It has been in the history that civilization started from old Egypt in 5500 BCE, and the ancient Egyptians were creative in the same ways that they made board games from stones, rocks, and wood.
Long before families enjoyed board games such as Monopoly, Yahtzee, and Candy Land on game night, ancient Egyptian board games were thriving in parts of the world. Many of these board games resemble modern games in the way they look and play.
Here are two ancient Egyptian board games that inspired today’s board games.
The Senet board game
Ancient Egypt introduced to the world a board game called senet, which stands as a “game of passing”. It is among the oldest known board games dating back to 3100 BC, where pieces of the boards were found in burials in Egypt.
The tomb of Merknera (3300-2700 B.C.) has a hieroglyph similar to the senet board, but the first painting of the game appeared in the tomb of Hesy (c. 2686-2613 B.C.).
The game Senet consists of 30 squares evenly arranged in three rows of ten. There are two pairs of pawns with at least five pawns each.
The original rules are still unknown, but there are pieces of text that reveal parts of the rules. The rules have probably changed over time, which means that the rules of modern Senet sets do not match those used in ancient Egypt.
The Mehen game
The Mehen, an ancient Egypt board game, was named after a serpent god in the ancient Egyptian religion. Evidence has been found of Mehen dating back from around 3000 B.C. to the end of the ancient kingdom around 2300 B.C. Physical boards and game pieces have been found that usually date back to the Predynastic and archaic period.
The game board resembles a coiled snake separated into several rectangular spaces, and game pieces were often manufactured using stones. This Ancient Egyptian board game has been found with different numbers of segments, but it looks like the number of sections had little importance during the game play.
The pieces of the game are believed to have been formed in the shape of a lion or lioness and created in sets of three, four, five, or six, along with a few small spherical pieces. The rules of Mehen are completely unknown today.