Senet possibly the oldest board game ever

This version of the game includes a wooden board made of 4mm poplar core ply which gives it strength but is still quite light. The outside of the box is then coated with 3 coats of varnish.

The game originally used throwing sticks instead of dice but some people use coins instead of these. Each player supplies his own coins and the winner gets to keep them all.

The drawer contains – 8 throwing sticks (Xs on one side and Os on the other), 8 dice, two sets of playing pieces (with a spare of each colour in case of loss) and the rules.

Senet (sometimes called Senat)

Senet may be the oldest board game in the world. The oldest hieroglyphics displaying a senet game date back to 3100 BC.

Senet is a two-player game where each player has 5 pieces. The object of senet is to be the first player to get all your pieces off the board.

In Senet, you play on a board consisting of 30 squares, referred to as houses.

The houses are arranged in 3 rows, with 10 houses in each row.

The object of the game is to move through the board, eventually getting all your pieces off the board.


  • A senet board consisting of 3 rows of 10 houses each.
  • 4 binary indicators (originally split sticks coloured on one side).
  • 2 sets of five pieces coloured or shaped so that each players pieces can be easily recognised.

Pieces are placed on the first ten squares of the first row with the colours alternating.


The binary indicators (in this version we use standard dice taking note of odd and even numbers) are used to determine the number of moves the player can move a single piece as follows : Throwing sticks with x as odd and 0 as even or coins (not supplied)  can also be used.

  • All even numbers – 5 moves and an extra throw
  • 1 odd and 3 even numbers  – 1 move and an extra throw
  • 2 odd and 2 even numbers – 2 moves
  • 3 odd and 1 even number – 3 moves
  • All odd numbers – 4 moves and an extra throw

Play proceeds with the pieces moving is a wide s pattern with pieces moving right on the top row left on the second row and right on the bottom row.

A square can only be occupied by one piece at a time.

If no pieces can move, the turn is passed.

If a piece lands on an opposing piece, the opposing piece is moved back to the square that the attacking piece started the move from, but a piece that is accompanied (has a piece of the same side in one of the adjacent spaces) cannot be attacked.

The House of Happiness (Square 26) cannot be passed over. Every piece must land upon it before preceding onward.

The House of water (Square 27)is to be avoided – when a piece lands on this square, the piece is returned to the House of Rebirth(Square 16) (In this case if the house of rebirth is occupied the piece is returned to the first empty square before the house of rebirth.

A piece on any of the last five squares is not protected from attack by being accompanied..(see variations)


Variation 1) The first ten squares are simply the starting point of the game and are not used as part of the game track which is therefore reduced to 20 spaces. In this case all pieces must land on the house of rebirth (Square 15 now Square 5) instead of the house of happiness. Attacked pieces are returned to the start. Pieces on the second row are still moved right to left.

The following variations can be used with the original rules or Variation 1.

Variation 2) Three of the same player’s pieces in a row is a blockade and cannot be passed (all three pieces must be on the same row)

Variation 3) Squares 26, 28 and 29 are all protected.

Variation 4) use a single die for throws where 1 to 5 designates the number of moves and 6 is considered a lost turn