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Eighteen Men Named Morris

November 15, 2013

by Cash
Manteo,  North Carolina

You know where to find eighteen men named Morris? 

Answer: in a fun board game dating back to medieval England. 

When we were in Manteo, NC on Roanoke Island we went to a museum about the Lost Colony of Roanoke.  On a reproduction of a 16th century ship, I learned (from someone dressed like a 16th century commoner) about a game that the colonists played called Nine Man Morris.  While the rules are simple, the strategy can be fairly complex.
Nine Man Morris is a two player game in which the board is square and has a series of holes in it.  These holes form three concentric squares connected by lines.

The goal of Nine Man Morris is to get rid of all of the opponent's pieces (men).  There are two phases in the game.  The first is to place your men on the board, and the second is to move them around.

At the beginning of the game, each player has nine men (hence the name of the game). The players take turns putting one man at a time in a hole on the board.Once every man has been placed, the second phase begins.  Players take turns moving any one of their men along a line to a
hole adjacent to it. In either phase, if a player gets three men in a row along any of the lines, then he gets to take one of the opponent's pieces off of the board and put it in a discard pile. The players keep moving their pieces around until one player has only two men left.  The other player is the winner.

There is one other rule that some players ignore.  Once a player has gotten three men in a row, they have to move at least two of those three to get another line in that same place. 

Here is an animation that I made of a Nine Man Morris
 game using Blender (3D modeling and animation software):

Aunt Lisa said...

Cool game! My ipad can't see the animation but I will see if our desktop can handle it, because I'd like to see that.