Note: The images on this homepage and
subsequent pages are copyrighted: copyright 1996 P.S. Neeley, all
I have made my
boundary, out-southing my forefathers.
I have exceeded
what was handed down to me.
I am king, whose
speaking is acting;
what happens by
my hand is what my heart plans;
one who is
aggressive to capture,
who sleeps not
with a matter still in his heart;
thought for dependants, and stands by mercy;
unmerciful to the enemy who attacks him;
who attacks when
and is quiet
when it is quiet;
who responds to
a matter as it happens.
boundary stela of Senwosret III, erected about 1846 BC.)
20-Squares for Windows
Board games were immensely popular game in ancient Egypt --
two in particular: Senet (sometimes called 30-squares) and a game
we can only refer to as 'The twenty squares game'. The name of
this 2nd game is lost in the past, although earlier in this
century, due to a misunderstanding, Egyptologists thought it to
be called 'Tjau' (which means 'robbers').
20-Squares is often found on the reverse side of the ancient
Senet boards and both games used the same pieces, although they
are really quite different games. There is strong evidence that
20-Squares is not originally of Egyptian origin but instead
'invaded' Egypt from Assyria. It is most likely related to the
'Royal game of Ur' and may in fact be the same game (there are
similarities in the board and board markings). In any case,
20-Squares became a distinctively Egyptian game and extremely
popular in ancient Egypt from the period of around 3000 B.C to
If 20-Squares is a form of the 'Royal game of Ur', it may
pre-date even Senet by 300 or so years. When you play 20-Squares,
you are playing what is arguably the very oldest board game --
certainly older than the pyramids themselves by at least 500
The game was played on a board of, naturally, 20 squares; the
object being to get one's pieces on the board, then in a
'dog-leg' pattern around and down the central row of squares, and
finally off again at the far end. The game requires strategy in
the face of whimsical chance -- the 'chance' coming from 'casting
sticks', used as the 'dice' in older times, or in latter times,
perhaps from 'knuckle bones'. The most common playing pieces were
5 cones shaped pieces pitted against 5 reel shaped pieces (These
pieces were called 'ibau' which means 'dancers' in Egyptian).
20-Squares was played in Egypt for more than 3000 years. Now
it is here again in the present, re-created through the magic of
electrons and phosphorus, for you to play.
Welcome to the game of the ancients -- Pharaohs and commoners
But can you win the sacred scroll of Thoth or
will you die buried alive in the sands of Neferkapta's tomb?
Interested in just the rules and history of the game?
Then download just the Windows Help file if
Note: This program requires VBRUN300.DLL
to exist on your system.
Looking for 'Ancient Egypt' on the Web? Any of the following
are great starting points: