- Senet Game -

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Senet, the game of passing, was a board game that was played on a rectangular board consisting of 3 rows of 10 squares called "houses". The board could be a grid drawn on a smooth surface, or a very elaborate box of wood and other precious materials. That this board game is of great antiquity is shown by its stylised representation as the hieroglyph The hieroglyph mn represents the gaming board for the Senet game. mn, the earliest occurrences of which are dated to the reign of the Horus Narmer, at the beginning of the Early Dynastic Period.

There were two players, each having a set of usually 7 pieces to play the game. The object was to move the pieces around the board in a snaking track to the finish, along the "houses" that represented either good or bad fortune. To determine how the pieces could be moved each player used throw-sticks or knuckle bones. The actual rules of the game and what determined its outcome are not known.
 

   
 

A Senet board, complete with game pieces, was found in the tomb of Tutankhamun. It was made of wood and ivory, inlaid with gold. A drawer held the game pieces and throwing sticks.

 

References to the Senet game are quite often found in a funerary context. A complete set as been found in the famous tomb of Tutankhamun. Representations of the deceased playing the game can be found on walls of tombs and in funerary papyri. It is, however, not clear if the game has a purpose in a funerary context, for instance as a symbolic representation of the deceased's journey through the underworld.