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Senet (Znt)DLP Game   

Period Ancient

Region Northern Africa, Western Asia

Category Board, Race, Escape


Senet is one of the oldest board games known in the world, documented from about 3000 BCE until the first millennium BCE in Egypt. It was also played In Cyprus for most of that time, and played at different times in the Levant. Though a full ruleset has never been found, hints from texts and tomb paintings in Egypt give us clues about the manner in which it was likely played. The game was also heavily imbued with religious significance, as the board itself represented the journey through the afterlife.


Played on a 3x10 board. Pieces can be five or seven in number. Two players. Four casting sticks used as dice. Boustrophedon track from top left to bottom right.

These rules were taken from the Historical Information ruleset.

All Rulesets

Scholarly rulesets
Kendall Standard rules proposed by Timothy Kendall.
Kendall Five Pieces Five pieces per player.
Kendall Starting Throw A throw of 1 is required to begin.
Kendall Trap Square 27 is a trap.
Kendall Home Row Cannot bear off until all pieces are beyond the home row.
Kendall Five Pieces Starting Throw Five pieces and starting throw rules.
Kendall Five Pieces Trap Five pieces and trap rules.
Kendall Five Pieces Home Row Five pieces and home row rules.
Kendall Starting Throw Trap Starting throw and trap rules.
Kendall Starting Throw Home Row Starting throw and home row rules.
Kendall Trap Home Row Trap and home row rules.
Kendall Five Pieces Starting Throw Trap Five pieces, starting throw, and trap rules.
Kendall Starting Throw Trap Home Row Starting throw, trap, and home row rules.
Kendall Five Pieces Trap Home Row Five pieces, trap, home row.
Kendall Five Pieces Starting Throw Home Row Five pieces, starting throw, home row rules.
Kendall All Options Five pieces, starting throw, trap, and home row rules.
Piccione Rules proposed by Peter Piccione.
Jéquier Rules proposed by Gustave Jéquier.

Suggested rulesets
Bell Suggested Rules from R. C. Bell.

Incomplete rulesets
Historical Information Rules of Senet from DLP evidence.
Simple Senet Played on a board with no markings.
Simple Marked Senet Played on a board with basic markings.
Middle Kingdom Senet Played on a board common in Middle Kingdom Egypt.
Early New Kingdom Senet Played on a board common in earlier New Kingdom Egypt.
Late New Kingdom Senet Played on a board common in later New Kingdom Egypt.
Vertical Senet Played with a vertically-oriented board and different markings.
Double Senet Played on two boards placed next to each other.
Cypriot Senet Played on simple boards with seeds or stones in prehistoric Cyprus.



Ludeme Description



Browse all concepts for Senet here.

Evidence Map

346 pieces of evidence in total. Browse all evidence for Senet here.

Click on any marker or highlighted region to view the evidence relating to it.
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Åström, P. 1984. 'Stones with cavities at Hala Sultan Tekke.' In C. Nicole (ed.), Aux origines de l’hellenisme: la Crète et la Grèce: hommage à Henri van Effenterre. Paris: Sorbonne, 9–14.

Ayrton, E. 1904. Abydos. London: Egypt Exploration Fund.

Bénédite, G. 1894. 'Tombeau de Neferhotpu, fils d’Amenemanit.' Mémoires publiées par les membres de la mission archéologique française au Caire (Paris) 5: 489–540.

Blackman, A. 1920. 'A painted pottery model of a granary in the collection of the late Jeremiah James Coleman, Esq. of Carrow House, Norwich.' Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 6: 206–208.

Bruyère, B. 1930. Mert-Seger à Deir el Medineh. Cairo: Imprimerie de l’Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale.

Buchholz, H.-G. 1981. ''Schalensteine' in Griechenland, Anatolien, und Zypern.' In H. Lorenz (ed), Studien zur Bronzezeit, Festschrift für Wilhelm Albert von Brunn. Main am Rhein: von Zabern, 63–94.

Capart, J. 1938. 'A Neo-Memphite bas-relief.' Journal of the Walters Art Gallery 1:13–18.

Carnarvon, Earl of and H. Carter. 1912. Five Years’ Exploration at Thebes. London: Oxford University Press.

Carter, H and A.C. Mace. 1933. The Tomb of Tut-Ankh-Amen. Cairo: Cassell & Co.

Carter, H and P. Newberry. 1904. The Tomb of Thutmosis IV. Westminster: A. Constable & Co.

Cherpion, N, J.P. Corteggiani, and J.-F. Gout. 2017. Le tombeau de Pétosiris à Touna el-Gebel: Relevé photographique. Cairo: Institut Français d'Archéologie Orientale.

Cohen, R. 1986. The Settlement of the Central Negev in the Light of Archaeological and Literary Sources during the Fourth-First Millennia BCE. Unpublished PhD dissertation, Hebrew University Jerusalem.

Coleman, J., J. Barlow, M. Mogelonsky, and K. Sharr. 1996. Alambra: A Middle Bronze Age Site in Cyprus. Investigations by Cornell University, 1975–1978. Jonsered: Paul Åströms Förlag.

Crist, W. 2016. Games of thrones: board games and social complexity in Bronze Age Cyprus. Unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, Arizona State University.

Crist, W. 2016a. Gaming stones morphological data. Harvard Dataverse.

Crist, W., A.-E. Dunn-Vaturi and A. de Voogt. 2016. Ancient Egyptians at Play: Board Games Across Borders. London: Bloomsbury.

Daressy, G. 1902. Fouilles de la Vallée des Rois 1889–1899. Cairo: Imprimerie de l’Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale.

Davies, N and A. Gardiner. 1915. The Tomb of Amenemhet (No. 82). London: Egypt Exploration Society.

de Buck, A. 1961. The Egyptian Coffin Texts. Oriental Institute Publications 87. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

de Meulenaere, H. 'Review of Das Senet-Brettspiel im alten Ägypten.' Chronique d'Égypte 56: 89-90.

Decker, W. 1987. Sport und Spiel im alten Ägypten. Munich: Verlag C.H. Beck.

Deveria, T. 1897. Les jeux de dames en Égypte. In G. Maspero (ed.), Mémoires et Fragments II. Bibliothèque Égyptologique 5. Paris, 83–96.

Dunand, M. 1954. Fouilles de Byblos Tome I. Parios: Maisonneuve.

Dunand, M. 1958. Fouilles de Byblos 1933–1938 Tome II. Paris: Maisonneuve.

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Emery, W. 1979. Fortress of Buhen: Archaeological Report. London: Egypt Exploration Fund.

Faulkner, R. 1972. The Book of the Dead: A Collection of Spells. New York: Limited Editions Club.

Firth, C.M. 1927. The Archaeological Survey of Nubia. Report for 1910–1911. Cairo: National Printing Department.

Frankel, D. And J. Webb. 1996. Marki-Alonia: An Early and Middle Bronze Age Town in Cyprus. Excavations 1990–1994. Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology 123:1. Jonsered: Paul Åströms Förlag.

Frankel, D. And J. Webb. 2006. Marki Alonia. An Early and Middle Bronze Age Settlement in Cyprus. Excavations 1995–2000. Sävedalen: Paul Åströms Förlag.

Fugmann, E. 1958. Hama: fouilles et recherches 1931–1938 II.1: L’architecture des périodes préhellénistiques. Copenhagen: Fondation Carlsberg.

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Karageorghis, V. And M. Demas. 1984. Pyla-Kokkinokremos: A Late 13th Century B.C. Fortified Settlement in Cyprus. Nicosia: Department of Antiquities.

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Needler, W. 1953. A thirty-square draught board in the Royal Ontario Museum. Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 39: 60–75.

Needler, W. 1983. 'Review of Das Senet-Brettspiel im alten Ägypten.' Journal of the American Research Center in Egypt 20: 115–118.

Petrie, W.M.F. 1888. Tanis Part II: Nebesheh (Am) and Deffeneh (Tahpanhes). London: Egypt Exploration Fund.

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Piccione, P. 1984. 'Review of Das Senet-Brettpiel im alten Ägypten.' Journal of Egyptian Archaeology 70: 172–180.

Piccione, P. 1990. The Historical Development of the Game of Senet and its significance for Egyptian Religion. Unpublished Phd Thesis, University of Chicago.

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