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Royal Game of Ur DLP Game   

Period Ancient

Region Central Asia, Southern Asia, Western Asia

Category Board, Race, Escape


The so-called Royal Game of Ur—we do not know its ancient name—is one of the oldest known board games, dating to the third millennium BCE. While no rules have been passed down for this game specifically, a rule set based on a successor game, 20 Squares, has been applied to this slightly different board. The board consists of a grid of 3x4 squares, connected to a grid of 3x2 squares by a short bridge of 1x2 squares connecting the central rows of the other two grids. The game was played with four tetrahedral dice and 7 small disks per player as playing pieces.


4x3 grid with a 3x 2 grid connected by a "neck" of two squares. Five discs per player. Four tetrahedral dice.

These rules were taken from the Historical Information ruleset.

All Rulesets

Scholarly rulesets
Finkel Proposed by Irving Finkel based on rules from Mesopotamia.

Suggested rulesets
Murray Rules suggested by Murray.

Incomplete rulesets
Historical Information Rules known from DLP evidence.



See Also

20 Squares

Ludeme Description

Royal Game of Ur.lud


Browse all concepts for Royal Game of Ur here.

Evidence Map

6 pieces of evidence in total. Browse all evidence for Royal Game of Ur here.

Click on any marker or highlighted region to view the evidence relating to it.
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Frenez, D. 2018. Manufacturing and trade of Asian elephant ivory in Bronze Age Middle Asia. Evidence from Gonur Depe (Margiana, Turkmenistan). Archaeological Research in Asia 15: 13–33.

Piperno, M and S. Salvatori. 1983. Recent results and new perspectives from the research at the graveyard of Shahr-I-Sokhta, Sistan, Iran. Annali 43: 172–191.

Sarianidi, V. I. 2007. Necropolis of Gonur. Athens: Kapon Editions.

Woolley, C.L. 1934. Ur Excavations. Volume 2, The Royal Cemetery. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

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