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Top 10: Ancient Board Games

Board games were a pastime long before Monopoly starting ruining Christmas

Ancient Games

Tutankhamun must have loved Senet; he was buried with no fewer than five boards
ALAMY X1, AKG IMAGES X1, GETTY X9, REX/SHUTTERSTOCK X1

SENET c3100 BC

The contender for the oldest board game discovered so far has to be Senet, played on a 30-square grid with two sets of pawns and throwing sticks, as the earliest hieroglyphics showing it being played date back to the 31st century BC. The full name means ‘the game of passing’, and many of the squares feature hazards one might face on the journey to the afterlife. It’s even referenced in the Book of the Dead – a set an funerary texts. The rules are unknown but it’s thought that the first player to get all of their pawns off the board wins.

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About BBC History Revealed Magazine

In this month's issue… Everything you ever wanted to know about castles The complete story of the greatest emblem of the medieval age: how they evolved from simple forts into impregnable bastions, how they were built without modern machinery and how you could break into one. Plus: the Women's Liberation Movement; the peasant who became Japan's second great unifier; top 10 ancient board games; the football match that sparked a war; and a graphic guide to London Zoo's most famous residents.