Playing the World’s Oldest Playable Board Game

I’ve written a bit about board games here on Ancient Worlds. If you enjoyed my posts about Eldritch Horror and Ancient Horror, then you might enjoy this video from the British Museum, in which Irving Finkel, Assistant Keeper of Ancient Mesopotamian script, languages and cultures, takes on Tom Scott at the Royal Game of Ur:

It’s a fun video, with lots of information and a great deal of charm (though I’m surprised the subtitle commentary didn’t correct Scott’s slip-up about the game only being four-and-a-half centuries old near the end. It’s millennia, not centuries.)

I have to admit that I’m not entirely convinced the Royal Game of Ur looks like the most riveting game in this age of immersive and atmospheric story-driven board games, but it lasted for centuries so what do I know? And as a predecessor of games like Backgammon, it’s of great historical interest – everything has to start somewhere.

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