You may know how to Play UR already, but watch this video to learn the rule set for the tournament engine we play at Société Internationale d'UR official tournaments.
The société internationale d'UR® was born during the 2022 fall semester at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology when MIT Visiting Professor Wasalu Jaco introduced the game to colleagues. An impromptu tournament was held in the Literature and Comparative Media Studies departments involving staff and students. This inaugural tournament led to the establishment of the société internationale d'UR® and its mission to organize and introduce the world’s oldest board game to a modern worldwide audience.
The MIT PLAYUR Tournament Series will be held this December 2nd 2022 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The Royal Game of Ur is the oldest known board game, first played in Mesopotamia over 4,000 years ago. It’s a two-player board game that combines strategy, racing, and chance.
The goal of Ur is to get all of your pieces off the board before the other player. It's a race! You can play with either 5 or 7 pieces and 4 dice per player.
- You can't put two or more of your own pawns in a square unless that square is a rosette.
- If you land on a rosette, this is a safe spot and your piece cannot be removed from the board the other player. Multiple pieces of the same player can occupy the same rosette simultaneously but they have to leave the rosette one at a time.
- If you land on a square that is not a rosette occupied by the other player you get to remove their piece from the board and it must start over from the beginning.
- When it's your turn you can move any active piece or add a new one to the board when you roll- be strategic!
- If you can't move a piece, you lose your turn.
To play the official Ur tournament engine rules, it’s helpful to know the basic race engine rules first.
The game is a race - the player that gets all of their pieces off the board first wins.
On the board, you will see there are 5 unique squares - these are called rosettes. Your pieces are safe on rosettes, and cannot be taken by your opponent. Rosettes are also the only squares that you can stack your pieces on.
The first four squares are your home base - your opponent cannot enter this safe zone.
You start your pieces on the square furthest from the rosette on your home row. Your path then is up the middle row, away from you, around the top, and off the board by the rosette closest to you.
Roll the dice to see who goes first. (The painted side of the dice is one, non-painted is zero). The person who rolls the highest number goes first. You can roll a zero through a four.
On your turn, you can either add a new piece or move an active piece already on the board.
You only get one roll per turn.
You can move only one piece per turn.
If you can’t move a piece, you lose your turn.
You must roll the exact number to get your piece off the board.
If you land on a square (that isn’t a rosette!) occupied by the other player, their piece is sent home and that piece must start again from the beginning.
If you are playing race engine, you can land more than one of your pieces on a rosette, and move them one at a time off the rosette.
In tournament engine, you can stack multiple pieces on rosettes, and those pieces become a unit that moves together, and is taken and sent home together as a unit by your opponent. You return the pieces into play on the board one at a time, not as a stack.
In tournament engine, when you land on a rosette that one of your pieces currently occupies, it becomes a stacked unit whether it was intentional or accidental.
In the race engine, pieces can only move forward. In tournament engine, your pieces can move backwards as well.
You can move backwards defensively, strategically, or to take your opponent's piece.
If you have a forward move, you must take it. If you only have a backwards move and you don’t want to take it, you can pass on your turn.
The société internationale d'Ur is the official governing body for the game of Ur. In this role we organize Ur tournaments, standardize rule sets (Engines), manage SIU member player statistics and acts as an information platform for any and all things Ur.
We currently operating out of the Literature & Comparative Media Studies departments at The Massachusetts Institute Of Technology (MIT).