A wood-and-ivory Senet set from the tomb of Tutankhamen, 14th c. BCE.p.n., a board game with its origins in predynastic Egypt; generally considered the oldest known board game; from Archaic Egyptian zn.t n.t ḥˁb “game of passing”; circa 32nd c. BCE.

Addendum: A Senet set usually consisted of a box to hold the (at least 10) pieces and die-like “throwing sticks,” with the board on top of the box. The real rules to Senet are unknown, but several rules sets have been suggested by researchers, and these are the rules used in modern recreations of the game.

Addendum #2: There is another Ancient Egyptian game, Mehen, although very little is known about it; it’s not as old as Senet. A Persian backgammon set has been dated to 3,000 BCE. Another very old board game is Nine Men’s Morris, which originated in Ancient Rome. Compare with chess, which in its current incarnation dates only to the 15th c. CE, although it predecessors go back as far as the 6th c. CE. Still, it’s the new kid on the block.

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