ROYAL GAME OF UR

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About: 1945 was a very good year. No, not for wine ... for me. I was born. Yes, I'm old, Father William, but brillig, and my slithy toves still gyre and gimble in the wabe. So let me welcome you to the Little Sho...

Two different versions of The Royal Game of Ur have recently been posted as Instructables and I found the concept so intriguing I had to give it a shot myself.

ROB'S VERSION

TIM'S VERSION

Step 1: HISTORY

This game dates back 4,500 years. The rules to play it were found and translated from a cuneiform tablet. Wifey and I played a game to test it and she kicked my butt. It was similar to Sorry with knocking an opponent back to start and having to exit the board on the exact roll of the dice. The game moves very quickly. We're a board game and game playing family. I made this for my eldest son as a Christmas present (nothing like getting an early jump on the season). I usually make things to dole out as presents like the chessboard for my youngest son's birthday.

HISTORY

IRVING FINKEL EXPLAINS THE RULES AND PLAYS A GAME

MY SON'S CHESSBOARD AND BOX

DISCOVERY OF GAME NOW RESIDES IN BRITISH MUSEUM

Step 2: MATERIALS

I posted pictures of the materials I used and will explain them in the various sections of the build.

Oak and poplar for the game board squares. Ebony for the game board inlay. Hardboard to glue the game board onto. Pallet wood, reinforcing dowels and purple heart for the box. Quarter inch ply for the bottom of the box. Cardboard, caulking, black spray paint, white paint for the dice. Wood dowel, polyurethane, ebony stain for the game pieces. Paste wax to make the cover slide better.

Step 3: TOOLS

I also posted pictures of the various tools I used to build this game.

Step 4: THE BOARD

The UR board is 8 squares long, the same as a chessboard. I happened to have a partial chessboard from one I messed up while building it for my youngest son. HERE IS THE CHESSBOARD INSTRUCTABLE I also found some ebony in a box of hardwood cutoffs I received as a gift. I routed a half inch dado and a quarter inch rabbet into which I inlaid the ebony. I glued the board to 1/4" hardboard.

Step 5: THE ICONS

Using my wood burning kit I burned in icons.

Step 6: THE TETRAHEDRON DICE

The tetrahedron dice (four-sided dice) were fun to make. I did try several methods and finally settled on the one depicted. I used the back of a Ritz Crackers' box. Drew a straight line. Using a compass set at 1 inch I made triangles, then connected the intersections, marked a dot for each of the 4 sides and lightly scored each line enabling it to fold. The earlier versions I made were too light. I filled these with caulking. Folding up the sides and making them even was not all that difficult. To hold everything together I used painter's tape and set them aside to dry overnight. I spray painted them black and painted each die with two white tips.

If you want to try to cut these from solid wood, see this video.

POLYHEDRONS CUT FROM SOLID WOOD

Step 7: GAME PIECES

I cut the game pieces (7 for each player) from a 1.5" dowel. When it came time to round them over I stopped! I have 36 stitches in my wrist from a router accident that happened in an instant of lost concentration. Accidents happen. My brother lost most of the fingers off his right hand in a radial arm saw accident. They were able to reattach all but one. So, for safety's sake, I built a jig. I love jigs. I've built quite a few if you'd like to check them out in my other Instructables.

Seven game pieces I polyurethaned and kept them the wood color and used my wood burning kit to add the dots; seven I stained ebony and drilled the dots into them.

Step 8: THE BOX

I used some scrap pallet wood for the box. I only did a moderate sanding and left the crack in one piece to add a butterfly wood joint to hold the crack together. I was looking for an 'old' look to the box and the board, something that might've been made by hand around an ancient campfire.

I cut a groove into which the top would slide. I mitered the corners and added dowels to secure them. I also added bamboo skewers as dowels to secure the pull end of the box. I rabbeted out the bottom and added 1/4" plywood which I both glued and brad nailed.

Step 9: SUMMARY

All in all, this build went fairly smoothly. I didn't post my errors and do-overs. We all have those. This is the first of several Christmas presents which I'll be making for family and friends. I hope you enjoyed. And as always, all comments are appreciated and all questions are answered.

KJ

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    11 Discussions

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    rbicher

    2 months ago

    I love this game. And I love your work!

    1 reply
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    Kink Jarfoldrbicher

    Reply 2 months ago

    I thank you, Regina. It's always nice to know my effort is appreciated. KJ

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    Kink JarfoldPenolopy Bulnick

    Reply 2 months ago

    Well, you can play it. You can make a paper version game board and use two different coins for the game pieces. Making the tetrahedron dice would be a snap for someone with your skills. And for some reason, I feel you had a hand in getting it FEATURED. KJ

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    Schabenstolz

    2 months ago

    Wow, that has become very nice. I especially like the different woods and the decor of the game board. I really need to work on my wood burning skills. :x Neat idea with dice making and the game board as a lid. :D

    Great Instructable, too. :)

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    Alex in NZ

    2 months ago

    Neat. Lovely bit of burning to put the different faces onto the squares. Thank you for sharing :-)

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    Kink JarfoldAlex in NZ

    Reply 2 months ago

    Thanks, Alex. It's always nice to read a comment from so far away. Glad you liked the wood burning. KJ

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    Gadisha

    2 months ago

    Nice, I really love the Icons on your version of the game and I like that you can keep the pieces and dices in the box underneath.

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    Kink JarfoldGadisha

    Reply 2 months ago

    Thanks, Alex. It's always nice to read a comment from so far away. Glad you liked the wood burning. KJ

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    Kink JarfoldGadisha

    Reply 2 months ago

    You've no idea how may game pieces I've lost over the years. The drawer was made out of pure selfishness; plus I know my son who'll receive this. He has a tendency toward misplacing things.

    KJ