Play Khet Online
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Khet is a chess-like abstract strategy board game using lasers that was formerly known as Deflexion. Players take turns moving Egyptian-themed pieces around the playing field, firing their low-powered laser diode after each move. Most of the pieces are mirrored on one or more sides, allowing the players to alter the path of the laser through the playing field. When a piece is struck by a laser on a non-mirrored side, it is eliminated from the game. A few elements of the gameplay, therefore, are slightly similar to the computer game Laser Chess.
Under its original name, the game was a Mensa Select Award winner. Its name was changed on September 15, 2006. The new game retains the same rules of gameplay, but has a different design, including a new color scheme and a new box design. Under the new name, the game was one of five finalists for the 2007 Toy of the Year award.
Professor Michael Larson and two students, Del Segura and Luke Hooper, designed the game as a class project at Tulane University. (Professor Larson is now at the University of Colorado.) The game was introduced to the public in the spring of 2005, and was first brought to prominence at the New York Toy Fair of that year. The game was first shipped in October 2005. The first Deflexion World Championship was held December 10, 2005 under the dome at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Registration was free, and the participants competed for cash and other prizes. The winner was an MIT student.
Under the new name, Khet, the first Regional Championship took place in April 2006 at the famous Café du Monde in the New Orleans French Quarter. Twenty-four participants competed for a number of prizes. As a special bonus, the Eye of Horus beam splitter was unveiled at the very end, and used by each player in the championship game. Khet was also featured on a recent episode of the HGTV show “I Want That: Tech Toys”. Footage from the New Orleans tournament was included in the broadcast.
Each player starts the game with 14 playing pieces (arranged in one of several predefined configurations) and a laser mounted in the far right-hand column on his or her side of the board. Djed and Pyramid pieces have mirrors (one on the Pyramid, and two on the Djed) positioned such that when the laser beam strikes a reflective side, it reflects at a 90° angle. Players try to position pieces in a fashion that allows the laser beam to reflect into the opponent’s Pharaoh, thus winning the game; however, they must also try to protect their own Pharaoh from being struck by the laser beam at the same time. On each turn, a player either moves a piece one square in any direction, or rotates a piece 90 degrees clockwise or counterclockwise. After moving, the player must fire his or her laser, and any piece hit on a non-reflecting side is removed from play.
The pieces in the game are:
- The Pharaoh is the most important piece for each side. If hit with a laser, it is destroyed and its owner loses the game. Similar to a king in chess, the Pharaoh pieces are comparatively weak, and so are often not moved unless under duress.
- Djeds (renamed to Scarabs in Khet 2.0) are large, dual sided mirrors, with each player possessing two. Due to this design, they cannot be eliminated from the board, and are thus very useful for attacking and defending. However, because of their two mirrors, they can also be used against their owner. The Djed may switch places with an adjacent Pyramid, Obelisk, or Anubis of either color.
- Pyramids have a single diagonal mirror. Each player starts out with seven of these. If hit on an unmirrored side, they are eliminated from the board. Pyramids are good for deflecting lasers but also vulnerable.
- Obelisks are large pillars. They have no mirrored sides and thus are eliminated when hit by the laser. Obelisks are useful as a sacrifice in a tight situation. Each player starts the game with two stacks of two obelisks, which can be unstacked and restacked throughout the game at will. If hit when stacked, only the top obelisk is eliminated. In the original Deflexion, however, there were no stacked obelisks, and every player had two to begin with.
- Anubis replaced Obelisks in Khet 2.0 and were not in previous versions of the game. They have no mirrored sides and are eliminated when hit on the side or rear but not when hit on the front. Each player starts with two Anubis.
Three opening setups are most commonly used: Classic, which is the standard starting configuration, and is the best setup for one’s first time playing; Imhotep, which is a variation on the Classic setup that introduces new defensive possibilities; and Dynasty, which has a fairly even mix of offense and defense, and moves quickly. However, any configuration agreed upon by both players can be used. In Deflexion, half the pieces were gold, and half were silver. When the company changed the name to Khet, the gold pieces were changed to red. In Deflexion, gold always goes first, and in Khet, silver always goes first.
Most new Khet players allow their opponents to “control” the game, and focus on attack or defense depending on the actions of their opponent. However, more experienced players often concentrate on quickly building up a strong defense, and then relentlessly attacking their opponent’s pieces, aiming ultimately to reach the Pharaoh. Some take this strategy even farther, and spend almost the entire game focusing on creating an impenetrable defense, simply waiting for their opponent to make a fatal mistake, or to leave themselves open to allow a quick strike at their Pharaoh. The average game lasts approximately 10 minutes, however a game between experienced players may take much longer.
Two expansions have been released for the game. The Eye of Horus beam splitter expansion adds a new piece that is similar to a Djed, but which splits the beam. When a beam strikes the beam splitter, half bounces off at a right angle, as with the other mirrored pieces, while the other half continues on directly through the mirror, thus creating two beams out of one and adding a new strategic element to the game. Eye of Horus beam splitters are available in gold and silver, for those who own the old Deflexion game, and in red and silver, for those who own the newer Khet game. With the expansion pack, each player receives one beam splitter, which replaces one of their Djeds.
The most recent expansion, released on May 15, 2008, is called “Tower of Kadesh”. It adds a 3D element into the game by adding a second level to the game board. The base of the tower has four mirrors that bring the laser up to the top of the tower.In addition to moving a piece horizontally or rotating it, players may move a piece vertically up to or down from the tower, or may move or rotate the tower itself.
In January 2011, a new edition of Khet called “Khet 2.0″ was released. The gameplay is still the same, but the board and the pieces got a new modern look. The expansions released for Khet 1.0 are not compatible with Khet 2.0, however, “The Eye of Horus 2.0″ was released in 2011. There are plans to release “Tower of Kadesh 2.0″ as well.
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