Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Play the "Royal Game of Ur" with Google Slides and Drawings

As I have mentioned before, I am a big fan of board games and card games and dice games and most any game. They are a great way for people to connect, as well as build critical thinking skills.

In addition to playing games, I enjoy making digital versions of games, such as checkers and chess and backgammon and battleship. These digital versions allow people to play the games remotely or in person, and you don't have to worry about losing pieces under the couch.

My most recent game template is for "The Royal Game of Ur" which was first played in ancient Mesopotamia about 4,500 years ago. In this game two opponents use both strategy and luck to try to move their pieces off the board first. In addition to critical thinking skills, this game also ties in nicely with probabilities in math and with exploring the history of when the game was played.

See below for links to templates so you can get your own copies, as well as a short video and written directions on how to use the templates.

Tutorial Video (4 minutes)

Get the Templates

Below are links to both versions of the template, one in Google Slides and the other in Google Drawings. Both versions are the same, so it really just depends on if you have a preference between the two tools. The only big difference is that Google Drawings does not allow you to lock down the background, so you can accidentally move the board when playing. If so, you can always just drag it back to the correct place.

Share with your Opponent

Once you have your own copy of the template, if you plan to play remotely, you will now want to share the slideshow or drawing with your opponent so they can play with you.
  • Click on the "Share" button in the top right corner.
  • Now type in the email address of the person you want to play with.
  • Make sure they have "Editor" rights so they can make changes to the game with you.
  • And then click "Send" to share the file.

Play the Game

Once you and your opponent have the file open, you can begin playing. In both templates I have embedded videos teaching you how to play, including a short 5-minute version and a longer 25-minute version that also covers some fascinating history.

As far as the technical aspects of using my template though, here are a few key points.

Rolling the dice
  • To roll the dice in the game you will want to click once on the embedded YouTube video that shows the four dice, which will start the video playing, and start the dice rolling.
  • This is a video I created that runs very quickly through all 16 possible outcomes of the four dice. Each frame of the video is a different outcome, so all 16 possibilities go by in just half a second.
  • When you are ready to stop rolling the dice, just click the video a second time and the video will pause, showing you the results of your roll.
  • Add the dice together to see how far to move your pieces.

Moving your pieces
  • Each player has 7 game pieces, which are already set above and below the board.
  • To move a piece, simply click and drag the piece to its new location.
  • When you successfully move your pieces through the course, you will move the pieces off into the blank space on the right.
If you are playing remotely, you can communicate with your opponent in several ways. For example you could connect through a Google Meet or you can use the chat feature built into Slides and Drawings to communicate while playing.

Other Games

And if you have fun with this template, be sure to check out the other game templates I have on my site including my:

Post by Eric Curts. Connect with me on Twitter at

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