History of the Royal Game of Ur

By DiAnn Mills @DiAnnMills

I heard about the Royal Game of UR while watching an educational film about ancient Mesopotamia. Curiosity got the best of me, and my husband paused the program to search online for more information. The Royal Game of Ur is a board game dating back 4,000 years ago. That’s a long time to keep a game in circulation. Possibly the oldest.

For the Bible scholar, Abraham originated in the land of Ur (Genesis 12:1). I’d like to think Abraham played Ur with his family and friends. The ancient city thrived with trade from the Persian Gulf. At first, this seemed confusing to me, but further reading showed the Persian Gulf flowed much farther inland than today.

I wanted to share with you how the game intrigued us.

My husband found the game online and downloaded an app to his iPad. The rules are easy, and we quickly found our competitive natures with Ur tournaments. In the app, there’s mysterious background music that plays and when moving pieces (stones), the sound of rock against rock gives the exciting ambiance of the time.

But the fun didn’t stop there! We introduced the game to our grandchildren, ages fourteen, eleven, and nine. The competition swirled. Not long afterward, we met with friends who’d brought their grandchildren. Boredom with us oldies but goodies set in, and my husband introduced them to Ur. They forgot all about us adults.

When writing Concrete Evidence, I needed something for a man who’d discovered a fifteen-year-old sister. Their initial awkward meeting turned after the sister invited him to play the Royal Game of Ur on her iPad.

Readers, here are a few sites for a physical game. Most are in limited supply.


The British Museum


Online versions:


https://gameofuronline.com This site also has interesting information about the game.

There are iOS and Android app versions you can locate as well.

You can explore the history of this board game from the following sites:




And for those who are interested in the ancient city of Ur:


Let me know your adventures with the Royal Game of Ur.