Long before Warhammer and Warhammer 40k, long before Axis & Allies, long before chess and even long before backgammon, there was the Royal Game of Ur, mankind’s oldest documented tabletop game.
A game so ancient, the God Emperor of Mankind may have played it in the days of his youth.
Since, as the name already hints at, it was played in my favourite ancient culture, Sumer, I of course was interested when I first learned of its existence.
The game, whose rules had been lost when a game board was first discovered in the Royal Cemetery of Ur and dates to 2500 BCE. At the time of discovery, only fragments of the board, dice and gaming pieces were retrieved. The rules, written in cuneiform, were discovered several years later and in a different place. The rules are really simple and short:
Yes, that’s all the rules. Yes, I know. Few of you can read cuneiform so this set of rules is little help. Never fear! The game is available at a game retailer of your choice, in a translated version, obviously. Also, there is a full playthrough video with two interesting characters playing. Enjoy and learn some ancient history: