Playing The Royal Game of Ur - Sumerian Activities

Week 2: We played The Royal Game of Ur.

First we talked about the Legend of Gilgamesh and Sargon the Great King Sumerian King from the city of Ur. Thousands of years ago Sargon the Great had a postal system and roads crossing his empire.

Lost Civilisations - 01 Mesopotamia relates this time period to biblical history.

Gilgamesh is the most famous Sumerian King. His story was written down on clay tablets. We read Gilgamesh the King (The Gilgamesh Trilogy) to go along with this lesson. In the Last Quest of Gilgamesh, as Gilgamesh searches for immortality he has several adventures. Many of them remind me of the adventures Odysseus had in the Odyssey.

The Royal Game of Ur is one of the oldest known games. It was played 4600 years ago in Mesopotamia and still fun to play today. It has a lot in common with Sorry!, Parcheesi, Ludo and the German game Mensch argere dich nicht. 

Two players try to be first to work all seven of their pieces around the board. If they land on a rosette (flower) they get another turn. If they land on their opponent, the opponent's piece has to start over.
There are four triangular shaped dice. We happened to have some at home so I covered them with white paper. Using hollow versions entirely out of paper would work well for this activity as well.

Two of the four points on each dice are colored. When the four dice are rolled the total is the number of colored points facing up. Using these dice rolls of 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4 are possible.

This game is simple enough for kids as young as three or four years old to play, but fun for many ages.

I created this Royal Game of Ur board. Feel free to print it out and give it a try.

Here's a video that explains all the rules of play.

To see our other activities connected with history studies please visit our history page.


  1. Thanks for sharing, I always love finding new games for students! Have a great week!

    Love to Learn

  2. I've never heard of this game. Seems interesting. Thanks so much for linking up at the Real Family Fun link party! Hope to see you next week.

  3. You've got 4 sided dice, that made me smile.


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