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The Rules of Nine Men’s Morris or Merels

How To Play Nine Men’s Morris or Merels: Nine Men’s Morris Rules

Setup: Nine Men’s Morris requires a special board. The board is a square with three (3) concentric circles on it. The squares are joined together by four lines each from the midpoint of the sides on the square at the center. The shape and arrangement of the squares create 24 playing points for the players.

The game usually happens between two (2) players with nine playing pieces. There are eighteen (18) playing pieces, of which nine (9) are black, and nine (9) are white. The players toss a coin to determine who goes first. Usually, the player with the first move has an advantage and takes the white pieces. However, variations of the game exist in different colors. As long as the colors are different, the game is playable.

How To Play: According to the Nine Men’s Morris rules, the players start each with nine pieces. They alternate with each player playing their pieces in unoccupied positions. The basic rule of winning is simple- to create mills. The ‘mills’ are three consecutive similar pieces laid out in vertical or horizontal lines.

Every time a mill is achieved, the winner can capture a piece from the opponent. Captured pieces cannot be replayed. The players keep playing pieces trying to make mills and reduce the opponent’s pieces.

Note that a player cannot capture a piece from a mill unless no other pieces are available. Once the players play all available eighteen (18) pieces, the game continues with players moving the available pieces on the board. The players can move the pieces along the line to adjacent unoccupied spots.

Winning: A player wins when the opponent cannot make any legal moves. The losing player will have two pieces left, which means that they cannot make a legal mill, and they are unable to move.

Nine Men’s Morris Rules Variations: A variation exists in the game rules for different players- The Fly or Wild Rule. When one player is reduced to three (3) pieces, they can move a piece from any point to any point on the board regardless of whether it is adjacent or not.

Several variations introduce diagonal lines at the corners of the squares. The basic Nine Men’s Morris rules continue to apply even with these variations. It is worth noting that the game dates back to old civilizations hence the diverse boards.

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