Nine man morris

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Nine Men's Morris, also known as Mills, Merrills, Merrells or Merrelles is a two-player strategy game with a long history in Europe. Early example of the game have been found up to 3500 years ago inscribed on building timbers and also have been found inscribed on church seats during the middle ages proving that church services weren't all that different to today's sermons.

Playing the Game

Each player has nine pieces which move between the twenty-four intersections of three interlocking squares.

The object of the game is to pound (remove) the opponent's pieces by forming mills or force them into a position where they can no longer move. Mills are three pieces in a linked row. When a mill is formed a single opponent's piece may be removed so long as that piece does not form part of a previously formed mill. If all the opponent's pieces are in mills then this rule does not apply.

The game consists of three phases.

Beginning Phase

  • Each player takes turns placing their pieces, until all pieces have been played.
  • Mills may be formed during this phase as normal.

A medieval variant is believed to use dice to determine which player may place their next piece, which may result in one player adding multiple pieces one after the other.

Middle Phase

  • Each player takes turns moving one of their pieces along the lines marked on the board.
  • If one player cannot move any longer, the trapped player loses.

End Phase

  • If one player is reduced to three pieces, in their turn they may move any one of their pieces to any valid point on the board by jumping from square to square.
  • If any player is reduced to less than three pieces, they have lost.

Variants

Other variations of this game include Six Men's Morris and Twelve Men's Morris, among others. The only differences between games is the layout of the board, the direction of moves allowed, and the number of pieces.

Make Your Own Nine Men's Morris Set

This game is incredibly versatile as a set can be made free or cheaply, making it ideal for newbies, SCAdians on a budget, or mass-production for events. You can draw a game board with a permanent marker on a piece of fabric, wood, or even a piece of paper. Game pieces can be any small object, including rocks, coins, and glass beads. Make sure there are two obviously different colors of game pieces. A fabric game board and some pieces fits nicely into a pouch.

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