B is for Board games


Yep, that's right. The ancient Egyptians loved board games just as much as we do - probably more, since they didn't have consoles or computers to play on. Board games were very common in ancient Egypt, and were played by people from all levels of society.

Archaeologists have found many game boards from ancient Egypt, but unfortunately not the rules explaining how to play the games. However, experts have made some educated guesses about how the Egyptians used to play these games.

Taken from here
The picture above is a game board for a game called Senet. Here's how you play:

- Throw the sticks to see how many squares to move your piece forward.
- If you throw a one, four, or six, you get an extra turn.
- You can't land on one of your own pieces.
- If you land on the other player's piece, you switch places with them. However, you can't switch with them if they have two or more pieces in a row.
- If the other player has three or more pieces in a row, you can't pass them.
- Some squares are ‘safe' squares and some are ‘danger' squares. You will learn what they are as you play.
- The first player to get all of their pieces off the board wins the game.



Another popular game was Mehen, particularly for the lower classes because the game board could be drawn or carved onto any surface. Wealthier Egyptians had game tables made on a pedestal. Players start at the tail of a snake that is coiled around the board. The body of the snake is split into squares, typically around 60. The object of the game is simple: be the first to get from the tail to the snake's head.

A game board for Mehen
Taken from here


Comments

  1. I didn't know board games were so popular and Senet sound complicated :) Thanks for the info.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings

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  2. Oh how fun! I had no idea archaeologists had found games like these. Have to agree with Natasha that Senet sounds really complicated LOL.

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  3. That's crazy!! We used to play the swirly one in the street, with chalk when I was little. You had to hop the squares on one foot and if you touched the lines, you had to start over, and that box got x-ed so no one could hop in it. ....at least I think that's how it went...

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  4. What cool board games. It's a shame we don't know the rules to play them.

    A-Z Challenging at Untethered Realms.

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  5. This is really interesting! :) I didn't know about either of these, and I find ancient Egypt really fascinating. You've found some great information!

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  6. I remember playing early console games in the late 70s. Imagine a box the size of a DVD player hooked into your TV on which you play simple, monochromatic games that involve moving blocks around the screen. One day, archeologists will be digging those things up and trying to figure out how these ancient people entertained themselves before the advent of holographic virtual gaming consoles... :)

    This is fascinating, Laura! I wonder if anyone actually makes these games? Thanks for sharing.

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  7. I love games! I'm geeked that my husband is getting into tabletop games and nerdy card games (Dominion is a good one) because now he understands the joy of a good game.

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  8. I love trying board games, but I'm kind of lousy at them. As to being behind in the AtoZ, aren't we all? Keep going.

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  9. Board games were a huge part of my childhood, and I still love them as an adult. These games look interesting. It'd be fun to travel back in time and play a round or two.

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  10. Board Games in Egypt! So great to learn something new. Hmm...wonder if I can work that Mehen snake game into the conversation next time I want to sound intelligent?

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  11. Yay for board games! And I had no idea board games went that far back. Coolies! :)

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  12. I didn't realise board games were so popular so long ago!

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  13. Oh this is so neat! I wish I could play Senet. :D

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  14. I love the Mehen design!! I think I would probably hang that on my wall...lol

    Interesting post for B!!

    Carrie~Anne at That Dizzy Chick

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  15. I hope board games last for another few centuries.

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  16. I'm a board game fan, always have been. Someone could probably market the senet today or maybe they have already?
    Shells–Tales–Sails

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  17. I like board games too. I keep trying to get my kids into them too because they're way more social than video games.

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  18. I like the sound of Senet. It's interesting that board games haven't really changed that much - throw the dice and move your piece, with some obstacles and adventures along the way! :-)

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  19. Hi, Laura. I love board games!! Very cool that that kind of entertainment and play has been around for so long.

    Happy A to Z-ing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

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  20. That's so cool. I had no idea that really old board games had been found or that they were even playing them.

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  21. Someone should try and market those games. Deceptively simple looking... :-) Great subject, I love learning new things!

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  22. I love board games. How fascinating to learn they were played in ancient Egypt! Really cool ;)

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  23. The Egyptians played board games, too? That's awesome. I wonder if cavemen ever played tic-tac-toe on cave walls. ;)

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  24. howdy, thanks for visiting me. I'm not allowed to play games due to being a sore loser. I can't help it. But if I played a game with you I'd be fine. I just hate losing to my husband - yes, a minor issue in the marriage. Oh well. Happy A to Z

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  25. I find ancient Egypt fascinating. This game sounds very fun to play, who said we need a computer to have fun.

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  26. Oh I have always loved board games and I am always half curious half in awe about ancient Egypt. And this bit of information that you gave me is awesome

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  27. Monopoly is my favorite! It's the one game my husband's never beat me at!

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  28. Who knew ancient Egyptians loved board games? Senet sounds rather complicated. I'm curious as to how archaeologists have puzzled out the rules.

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  29. The senet looks amazing. Wish I could try it out.

    Damyanti Co-host, A to Z Challenge 2014, Latest Post

    Twitter: @damyantig
    #atozchallenge

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  30. Real Interesting !!! Keep it up !!!

    My cousin's and I really luv to play "Daya-Kattai" (Ludo) every year we get together for family occasions !!!

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  31. Who have thought it! Thanks for researching and sharing this information. I'm amazed with what I'm learning on this A to Z Challenge!
    :)

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  32. Early Snakes and Ladders. This was very interesting, I love board games and it's cool to see how Ancient Egyptians enjoyed them too.

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  33. I think that last game would be hard, and last a long time! I like board games, or card games or dominoes, etc. Fun post!

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