Ancient Egyptian Senet LETS PLAY THURSDAY
Today for Lets Play Thursday we play LITERALLY the oldest game in history. The app is called “Egyptian Senet” and is available on steam as well as for mobile downloads.
Senet was a boardgame invented by the ancient Egyptians over 4000 years ago and was their most popular game to play.
King Tut had several boards in his tomb, and the great royal wife Ramses II Queen Nefertari was also depicted playing Senet in her tomb playing against and invisible player, much like the game in 2018 now where you can play against the bot or against up to 2 players.
(NEFERTARI PLAYING SENET IN HER TOMB 1255BC)
Senet was played by both Royals, Nobels, and commoners. It was depicted in many tombs of the Nobels, and in the famous tomb of Kha & Merit one of the most beautiful boards were found. The board was not how we think of board games today. It was built like a table with the legs shaped like that of a lion and the top was a highly decorated box with draws on the sides to store the pieces.
(ONE OF TUTANKHAMUNS SENET BOARDS 1332BC)
The aim of Senet is to get all your pieces to the other side of the board before you opponent. It symbolized your journey into the afterlife, as along the way there are several tests and obstacles you had to face before you could be presented before Osiris to be allowed entry into heaven. The game mirrors this belief. There are special squares on the board that have different functions. The center block means if you land on it, your opponent can not switch places with your piece. The next is the NeferNeferNefer block which means “The most beautiful” and only by landing on this block can you be allowed to try to cross the nile to the other side. The next block is the nile it’s self, land in there and you are sent all the back to the beginning. Jump the nile and you land on other black with symbols in them which indicate the exact amount of score you need to throw to cross over.
There is no dice in the game, rather colored sticks with flat sides, each side is a different color – landing on certain colors will give you more moves. Each player is awarded with 7 pieces, brown or blue.
(SENNEJEM & HIS WIFE PLAYING IN THEIR NOBEL TOMB 19TH DYNASTY)
There are other version of the game where you take away pieces rather than swap places. Chess was derived from Senet, as in the late period during the Ptolemaic rule the Egyptians sent gifts to india, one of which was a senet board. The Indians loved the concept but felt like expanding the game…hence where Chess was born.
Another version is know as Dogs & Jackals, same concept, except your pieces pin into the board. The heads of your pieces are either a black team or a white team topped with a head of a dog for white, and black for the Jackal – bringing it back to the journey into the afterlife where the black jackal headed God Anubis leads you through the perils into the realm of Osiris.
(IVORY DOGS AND JACKALS SET - WORN PAINT 1900 BC)
Senet is a really fun strategy game, we really recommend you give it a try! iT IS AFTER ALL THE OLDEST BOARD GAME EVER.
Overall Rating: 9/10