 is also called the House of Luck. If someone reaches this field, he/she gets another turn.

The first to dice all his tokens off the playing field, wins. However, the game Senet also offers many opportunities to adjust the game to the way you like it best. You can e. g. add more rules or hieroglyphs to the game. The traditional rules are not always consistent and differ from each other.