Nine Men Morris

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Nine Men's Morris, being probably 2000-3000 years old, appears to be one of the oldest board games, much older than chess.

The board consists of a grid with twenty-four intersections or points. Each player has 9 pieces, or "men", usually coloured black and white. Players try to form 'mills'— three of their own men lined horizontally or vertically—allowing a player to remove an opponent's man from the game.
The game proceeds in three phases:

Placing men on vacant points

The game begins with an empty board. The players determine who plays first, then take turns placing their men one per play on empty points. If a player is able to place three of his pieces in a straight line, vertically or horizontally, he has formed a mill and may remove one of his opponent's pieces from the board and the game. Any piece can be chosen for the removal, but a piece not in an opponent's mill must be selected, if possible.

Moving men to adjacent points

Players continue to alternate moves, this time moving a man to an adjacent point. A piece may not "jump" another piece. Players continue to try to form mills and remove their opponent's pieces in the same manner as in phase one. A player may "break" a mill by moving one of his pieces out of an existing mill, then moving the piece back to form the same mill a second time (or any number of times), each time removing one of his opponent's men. The act of removing an opponent's man is sometimes called "pounding" the opponent. When one player has been reduced to three men, phase three begins.

Moving men to any vacant point

Optional phase when a player has been reduced to three men When a player is reduced to three pieces, there is no longer a limitation on that player of moving to only adjacent points: The player's men may "fly", "hop", from any point to any vacant point.


A player wins by reducing the opponent to two pieces (where he could no longer form mills), or by leaving him without a legal move.

Twelve Men's Morris

Twelve Men's Morris adds four diagonal lines to the board and gives each player twelve pieces. This means the board can be filled in the placement stage; if this happens the game is a draw. This variation on the game is popular amongst rural youth in South Africa where it is known as Morabaraba and is now recognized as a sport in that country