Nine Men’s Morris

nine mens morris

According to Games of the World (1977) Nine Men’s Morris is one of the oldest board games in the world dating back to 1400 BC. Morris game boards have been found at the temple of Kurna in Egypt and at excavations of the first city of Troy.




– 10” x 10” (minimum) piece of paperboard packaging (e.g., cereal box, gift box) or poster board or mat board
– 18 bottle caps or milk caps: 9 of one color and 9 of a different color
– Pen/Marker
– Straight edge
NOTE: The game can also be played by using a stick to create the game board in the sand or dirt; pebbles/shells/pinecones can be used for game pieces.

To make:nine mens morris2
Draw the following game board design onto the paperboard.

Characteristics of Morris games:
– Morris games involve straight lines.
– There are two parts to game play: (1) taking turns placing the game pieces onto the board and then, once all the pieces are on the board, (2) sliding a piece to an adjacent vacant point on the line.
— The ‘jumping over’ of game pieces is not permitted.
— A player may only move one piece during his/her turn.

How to Play:
In both the placement and then movement of the game pieces, the object is get to three of your game pieces in a row (vertical or horizontal); this is called a ‘mill’. Every time a player forms a mill, s/he removes a game piece of the other player.  Note: Unless there are no other pieces to take, a game piece may NOT be removed from a mill. Once a piece is removed it may not be returned to the game.  A mill may be opened by moving a piece and closed by returning it to its former location, thus creating a new mill.

The game can be won in two ways:
– Reducing the number of the opponent’s game pieces to two
– Blocking the opponent from making further moves

Games of the World: How to make them, how to play them, how they came to be. (1977) Grunfeld, F. V. (editor). Ballatine Books: New York