£225
pledged of £750pledged of £750 goal
17
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Aug 30 2016
£225
pledged of £750pledged of £750 goal
17
backers
Funding Canceled
Funding for this project was canceled by the project creator on Aug 30 2016

About

Restored Art Board
Restored Art Board

The Royal Game of Ur is over 4500 years old and is presented here as a fully reworked and restored digital interpretation of the original board found in the Royal Tombs of Ur that is now curated at The British Museum. The game was discovered in Ancient Sumeria with 14 pawns, 3 four sided dice and 3 sticks of unknown purpose. The original rules of the game are thought to be lost in the distant past and there are many proposed rules of play. 

The Rules
The Rules

Some recent decades ago a clay cuneiform tablet was identified as containing rules for a game of 20 squares but unfortunately there is not a public translation of the original Sumerian cuneiform that is in the public domain. Little is really understood about the rules other than the rosette squares have special significance. 

Game of Ur - Curated at the British Museum
Game of Ur - Curated at the British Museum

Restoration of the board artwork

Original board and restored board image for games
Original board and restored board image for games

Digital reworking of the game board involved taking each individual cell on the grid and de-warping it back into a square which were then re-assembled into a regular grid of 20 squares. Then the lapis lazuli separators were bent back into straight line strips and returned to the restoration grid in their original layout positions. Next, the largely destroyed shell and pottery border was again de-warped into straight strips and positioned back into their original positions with black bitumen used to fill the lost areas. The board edges, made from shell and for the most part lost, were dewarped and then tiled to make a long enough pattern such that the entire board perimeter could be rounded off with shell lining. Once the board was restored in form and structure the process of removing stitching and tiling artifacts began. This was a time consuming process that required proofing every pixel of the reconstruction several times and painting out errors and painting in flaws and gaps. When this was complete the last and most time consuming stage began, and each and every missing piece of shell and pottery that makes the tiled border were painted over the bitumen background. This process involved fine detail reconstruction of small parts and difficult integration of the restored components into the neighborhood of the existing fine detailed features. This was a long and difficult process. Finally, when all parts had been restored the resultant image was edited for improved coloring and tonal balance and made print ready. All these tasks took several months.

Sample from the restored board
Sample from the restored board

The Rules

The rules are not known and there are several variations on the rules that use a very simplistic race game model. These existing games are not satisfying and do not lend themselves to the idea that the game is the precursor to backgammon, checkers ( draughts ) and chess. After lots of effort myself and dear friend Kit Sandham came up with a set of rules that are intuitive and seem to resemble the way the board intends to be played. We are both quite confident that we have come reasonably close to the actual rules, but well can't be certain of that until a tablet comes out of the round with the original rules on it. Presumably the game was well known to the people of the day and that is why there is not a definitive translation of the rules.  

Rule book - page 1
Rule book - page 1

The rosette squares, entry and exit squares are explained further on the second page.

Rule book - page 2
Rule book - page 2


Rewards

The standard reward is a mailer tube version of the game with 7 white pawns, 7 colored pawns, 3 rollable 4 sided dice with binary spots, a roll-out board and an instructions leaflet. Colors are available in red or black.

Basic Red Set
Basic Red Set

 

Basic Black Set ( photoshopped )
Basic Black Set ( photoshopped )

Production & Costs

Production is a simple project wherein printing the boards will be the most time consuming and risky project component. As all parts can be readily ordered it should not take more than 6 weeks to order, fulfil and ship all orders. The cost of shipping is this projects biggest cost and the price for a mailer tube in the UK is £4.95 which is expensive. To add to costs I have recently discovered that I still have to pay VAT on goods exported to the USA, which is ridiculous but it is indeed the law for flat rate VAT traders such as myself. Thus, VAT is the second single biggest cost. The transaction cost, VAT and shipping are more than 60% of the cost of delivery.  

 Stretches 

Why don't you tell me what I can do ? I have to be up front about this, I do not expect this project to make enough sales to make the volume required for manufacturing custom components. To make a custom mailer tube with my own artwork on it I have to order 2000 units, to manufacture a new dice production run I have to order 3000 units per color. There is some scope I am sure, but it is also important to bear in mind that if the weight of the mailer-tube goes over 100 grams then the shipping costs go up too. 

However, if we get near 500 unit sales then I will certainly revisit the possibility for interesting product enhancing stretch rewards.

If you have a great idea then post it up and we can all talk about it :) ! 

( and finally ... )

These are the rollable 4-sided dice that I have for the product. I have many many rollable 4-sided dice and have customised them for this project with spot stickers. They seem to be durable and haven't come off for months. ( even if they did you could stick 'em back on :) )

Rollable 4-Sided Binary Dice
Rollable 4-Sided Binary Dice

 Updates

New backer reward - 6 Dice

6 Dice Backer Reward
6 Dice Backer Reward

 

Risks and challenges

All the work has been done for this project. The tasks that remain at the end of the campaign is the printing of the boards.

If there are stretch out rewards these will need to be manufactured too, but there is nothing outstanding on this project that needs much concern.

If more dice are required then I have already sourced the manufacturer and they have already manufactured dice for me.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £9 or more About US$ 11

    6 Spot Dice

    Six dice - 3 red and 3 black ( FREE SHIPPING )

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    2 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge £15 or more About US$ 19

    Standard Red Set

    RED SET Mailer Tube version of the game. Including stretch out rewards for this tier. (FREE SHIPPING)

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    Limited 6 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £15 or more About US$ 19

    Standard Black Set

    BLACK SET Mailer Tube version of the game. Including stretch out rewards for this tier. (FREE SHIPPING)

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    Limited 5 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge £20 or more About US$ 25

    Immediate Set ( RED or BLACK )

    Mailer Tube version of the game.
    ( Ships IMMEDIATELY after end of campaign - FREE SHIPPING)

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    Limited 2 backers
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Funding period

- (26 days)