Urgency is 2-player strategic race board game based on the oldest complete board game in the world, the Royal Game of Ur. It builds on the tradition of that game by adding asymmetric and strategic gameplay with unique rule cards that modify the rules as you play.
The game starts with the same rules as translated and interpreted by historians from a cuneiform tablet. More rules are chosen and added to play via rule cards when players score. Players strategize and adapt their rules throughout the game with their choice of a deck of 7 rule cards.
Become a part of board game history by playing this modernized, ancient game of strategy and competition!
Urgency was successful on Kickstarter!
Everything included in the box
Reviews & Previews
"I enjoyed it from the very start and was yearning for its return so I could play it again after I sent it out to our groups to play and review...I have never played a game that allows me to radically shift my strategy and tactics in a meaningful and highly entertaining way. Yes, I’ve played many games where there are so many strategic approaches and tactical actions to make your head spin, but Urgency doesn’t overwhelm its players with all the possibilities. Instead, it offers players a choice. A powerful choice. Either or. And within that choice comes so many possibilities."
- Cyrus Kirby, Father Geek
"It is the oldest complete board game in history, but [Alex] turned it into a game that is, ya know, fun!...You aren’t just thinking ‘I’ll move zero to four spaces on this board,’ it turns those spaces into interesting choices…It exceeded expectations…I would play it again!"
- Jeff Jackson, Mile High Game Guys
"The recommended age is 10+, but I feel like kids who are drawn to strategy games are really going to take to this one and I really feel like this is the sort of game that deserves a place in a gifted classroom. While the mechanic is easy, there’s a very definite strategy component in selecting your cards and recognizing how to play them that makes you feel like the game of Sorry! leveled up in complexity. At the same time, there’s a certain randomness that mixes up the game because which card decks are selected as well as which cards end up actually in the game throws just enough of a challenge and variation into things to really up to how re-playable the game is."
- Elizabeth MacAndrew, GeekMom
"The most immediate impact this dynamic card system has on the game is that it de-emphasizes the race component and boosts the strategy...The added rules and rule combinations add a layer of complexity and variety to an otherwise straightforward and staid game."
- Mike Dunn, Gaming Trend
Players: 2, ages 10 and up
Goal: Be the first to score 6 of your 7 tokens around the board.
Movement: Roll all 4 of your dice, count the number of pips, and move one of your tokens that many spaces.
Basic - If you land on an opponent's token in the center row, you attack it and remove it from the board, unless it is on a safe tile.
Special - Many rule cards enable you to attack the opponent's tokens in ways other than by landing on them (see the Bull deck's Iron Sword card below).
Playtesters at Playcraft Boston's Winter Play Game Expo
Playtesters at a Game Maker's Guild meetup
White - Landing on a White Rosette tile grants you another roll.
Black - In addition to rolling again, you are safe from all attacks.
Scoring: When players score, they get a benefit from their Rosette card, but the opponent gets to select a new rule card too. This balancing mechanic ensures close games with high competition.
Rosette Deck - Players begin the game with one Rosette rule card that provides a benefit upon scoring. (Link to Rosette Deck)
Player Decks - Players select one of the three unique player rule decks at the beginning of the game, Control Deck: Lion, Movement Deck: Ibex, and Attack Deck: Bull. Each deck of 6 cards has distinct focuses and strengths (see below). Players shuffle these cards and make 3 piles of 2 cards at the beginning, adding rules one at a time when their opponent scores.
Choose your playstyle...
The board and pieces pictured on the right were excavated in the late 1920's in Iraq. They were found in the Royal Tomb of Ur, naturally leading the game to be named the Royal Game of Ur by historians. It dates back to 2600 BCE during the Third Dynasty of Ur in ancient Mesopotamia, making it one of the oldest board games in human history. Similar boards have been found in the region, with only slight changes to it over thousands of years.
In 1879, a clay cuneiform tablet (pictured below) was excavated in Babylon, dating back to 177 BCE. British Museum historian Dr. Irving Finkel translated this tablet in 2007 and discovered that it describes the rules to the Royal Game of Ur, making it the oldest complete board game in the world.
Rule tablet dating back to 177 BCE
Game board dating back to 2600 BCE
The rules outlined on the tablet describe a modified version of the original game that includes betting and fortune telling; however, several historians have recreated a simplistic version in efforts to play the game as it was originally played. However, nobody knows how it was actually played so long ago by the royalty in ancient Ur.
This is where you come in!
By playing Urgency, you continue the legacy of this ancient game and construct your own version of the game with the palette of rules offered by the unique rule card decks.
The evolution of one card
First version of Urgency from May 2017
On May 22nd, 2020 I launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the production of hundreds of copies of Urgency for those who want to play it. The campaign was a huge success! I raised $23,386 from 402 backers and reached all the stretch goals. Between the Kickstarter backers and sales through my website, I have sold 475 copies of Urgency and am currently sold out.
Wood version of the board
Inspiration for Urgency originated from this Tom Scott video of a full playthrough of the Royal Game of Ur with expert Irving Finkel. I was fascinated by the game and loved its history, but left the video obsessed with the beautiful game board and imagining what each tile might have meant thousands of years ago. I came up with a rule related to the tile I came to refer to as the Throne because it is the only unique tile on the board, and Dr. Finkel's interpretation of the rules do not mention it. But I didn't stop there, and a week later in May 2017 I had a full prototype with two decks and a handmade wooden board. I have been developing it since then while working towards my Masters degree in Game Science and Design at Northeastern University. I have developed dozens of rule card iterations and playtested hundreds of times with people of all ages, who have enjoyed the light strategy and unique history of Urgency. Urgency has been shown at several events and showcases.
Cardboard version of Urgency
There are three versions: cardboard, wood, and premium. The cardboard version comes with a folding board and fits inside a very portable 6.5"x5.5" box. The wood and premium versions were cut with a CNC machine and finished to a high quality by hand by Kelvin and Jane George (Kelsie's parents).
Premium versions of the board