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The Boy in Black had a board game, which was a variation of old Egyptian Senet. He found the board and black and white pieces on the beach and invented his own rules for it. He and Jacob frequently played the game with each other. When questioned about the validity of his rules, he told Jacob that one day the latter would have his own game, and then he could make up his own rules.
The young Man in Black found the game in the sand while wandering the beach. He quickly created a set of rules and asked his brother Jacob if he wanted to play, under the condition that he wouldn't tell their mother. Jacob asked why he wouldn't be allowed to tell her. His brother replied that she would take it away if she knew. Jacob accepted the conditions and played.
Later that day, Jacob met his mother. He tried to lie about what he and his brother had been doing. However she saw through his lie and got him to tell the truth. She met the Man in Black at the beach. He knew that Jacob had told her the truth, but she let him keep the game, and told him that she had left it there for him.
The Man in Black and Jacob playing Senet.
One day while playing the game, the Man in Black told Jacob that he couldn't move sideways because it is against the rules. Jacob questioned the validity of the rules, and was told that he would have to follow them for now; one day he could make up his own game, and then everyone would have to follow his rules.
Black and white gamepieces found in a pouch with Adam and Eve. ("House of the Rising Sun")
After the Man in Black left Jacob and their mother to live with the other people on the Island, Jacob would visit him and play Senet. When their mother learned that the Man in Black had found a way to leave the Island, she destroyed the wheel he had built, burned the village, and killed its inhabitants. Amongst the ruins, the Man in Black found the board game. He returned to his old residence and left the pieces there in a bag. When his mother made notice of them, he stabbed and killed her.
Senet is a game from predynastic and ancient Egypt. The oldest hieroglyph representing a Senet game dates to circa 3100 BC. The full name of the game in Egyptian means "game of passing." By the time of the New Kingdom in Egypt (1567–1085 BC), it had become a kind of talisman for the journey of the dead. Because of the element of luck in the game and the Egyptian belief in determinism, it was believed that a successful player was under the protection of the major gods. Historians believe that Senet was the precursor to more modern games such as Backgammon.
The Senet game board.
The Senet gameboard is a grid of thirty squares, arranged in three rows of ten. A senet game has two sets of pawns (at least five of each and, in some sets, more). The actual rules of the game are a topic of some debate, although historians have made educated guesses.
- Egyptians believed in determinism (fate) and luck, leading them to bury the game with their dead to ease their passage through the afterlife. Mother died with the senet game next to her in "Across the Sea".
- The black and white playing pieces are referred to as pawns - some believe they are being used as pawns by Jacob/the Man in Black.
- The Egyptian Book of the Dead says to "please the deceased at playing draughts (the same as senet) and sitting in the Seh Hall and of coming forth as a living soul."