WatUR: Royal Game of UR, ModURnized
WatUR: Royal Game of UR, ModURnized
The ancient two-player race game from the cradle of civilization gets upgraded with printed circuit board technology
The ancient two-player race game from the cradle of civilization gets upgraded with printed circuit board technology Read more
WatUR is based on the Royal Game of Ur, a game that became popular in Mesopotamia in 2500 BCE. This version has been redesigned with new motifs from the ancient Sumerian culture of the original game. But instead of shell inlaid in a wooden board, the fish, turtles, mountain goats and stars are etched in copper on fiberglass. These symbols are all related to Enki, the Sumerian God of Water.
The boards are cut into the unique arrangement of twenty squares with computer controlled routers. Paired with custom molded black and white dice and melamine stones, the game of WatUR is a beautiful and durable game that will last a lifetime.
If the kickstartUR goal is reached, the boards produced to fulfill the rewards will constitute a limited edition. These boards will be numbered on the back. Any subsequent editions will be modified in some way to set them apart.
The WatUR game set includes 8 custom binary dice, 4 white and 4 black, for snappier game play without passing the dice back and forth. (The video above uses binary dice from my other printed circuit board game, TransistUR. This game can be found on the Beachton Blank Works Etsy store.)
The printed rules for WatUR include the basic game appropriate for ages 4 to adult. It takes an average of 25 minutes. There is also an altURnate route for a longer game which takes 45 minutes to an hour and a half. There are additional game rules for the Royal Game of Ur on the internet. They all work with the WatUR game board.
Rewards are priced for free shipping in the US. Outside the US I may be able to ship more than one of the rewards for the same shipping cost. Get together with your friends and save on multiples.
Reward Level Vortex
This reward level is a set of the custom dice, with a fun activity thrown in — MiniatURe, for coloring. It comes with 1/2" wide plastic Go stones. They are barely bigger than lentils. In fact, when you lose them, lentils would probably be a good substitute so you can keep playing. I have enough of these precious little game pieces for 25 sets of MiniatURe.
Reward Level Mountain Goat
This is the main reward for the complete game of WatUR. It includes the whole game of WatUR — printed circuit board, black and white melamine stones, custom black and white dice, and printed rules. I will include a hand made fleece dust cover and drawstring bags for the game pieces.
Because of the unique shape and construction of the fiberglass board there are opportunities to display it on a shelf or hang it on the wall or the side of a book case. It just takes two small nails or tacks. You can display the stones and dice in a jar or clear box nearby.
Reward Level River
This reward level is for the game of WatUR plus a PresURver. Printed circuit boards are water safe. Unlike cardboard games you could actually play it on the bottom of a swimming pool. To complement that negative buoyancy I designed the PresURver. It's made of nylon and closed cell foam, similar to a life vest. You could take it kayaking, camping, sailing, to the beach or just out by the pool and you don't have to worry about damaging your game.
I can make presURvers all black, with a pink lining, or with a green lining. If I make my goal with this kickstartUr I'll send out a survey so you can choose which color you prefer.
Reward Level Star
This is a combination reward of River and Mountain Goat. Two complete sets of the game with both levels of packaging, one in the simple dust cover with drawstring bags and the other with the PresURver and floating holdURs.
Board dimensions: 124 mm x 323 mm (approximately 4.88 in x 12.72 in)
Dice: 16 mm square, rounded corners
Stones: Melamine Double Convex Go Stones, 7.5 mm x 21 mm (approximately 0.3 in x 0.83 inch)
I've been fascinated with the Royal Game of Ur since I saw a playthrough video with Tom Scott and Irving Finkel on International Tabletop day. Ur is a 4500 year old board game discovered during the excavation of a Royal Tomb in Ur by the British Museum in the 1920s. Watch the video for the history of the game including a look at the cuneiform tablet with the rules.
I studied images of the reproduction game that Scott and Finkel played in the video and worked out which squares were similarly decorated. I realized there was no reason I had to use the same images as the original. As long as I matched the pattern of the squares then all the rules work just the same. The decorations themselves aren't important, only that they are repeated in the same places. I don't actually like the all-seeing eye as a decorative object. I researched decorative motifs from Sumer and settled on the theme of Enki, God of Water.
I wanted to play the Royal Game of Ur because of the dice. You just have to count to four, not do actual arithmetic like a lot of games with dice. It may seem trivial if you don't have dyscalculia, but for those of us who do, these dice are a real treat.
I also liked the challenge of designing a game that doesn't rely on color as a key decorative feature. WatUR is compatible with all varieties of color deficits.
Risks and challenges
Everything is fully developed, prototyped, and tested. I've even mailed these to myself to make sure my packaging is sufficient.
There is no difference between prototype and production on the circuit boards. They are a fast turn item and will be in my hands within 2 weeks of uploading the Gerber files and placing the order online.
The custom dice, however, have a 4 week lead time and a large minimum order.
Both the boards and the dice have to be imported into the US from overseas. They are single source items at this price.
If either of these sources fall through I can use other vendors but the product may change slightly. I will keep all backers informed of any changes to the final product.
Because of the delay getting funds from Kickstarter and the 4 week lead time on the dice I will not be able to send rewards by Christmas.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (24 days)