1. Create the Board Map
Set up the board map as shown in the illustration below. One of the players takes seven one-stroke black tiles to use as “pawns”, while the other takes seven 4-stroke black tiles.
2. Make a coin
To create a coin out of GEMJI, stick two tiles together so that both black sides are visible: one-stroke tile + a blank joker tile.
Toss the GEMJI coin to decide who goes first – the one-stroke side wins over the blank side. Toss again if it’s a draw. After settling on the play order, Player 1 tosses the GEMJI coin 4 times and calculates the sum of the results all tosses. They then move one of their 7 pawns forward accordingly.
To move forward, the player counts the number of tiles on the pawn’s path - one ground tile marks one step forward. Only one pawn may be moved per throw of the coin. The players take turns after each pawn moves.
Every new toss allows a player to add a new pawn on the board or move existing ones forward. The same player can position their own pawns on top of each other. The pawns can be attached to the edges of the ground tiles, as shown in the illustration.
If a pawn lands upon a ground tile occupied by the opposing player in the war zone, the latter is sent off the board and must start from the beginning.
The only safe zone in the war zone is the “GEMJI” tile placed in the middle of the board. The pawns placed in the safe zone can’t be attacked by the other player, who instead needs to find a way to move their own pawns around them.
If you land on a safe zone (5 on the board) you can toss the coin once & move again on the same turn.
GEMJI Ur is a race game. The winner is the first player to get all of their 7 pawns out of the board through the “Finish line”. A pawn has exited the board when it steps out of the last tile. So if your move ended on the Finish tile, you have to wait for another round to step out of it.
This game is an adaptation of the old Royal Game of Ur - a board game that was first played in ancient Mesopotamia during the early third millennium BC.