The Royal Game of Ur

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The Royal Game of Ur: the famous race game played by the kings and queens of ancient Ur.

This is a modern reproduction of an ancient Sumerian game board with its drawer for dice and pieces. The original set dates from about 2500 BC and is now in the Museum’s collection. It was excavated during the 1920s by Sir Leonard Woolley, who uncovered it in a tomb in the royal cemetery at Ur in southern Iraq.

The game is a race between two players on a board of twenty squares. For some three thousand years this was the most popular board game across the whole of the ancient Middle East, played by kings and commoners with equal enjoyment and excitement.

Understanding how it was played has been a detective story, combining archaeological evidence with ancient writings in Babylonian cuneiform and the recurring features found in traditional race games. What made it so successful? Why did it spread so far and last so long? Can we recapture the essence of the game that makes sense of its history?

Two exciting versions have been recreated, using a unique set of ancient rules which give evidence for the Royal Game of Ur as it was played in 2500 BC. The basic version is a simple reconstruction based on the board plan and its markings, the dice and pieces. The advanced game is later in date and overlays extra features on the basic game.

Includes:

  • 1 x game board for basic game
  • 1 x game board for advanced game
  • 2 sets of seven game pieces for the basic game
  • 2 sets of five game pieces (for the advanced game)
  • 5 tetrahedral dice

Total counters – 36 blue, 36 red and 60 white

Full rule book in English.

Please note: Rules for the advanced game have been worked out by by British Museum Curator, Irving Finkel in discussion with historian, games scholar and author, David Parlett based on the text of the ancient cuneiform.

The original ancient game has always been an important piece in the Museum’s collection but its popularity escalated when the British Museum launched a YouTube video showing Curator Irving Finkel, playing the game with famous YouTuber Tom Scott, which has become the most viewed British Museum video on YouTube, watch the video here.

Read more about Professor Irving Finkel here.

Read about games scholar, historian and author David Parlett here

---Please note: The board itself has a smooth and untextured surface---

  • Product Code: CMCR64040
  • SUBTITLE: British Museum
  • Exhibition: I am Ashurbanipal: king of the world, king of Assyria
  • Details: Game for 2 people, age 14 +
  • Weight: 0.30 Kg

The Royal Game of Ur: the famous race game played by the kings and queens of ancient Ur.

This is a modern reproduction of an ancient Sumerian game board with its drawer for dice and pieces. The original set dates from about 2500 BC and is now in the Museum’s collection. It was excavated during the 1920s by Sir Leonard Woolley, who uncovered it in a tomb in the royal cemetery at Ur in southern Iraq.

The game is a race between two players on a board of twenty squares. For some three thousand years this was the most popular board game across the whole of the ancient Middle East, played by kings and commoners with equal enjoyment and excitement.

Understanding how it was played has been a detective story, combining archaeological evidence with ancient writings in Babylonian cuneiform and the recurring features found in traditional race games. What made it so successful? Why did it spread so far and last so long? Can we recapture the essence of the game that makes sense of its history?

Two exciting versions have been recreated, using a unique set of ancient rules which give evidence for the Royal Game of Ur as it was played in 2500 BC. The basic version is a simple reconstruction based on the board plan and its markings, the dice and pieces. The advanced game is later in date and overlays extra features on the basic game.

Includes:

  • 1 x game board for basic game
  • 1 x game board for advanced game
  • 2 sets of seven game pieces for the basic game
  • 2 sets of five game pieces (for the advanced game)
  • 5 tetrahedral dice

Total counters – 36 blue, 36 red and 60 white

Full rule book in English.

Please note: Rules for the advanced game have been worked out by by British Museum Curator, Irving Finkel in discussion with historian, games scholar and author, David Parlett based on the text of the ancient cuneiform.

The original ancient game has always been an important piece in the Museum’s collection but its popularity escalated when the British Museum launched a YouTube video showing Curator Irving Finkel, playing the game with famous YouTuber Tom Scott, which has become the most viewed British Museum video on YouTube, watch the video here.

Read more about Professor Irving Finkel here.

Read about games scholar, historian and author David Parlett here

---Please note: The board itself has a smooth and untextured surface---

  • Product Code: CMCR64040
  • Weight: 0.30 Kg
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