The rules of Uckers; this ancient Naval game has been around forever and there are many variations and additional rules to these basic rules, some as local amendments, some for advanced players and some made up on the spot to confuse the unwary! Please send us your amendments or corrections.
The game is played by either two or four people, if there are two people playing then each player takes two opposite colours, yellow and red vs green and blue If there are four players then the players opposite each other become partners, so Yellow partners with Red, and Green partners with Blue.
The following is a well-tried set of rules of the game which are known as the basic rules. The aim of the game is to move clockwise around the board once until a player reaches the square below the coloured ones, leading to the coloured triangle at the top. The piling up of counters creates challenges for opponents to overcome. The players then move up the coloured squares to reach their ‘Home’ and the team who gets all their 8 pieces home first are the winners.
The game is played with a Ludo board and pieces with two dice instead of one.
There are four players with diagonally opposite players partnering each other to form two teams.
Rule 3: Start
All four players in turn throw both dice and the highest scorer has first throw.
Rule 4: To get out of base
One six is required to get a piece out on the doorstep. The score on the other dice can be used to advance this or another piece in accordance with Rule 5. A double six can put 2 pieces out.
Rule 5: Movement
a) Pieces move in a clockwise direction, the number of squares equivalent to the value of the dice. The object is to get all one’s own and partner’s pieces around to their own centre home before the opponents do likewise.
b) If a player has only one piece on the board he must move it the full value of both dice; intermediate squares cannot be used to knock off opponent’s pieces. Rule 5d however, may allow this.
c) If a player has two pieces on the board he may use the value of one dice for each, or the value of both dice to one.
d) If a player’s movements are blocked by a barrier (Rule 8a)) or because a piece is near home (Rule 10 b)), he is to take the highest value of one dice if possible, or if not possible to move with either dice, he does not move. He can, however, have extra throws in accordance with Rule 6.
Rule 6: Extra throws
a) A player receives one extra throw for a six, except in Rule 8c) when removing a barrier, and only one extra is allowed for a double six.
b) A player recieves one extra throw for any double, except in Rule 8c) when removing a barrier.
c) Extra throws are to be taken immediatetly and pieces moved in accordance with Rule 5.
Rule 7: Knocking off an opponent’s piece
When a player’s piece lands on the same square as an opponent’s piece, the opponent’s piece is returned to base, and has to start again.
Rule 8: Barriers (Blobs)
a) When a player has two or more pieces on the same square, they form a barrier which blocks an opponent’s movements but not his partner’s.
b) To remove a barrier an opponent has to land a piece on the square immediately behind it, throw one six and say ‘Challenge’, throw a second and third six to remove a double barrier, a fourth six to remove a triple barrier and a fifth to remove a quadruple barrier. The challenging piece occupies that square formerly occupied by the barrier, and the barrier pieces are returned to their base in accordance with Rule 7 (See Rule 9).
c) Having challenged a barrier, the value of any dice subsequently thrown cannot be used to advance another piece, and having successfully challenged a barrier the player’s turn is ended no matter how many sixes have been thrown. When a six is used to indicate a challenge the second dice, even if a six, cannot be used in any way. If the second or subsequent throw is a double six, both sixes count towards the removal of a barrier.
d) A player cannot move into position and challenge in the same throw.
e) To knock-off a barrier on the door-step with a piece in base requires one extra six in addition to those in b). The first six counts as the challenge and Rule 9c) applies.
f) If a player cannot move another piece he must break his barrier.
Rule 9: Mixed barrier (Mixy Blobs)
If a player’s piece lands on the same square as one or more of his partner’s pieces, the result is what is known as a “Mixed Barrier”. This loses any value as a block and all pieces are to be knocked-off in the same way as a single piece (Rule 7). A player cannot challenge from a mixed barrier behind an opponent’s barrier.
Rule 10: Getting home
a) A piece in the home coloured lane cannot be reached by an opponent’s piece and is safe.
b) A player must throw the exact score to get a piece home, except that with his last piece he may get the exact score with one dice only (see Rule 5d)).
Rule 11: Throwing for one’s partner
Having got all his pieces home a player waits for his next turn and tries to throw a six. Having thrown a six, a player again waits to his next turn when he can throw to help his partner’s pieces.
Rule 12: Dropping Dice
a) If one or both dice come off the table before coming to rest, a re-throw is required.
b) If a player Drops Dice three times in a row, all his pieces are returned to the beginning.
Rule 13: Cocked dice
If the dice come to rest in such a way that the lower face does not lie flat on the board, eg it lies slanted against a playing piece, both dice are discounted and must be re-thrown.
Rule 14: Winning team
The winning team is the pair who get all their eight pieces home first.
The following submission summarises the flexible adaptions to the basic rules utilised by more advanced players...
Blob Takes Blob - this only applies to double blobs nothing bigger, If a double blob I.e. two bits the same colour is parked between 1 and 6 places behind an opponents double blob and a double is thrown which results in a direct hit you can take the blob, and leave your double blob on the square previously occupied by the opponent. This makes opponents more wary of parking in front because technically if you are 1 square behind with a double you can take a player off either by challenging and sixing him off or by throwing snake eyes. The advantage to blob takes blob rules is that if you do manage to take people off in this fashion you don't have to split your blob as you do with a challenge leaving you vulnerable, plus if you take a blob with a double six you don't have to end your turn as you haven't challenged you have moved.
a player can only challenge from the start of his turn, if he moves any piece from the start of his turn he forgoes any right to challenge, but multiple throws to move multiple pieces are allowed
i.e. If I have a single piece or a non mixi blob one square behind you at the start of my turn and I throw a six on my first throw of the turn I can state my challenge after which my turn is over whether successful or not. Or i can get fresh bits out or move another piece but i forgo any right to challenge on that turn.
If I do not have a piece in a challenging position or I opt to move another piece I lose the right to challenge, however if I have a piece in a challenging position at the start of my turn and another with only 4 squares running room and I throw a 6 and a 2 I am forced to make the challenge and ignore the 2 because you must always use the biggest number first where possible, I cannot move the restricted piece 2 squares then use the six for a free throw or challenge because a challenge constitutes a turn.
If however I am not in a position to challenge and i throw a 6 and a 2 and I have one piece 2 squares away and the other 6 or 2 behind it, I can blob up and still get my free go because I could throw a 1 and be forced to split the blob, or under submariners rules throw a double 2 and take the obstructing blob assuming it is only a double.
The Snake Eyes all out rule where a player gets all of his pieces out onto his doorstep if he throws a double one on his first turn of the game is pretty standard too, as is the Snake eyes all back in if he repeats the feat on his second turn he has to put all his bits back in again.
Up boarding is considered unsportsmanlike and carries the same penalties as being 8 pieced, whereby the Winner humiliates the loser by making the loser write his name on the back of the board with the date and the who the victor was, then fining him the appropriate amount of beer (submarines - 1 crate etc, which of course the Loser has to drink at a suitable time with the winner and any guests of the winner) This leads to some inexperienced players declaring exhibition matches before playing the more experienced players, as long it is declared before the start of the game it is ok, if the game has commenced with no agreements made, all games are in accordance with mess social rules.
Cocky Die rule where one or both of the dice land unevenly due to ship roll, or land off the board results in a full re-throw, you cant just throw the bad one again. If you get 3 cocky die calls back to back, all of the players pieces are returned to their bases.
Timber Shifting, i.e. Cheating, is only illegal if caught and proven, I.e. trimming numbers off your throw, or adding on, moving bits when the opponent is not watching. Leaving the game for any reason without cover is deemed as an up board, unless all agree to abandon the game.
To ensure an enthraling match of mind over matter, the rules (approx 1 million variations) should never be discussed or agreed upon prior to game play.
An Uckers dual is especially entertaining when when somebody "Up Tables". This shoddy "tactic" is usually used by the losing party, usually because he is either shit at Uckers, or is wankered and feeling a bit stormy. It is very simply done: just stare at the board uncomprehendingly for five or so minutes, then abruptly flip the table over, and exit while chuntering on about "Table-Talking wankers", "Timber-Shifting mofo's ", "Ludo playing twats" and so on...
Suckback: As filthy and underhand as it sounds....
When a player has his or her piece(s)/bit(s) on their ‘chute’, their opponent may call “suckback”.
Positioning: To initiate the challenge the opponent must have a piece on the uncoloured square at the end of the chute. As per “challenging a blob” this piece must be in place the turn before the challenge can commence.
The Play: Count the number of squares your opponents’ piece is up the chute. It is best to agree this number first. This number is counted from the end of the chute and includes the square the piece is on. Declare “suckback #” where # is the previously stated number. Throw just one die.
1. The die throw matches the suckback number. In this instance the piece on the chute is returned home and the challenging piece advances exactly one square* irrespective of the number thrown.
*if the square ahead is occupied by a blob the challenging piece may remain in situ but cannot challenge again on subsequent turns.
2. The die throw does not match the suckback number. In this instance the challenger moves exactly one square* and their turn ends.
1. A blob on the chute is a thing of beauty and cannot be sucked back.
2. If there are 2 or more pieces on the chute, the challenger can nominate any one of them to suckback. But ONLY the pre-designated piece may be removed. You cannot declare “suckback 3”, roll a 2, and then remove a piece that is in the second position.