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How Khet Works

How to Play Khet
Thinking ahead is important when playing Khet.
Thinking ahead is important when playing Khet.
Luke Hooper/

Khet requires players to plan ahead -- but just barely. About the time you think you've theorized how to bounce your laser off four other pyramids to strike the winning blow, the game changes because of continually migrating and rotating game pieces.

To begin the game, the silver player goes first. Each turn will have two actions. First, you'll either move a piece one square in any direction (as allowed by the game piece's limitations) or revolve a piece 90 degrees. Second, you'll use your sphinx to fire a laser. Before you fire, you'll want to map your laser's trajectory mentally, because it's surprisingly easy to take out your own game pieces.

If a pyramid is hit on its non-reflective side by a laser, it's removed from the game. The same goes for a pharaoh, or for an Anubis that is struck on the side. Scarabs and sphinxes are impervious to flying lasers. One potentially tricky rule to keep in mind: You have to fire your laser each turn, even if you've accidentally placed one of your own pieces in harm's way. The laser beam will make a right or left turn with each mirrored surface it hits, continuing until it runs out of reflective surfaces. The beam is designed to follow the rows or columns in a modular, rather than angular, fashion.

In addition to defending your pharaoh, your strategy should include creating a pathway of mirrors using your own pieces (or fortuitously placed opponent's pieces) so that when you fire your laser, it hits an opponent's vulnerable game piece. It's not as simple as maneuvering your pyramids and scarabs into position, though.

Opponents can block your plans by putting their pieces in your path, or by rotating their mirrors to send your laser at a different angle. Plus, there are certain squares that are off-limits. You can't put a game piece into a square that contains a red Eye of Horus symbol; this makes it more challenging to take out an opponent's pharaoh or Anubis successfully.

In rare cases, a game of Khet could end in a draw. This only occurs if the game starts to feel like "Groundhog Day" because game pieces end up in an identical arrangement again and again.