By Jana Bohrer
In Egypt, by 1077 BC backgammon had become a talisman for the dead. It was believed that a successful player was lucky; and thus protected by the powerful deities Gengen-Wer, the goose god, and Heket the goddess of frogs. Consequently, boards were placed in the grave to ward off attacks by watch geese and flies in the afterlife.
Conversely, players who had failed in 36 consecutive games to roll an opening 3-1, were held to be cursed by Bes the dwarf god.
The Book of the Dead Chapter XVII mentions that such people were routinely transformed by Bes into “little people” who were trampled under the chariots of Pharaoh.