Uckers is a two- or four-player board game traditionally played in the Royal Navy and has spread to many of the other arms of the UK Armed Forces as well as to, mainly Commonwealth Forces. The rules are laid down in official Navy regulations. It can now be found also in the Royal Marines, Army Air Corps, Royal Canadian Navy, Royal New Zealand Navy, Royal Australian Navy, Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), Royal Dutch Navy, 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 these will vary from one branch of the Royal Navy to another, most famously with the WAFU Rules of the Fleet Air Arm. Where those branches of the RN have worked with the other Armed Forces usually has dictated what rules the new playing Service use; why fellow aviators tend to play under WAFU Rules for example.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 now also be found in most RAF Squadron crewroom, where the game has caught on, 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 and LifeFlight Toowoomba Rescue Helicopter crews aka Rescue 588. The current and now 7-time world champion is Queenslander Mark Arthur.
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. The whole point of Uckers is to get all player pieces home before the opponent does. However, greater glory is attached to achieving all 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 and merits the unfortunate player's name to be recorded on the reverse of the board...
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