A two-player board game inspired by the Royal Game of Ur. Both the board and the pieces are made of beech wood and come with 3 pyramid dice and a version of rules to the world’s oldest board game.
Please note: Whilst this is an excellent game inspired by the original board, this is not the museum’s authenticated board game.
About The Royal Game of Ur in the British Museum The Royal Game of Ur, also known as the Game of Twenty Squares, refers to an ancient game represented by two game boards found in the Royal Tombs of Ur in Iraq by Sir Leonard Woolley in the 1920s. The two boards date from the First Dynasty of Ur, before 2600 BC, thus making the Royal Game of Ur one of the oldest examples of board gaming equipment found, although Senet boards found in Egyptian graves predate it as much as 900 years.
The Ur-style Twenty Squares game board was also known in Egypt as Asseb, and has been found in Pharaoh Tutankhamen's tomb, among other places. Discovery of a tablet partially describing the gameplay has allowed the game to be played again after over 2000 years, although reconstructions of the detailed rules have differed widely.
For International Tabletop Day 2017, Tom Scott was challenged by British Museum Curator Irving Finkel to a round of the oldest playable board game in the world – a game whose rules were rediscovered and deciphered by Irving himself. The video has since gone viral.
The wooden face is of 20 variously inlaid square shell plaques; edges made of small plaques and strips, some sculptured with an eye and some possibly with rosettes; on the back are three lines of shell triangular ornamental inlays.