How to Play Nine-Mens-Morris


Nine Mens Morris, or merrelles, is a little like a more complicated version of noughts and crosses, where the goal is to get three in a row. However, when one player gets three in a row - they get to take one of the opponents pieces away! Archaeologists know it was played during the medieval period because boards have been found etched into things like stones. The one pictured to the left was found at Jedburgh Abbey.

What you will need

Game Board - This can be drawn onto a piece of paper. The game board looks like the image on the right - it is formed by drawing a large square, then drawing a smaller square inside the first, and a smaller square inside the second, making three in total. Next, connect the squares by drawing a line from the middle of the outermost square's line to the middle of the innermost squares line, on all four sides.

***The board could also be drawn outside on pavement with chalk, for an outside fun game.

Counters (nine of one type and nine of another) - As explained above, these boards were often drawn onto things that were readily available for play, and not formal board games like ones available in shops today. Counters can therefore be made of found objects like bottle caps or little stones, or they could even be made from bits of paper - as long as there is a set of each.


For instructions on how to play the game, watch the video on the left!