The Royal Game of Ur

I was recently introduced to the Royal Game of Ur and enjoyed watching this match between Tom Scott and Irving Finkel, a philologist and board game expert at the British Museum.

Finkel is an entertaining guide if you simply want to know the rules. The Royal Game of Ur is fun to play and has a nice balance of luck and strategy. But, as he states throughout the race, it’s what happens between the rules that make games worth playing. Here are a few of the lessons I learned:

  • In some contexts, cheating is admired — so long as you cheat properly
  • The further along you are, the more irritating it is to get knocked back
  • You often don’t know you’re going to win until you’ve won
  • Don’t tempt the gods