At the start, the game pieces (or counters) are arranged as shown. In turn, the players throw the 4 sticks to determine the number of houses to move, the piece on house 10 moves first, they move through the squares, (called houses) in the order shown by the numbers and, if they land on one of the opponent’s pieces, they moves it back to the start and take over that house. If they are blocked in and cannot move, they lose a turn. For a piece to get home from the last three houses the player must throw exactly 3, 2, and 1 respectively. The winner is the first to get all 5 pieces off the board at the end of the last row. Rules for blocking, safe spaces and the special houses are given below. Players must always make a move if they can.


  •  1 white side up: move 1 house and toss again (bonus throw).
  • 2 white sides up: move 2 houses and lose a turn.
  • 3 white sides up: move 3 houses and lose a turn.
  • 4 white sides up: move 4 houses and toss again (bonus throw).
  •  4 black sides up: move 5 houses and toss again (bonus throw).
  •  When you get a bonus throw you can move any of your pieces.


  • If a player has 2 or more pieces in a row then they are safe and cannot be taken but both players can jump over them.
  • A row of 3 or more of the same players’ pieces together are safe and they form a block which the opponent cannot jump over.
  • A piece on the House of Happiness is a block because all pieces must visit it and no 2 pieces can occupy the same space.
  • You cannot land on one of your own pieces, you must make a different move with another of your pieces. If you can’t make a different move you lose your turn.


  • Square 15. The House of Rebirth A safe space; you get a bonus throw if you land there.
  • Square 26. The House of Happiness A safe space; you cannot go past it without stopping on it. Even if your throw would take you past you must stop there anyway.
  • Square 27. The House of Water Here you drown in the River Nile and go back to the House of Rebirth but you don’t get a bonus throw.
  • Square 28. The House of Three Truths A safe space; you get a bonus throw. You can only move if you toss a 3.
  • Square 29.The House of Ra Atum – the primordial god A safe space; you get a bonus throw. You can only move if you toss a 2.
  • Square 30. The House of Ra Horakhty – dual deity of Ra and Horus A safe space; you get a bonus throw. You only move if you toss a 1.

Senet was played in Egypt from 5000 years ago. There are different versions of the rules. Learning the rules takes a while so help each other for the first few games until everyone knows the rules. When you know this version of the game well, then you might like to try out other rules.

In some variations of the rules:

  1. Six throw-sticks are used.
  2. If you land on an opponent’s piece you push them back! Rather than sending them to the top row you swap their piece with yours, placing your opponent’s piece in the square you were on.
  3. If you land on the House of Happiness (square 26), then immediately that piece goes straight to the finish and off the board.

Design and make your own gameboard. Research the Egyptian deities and get ideas for the design. Use flat ice-lolly or lollypop sticks for the dice.


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