FAE fireballs over the desert sands

Note: The images and concepts on this homepage and subsequent pages are copyrighted: copyright 1996 P.S. Neeley, all rights reserved.


The gods alone live forever under

the divine sun; but as for mankind,

their days are numbered,

all their activities will be nothing but wind.

(ancient wisdom from Sumer)

The Royal Game of Ur for Windows

It begins with a scream and weapons fire, but it is a very gentle, lovely story and game. A glitch in the 'ears' of your remote listening post equipment has forced you out alone on watch at the front edge of the Allied Desert Storm thrust deep into Iraqi territory. Unexpectedly (to say the least!) out of the luminescent hell of FAE (Fuel Air Explosives) walks your Great, Great, Great, Great, Great, Great . . . (Well you get the idea) . . . grandfather on his way from Eridu to Ur. For you it is 1991, for him it is 2200 B.C., and as each of you tries to convince the other that you are from the present and the other is from the past, you play your grandfather's game -- for he is an expert craftsman of Ur.

'The Royal Game of Ur' is the most ancient board game known -- predating even Egyptian Senet by about 300 years. It appears to have been very popular among the Sumerian rulers and to have spread from Sumer to sites all over the ancient world from India to the Mediterranean. The ancient Egyptian game '20-Squares' (dating from about 1800 BC), for instance, is very likely a version of this game.

 'The Royal Game of Ur' is of course not the game's real name -- Its actual name is lost in antiquity, but because of the examples of it found in the royal cemetery of Ur, the game soon came to be called 'The Royal Game of Ur' among archaeologists.

 The game is played with fourteen markers -- seven to a side -- with two sets, one for each player, of three curious pyramidal dice. The boards the markers move on are variously made but all share distinct rosette markings on strategic squares.

 'The Royal Game of Ur' was played in ancient Sumer and Mesopotamia since before at least 2500 BC. Now it is here again in the present, re-created through the magic of electrons and phosphorus, for you to play. Welcome to a game of the ancient Sumerians -- Noah, Sargon, Shulgi, Abraham, and now you!

Download it right from here (ur.zip -- 725 Kb)

Interested in just the rules and history of the game?  Then download just the Windows Help file if you'd like.

Note: This program requires VBRUN300.DLL to exist on your system.

Interested in the ancient Near East? All known 'web' knowledge of this region and time can be found at AZBU - A GUIDE TO RESOURCES FOR THE STUDY OF THE ANCIENT NEAR EAST AVAILABLE ON THE INTERNET.


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the 'Royal Game of Ur' playing board