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UCKERS - a brief history

Uckers is a two- or four-player board game traditionally played in the Royal Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, Royal New Zealand Navy, Royal Australian Navy, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) and the Royal Air Force (RAF).


It is believed to originate in the 18th/19th centuries from the Indian game Pachisi although the first reference to it in print does not appear until 1946. It is mentioned in a diary by EJF Records (served 1928-1950) in 1937 as Huckers. 


Uckers is generally played using the rules stated below, but they vary from one branch of the Royal Navy to another.


It is also played in units of the Army Air Corps (United Kingdom) where it was introduced by aircraft technicians on loan from the Fleet Air Arm in the late 1950s/early 1960s. Uckers boards can also be found in every RAF Squadron crewroom, where the game is an integral part of crewroom life, especially with the Aircraft Technicians. Most RAAF crew rooms feature uckers boards also. In addition to the units services, units mentioned, uckers was also played by units in the Royal Artillery, particularly meteorologists.


It is similar to the board game Ludo and is based on the same principles; getting four player pieces around the board before the opposition. However, the whole point of Uckers, and this may vary according to personal preferences, is to get all player pieces home without the opponent getting any home at all—this is known as an 8 piecer. The ultimate win is when the player gets all their pieces home and the opponent has all their pieces still in the base—this is called an 8 piece in harbour, or an eight-piece dicking. 

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