This game was found in a digging site in Saqqara region, south of Giza, where I announced this discovery a short time ago, to be circulated all over the world.
It was found inside a well and next to a coffin belonging to an important ma dating back to the New Kingdom, that is, three thousand years ago.
This game is one of the mental games that the man played with his wife and peers, as it relies heavily on thinking. The Twenty squares Game is not an original Egyptian one, but it is a Babylonian origin that came from Mesopotamia (Old Iraq).
And that game appeared for the first time on the walls of the Beni Hassan tombs (in Middle Egypt) that date back to the 12th Dynasty, about 3700 years old.
The game has been described under the name Asb, and is possibly a perversion of the Babylonian word aspo, meaning deep.
This game was among the gifts sent by one of the Mittani kings, King “Toshara”, to King Amenhotep III, on the occasion of his marriage to the daughter of the Mitanni monarch.
As for how the ancient Egyptians practiced that game, it was playing on rectangular board divided into twenty squares in three rows, the middle row contains 12 squares, and two short rows containing four squares in each row.
And a drawer is attached to store the playing pieces. As for those pieces, they consisted of five pieces for each player, and they differed in shape from the other five.
It is believed that they took the conical shape or artistic forms such as the head of a dog, a lion, a jackal, or the shape of the dwarf “Bs” and they are not engraved.
Each square was distinguished from the other by drawings of a flower or a shape symbolizing good luck, while some of them contain words expressing the benefit or harm to the player.
The players were sitting on short benches with no support with their legs spread on small cushions while playing.
As for the course of the game, it was based on square pieces of “dice” or short or long sticks of wood or ivory, which the player throws into and falls either on her face or on her back, and then the player moves his pieces according to the fall of the dice.
The winner is the one who first finishes moving all the game pieces safely into the middle row and off the playing board.
And one of the big figures called Betawers, the owner of a wonderful cemetery in Tuna al-Jabal, Central Egypt, appeared playing with his friends after lunch until it was time to have beer in the drinking hall.
It was a custom for the people of Thebes not to wait for the right time to drink beer, but rather they preferred to drink it while playing.
Contributed by Ahmed Moamar