Game by Horst Alexander Renz
Published by Pharao-Brettspiele, München, undated (circa 1992?)

Rules translated from the French by Daniel U. Thibault (selinur@IO.com)
13 July 1997

This game uses the rules and pieces of the Ancient Egyptian game of Tjau. It is played by two people and involves no luck whatsoever.


The board is divided into twenty squares arranged in a "T" pattern. Whereas the Tjau game did not use the two oblong spaces on either side of the tail of squares, Ramses does.


| A |   |   |   |                               |
|   |   |   | C |   |   |   | D |   |   |   | E |
| B |   |   |   |                               |

Special Squares

A Marked with the hieroglyphs for "King of Upper and Lower Egypt"
B Marked with the hieroglyphs for "Son of Ra"
C Marked with the hieroglyphs for "Amon-Ra"
D Marked with the hieroglyphs for "Ra-Harakti"
E Marked with the hieroglyphs for "Ptah"

FIGURE TWO: Numbering Scheme

| 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |               5               |
| 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 |10 |11 |12 |13 |14 |15 |16 |17 |
|18 |19 |20 |21 |              22               |

Each player has four playing pieces, shaped like traditional Senet pieces. The light player has cones and the dark player spindles.


The light player places his pieces on squares 2 through 5; the dark player places his pieces on squares 19 through 22. The pieces on the oblong spaces (spaces 5 and 22) must be lined up with square 10. Decide randomly which player shall be dark and which shall be light. When playing successive games, the players should switch sides. Decide randomly who goes first.


The object of the game is to either:


On his turn, a player first moves one of his own pieces and then one of the opponent's pieces.

A piece moves orthogonally (up, down or sideways but never diagonally), going from its starting square onto neighboring empty squares. A piece cannot enter an occupied square while moving nor end its move on an occupied square. A piece cannot enter the same square twice during its move.

The number of squares a piece moves is determined by its starting position; it is given by the greater of the number of pieces occupying its row and the number of pieces occupying its column. Always count the piece itself. Thus an isolated piece moves one square.


|   |   | X |   |                     X         |
| Y |   | X |   |   |   | Y |   |   |   | X |   |
|   | Y |   |   |     Y                         |

For example, the X piece on square 3 would move 2 spaces (because there are two pieces on its row and two pieces on its column); the Y piece on square 6 would move 4 spaces (because there are 4 pieces on its row, a larger number than the one piece on its column).

A piece in an oblong space (spaces 5 and 22) must always be kept lined up with one of the squares 10 to 17. When writing down the position of pieces, the pieces on squares 5 and 22, if any, should also note the square they line up with. For example, the game in Figure Three would be written down as:

X = 3, 5(15), 8, 16; Y = 6, 12, 19, 22(11).

If a piece enters an oblong space from 4 or 21, the player chooses which square (10 to 17) to line it up with. If it enters from 10 to 17, it is kept lined up with it. A piece entering from 4 or 21 can only continue into one of 10 to 17 and vice-versa; it is thus not legal to move from, for example, 10 to 22 to 12. An oblong space is occupied as soon as a single piece is in it; only one piece may occupy an oblong space.

Opponent's pieces occupying special squares cannot be moved.

On his opening move, the first player is not allowed to occupy any special squares.


A player is "locked up" if he has no legal move. This costs him the game.


Of the two other games published by Pharao-Brettspiele, Pharao uses a Senet board and Isis uses an unnamed Ancient Egyptian board. Pharao is played using rules entirely different from the original Ancient Egyptian rules of Senet, although it does keep an element of luck through the use of special dice. Pharao is also a two player game, while Isis can be played by up to seven players.

P. S. Neeley's shareware implementation of Tjau (which he calls the game of 20 squares) uses five pieces per player. Nevertheless, a game of truly Ancient Egyptian Tjau could be played with the four pieces per player supplied with Ramses. Or one could come up with two sets of five pieces, somehow.