I’ve never owned a game where I got to activate an actual laser to kill enemy pieces. You can imagine my surprise when I heard that such a game existed. I first discovered it a few years ago on ThinkGeek and later ordered it on Amazon…I wasn’t disappointed.
Khet is similar to chess in that both players are trying to capture (or in this case, fry with lasers) one very important piece. Players will be moving their pieces around the board and rotating them so that the mirrors reflect the lasers to benefit them…that is…by killing enemy pieces.
It’s worth noting that my version of Khet was released in 2005. There is a newer version out there, Khet 2.0, which was released in 2011. The pictures you will see and the components I mention reflect the 2005 version.
Board – The board consists of squares and two built in lasers. Some of those squares are filled in as silver or red…red pieces cannot go on silver squares and vice versa.
Pieces – Each side has four main types of pieces. The pharaoh is a unique piece on both sides and happens to be the one that players will need to protect at all costs. One laser strike on the pharaoh and it’s game over. The djed has two mirrors, one on each side, that reflect lasers off of its diagonal. It can also swap places with any piece it wants. The pyramid only has one mirror on one side, and the obelisk piece has none.
Setup & Gameplay
There are multiple ways to setup the board. The rulebook comes with a few that players can utilize until they want to try and make up their own.
Gameplay is very simple…a piece can move one space in any direction or rotate ninety degrees, and then the laser closest to that player is fired. When a laser strikes anything, whether it is an enemy piece or your own, it is removed from the game. Nothing happens if the laser strikes a wall.
Players continue moving / rotating a piece and firing their lasers (insert “IMA FIRIN MAH LAZOR” joke here) until one of the pharaohs is hit. Obviously, you’d want to do everything in your power to prevent your pharaoh from being zapped.
As an ex-professional chess player, I can appreciate Khet. Players are always forced to think ahead and accept the rewards (or consequences) of their actions. Moving the wrong piece can really set you back, if your opponent is good and is paying attention.
I had my son defeated in about ten moves, but I refrained from finishing him off to give him time to enjoy his experience. About thirty moves later, he won the game, and then we went over where I could have gotten him during two-thirds of the game. It’s for this reason that I enjoy games like Chess and Khet…I can hold back or be a real jerk when I want to be. When you’re dealing with kids however, I prefer being a teacher instead of the dad that everyone hates playing with.
Vinnie Jr commented that he enjoyed playing the game and figuring out where the laser was going to go after moving one of his pieces. He had trouble understanding the route the laser took and how the laser bounced off of the diagonal of right angles. He kept expecting the laser to shoot diagonally despite my insisting that it would only flow horizontally and/or vertically. Given time, like in chess, I can see him becoming very good at the game.
If you’re a fan of games that require you to think ahead, then Khet is right for you. It can be as simple or difficult as you make it out to be, and the ability to setup the game however you please adds a ton of replay value. I highly recommend this game to players of all ages.
I’m not sure where you’d find the 2005 version…perhaps on EBay. For your convenience, I’ve added the 2011 version via an Amazon link below. The gameplay looks very similar and I’m sure you’d have fun with that version too.
Final Verdict: 9/10