NINE MENS MORRIS is a game for two players and each needs 9 counters in their colour. Pieces are called men. Lines of  3 are called merrels or mills. The game is also      called Cowboy Checkers or Ninepenny Marl.

To win, a player must reduce the opponent to 2 men or leaves the opponent with no legal moves. There are three stages of play.

Stage 1 PLACEMENT: Players take turns to place one of their 9 men (pieces) on any one of the 24 intersection points on the empty board. If they get 3 men in a line, they remove one of the opponent’s pieces from play.

Stage 2 MOVING: Players take turns to move one of their men to an adjacent point and no jumps are allowed. If they get 3 in a line, they remove an opponent’s man.

Stage 3 FLYING: (optional) When a player is reduced to 3 men they can ‘fly’ to any vacant point.

The board shown has labelling to enable players to refer to the points and to play remotely.  In the example shown the  game is in Stage 2 with White to play and in a winning position. White can remove one of Black’s pieces again at each subsequent turn by moving e3 to d3 and back again, making a line of 3 each time.

Take note of the example and try to stop your opponent forming a similar layout with his or her pieces, while maneuvering to achieve it for yourself. Also be aware of the same arrangement in positions that are reflections or rotations of the one shown, or that use an edge of the outer square rather than the inner square. There are several variations.

TEN MENS MORRIS is played on the Nine Men’s Morris board, but each player has 10 pieces, and in the first stage, can choose either to place a new piece on the board or to move one of his pieces already on the board.

THREE MENS MORRIS is like Tic Tac Toe but each player has only 3 men. Choose one of the 2 rules:

(1) When a player has 3 men on the board he can move one man to any empty position or,

(2) to any adjacent position.

  SIX MENS MORRIS In this game players have 6 men each and flying is not permitted.




TWELVE MENS MORRIS Players have 12 men each, which means that the board can be filled in the placement stage if neither player makes a line of three, in which case the game is a draw. This game is popular in South Africa where it is known as MORABARABA.


Click here to download gameboards for Nine Mens Morris games.


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