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How to Play Senet

Senet is an ancient Egyptian board game played on a 3x10 grid board. It was being played before 3000 B.C. and have been found in burial tombs. One of the most eleaborate boards belonged to King Tutankhamun. No rules have survived and many game historians have sought to reconstruct the game. These rules are by British Museum curator, Irving Finkel.

Step 1: Arrange the Pieces


  • Each player gets 7 pieces and they are placed on the top half of the board alternating colors.

Step 2: Learn the Rules

  • After the board is setup, the first player takes 4 casting tokens and throws them to determine the value how much to move their piece. The value is determined by how many marked sides are up. If no marked sides are showing the value is 5.
  • Pieces can only move forwards.
  • You can land on a vacant spot or swap places with an opponent’s piece if it’s undefended.
  • If you have two pieces right next to each other on adjacent squares, they defend each other and therefore cannot be swapped.
  • If you throw a 1, 4 or 5. You get to throw again. (All throws must be complete before moving pieces)
  • The sum of multiple throws can be divided among several of your pieces.
  • You cannot swap pieces that are on safe squares.
  • The last 5 squares are special:

    Square 26: Safe square, must throw 5 to leave this space.
    Square 27: Water square, go back to the beginning of the board.
    Square 28: Safe square.
    Square 29: Safe square, must throw 2 to leave this space.
    Square 30: Safe square, must throw 1 to leave this space.

The first player able to get all 7 of their pieces off the board wins.