Nine men’s morris – Mill game

Nine Nens Morris online Play Nine Nens Morris online

Play Nine men’s morris online

A game that combines strategy and tactics, and can be surprisingly deep and enjoyable. Nine men’s morris is believed to have been played in the Roman Empire, and is also referred to as nine-man morris, mill, mills, the mill game, merrills, ninepenny marl and “cowboy checkers” (it was often printed on the back of checkerboards). Play against the computer or versus a friend:

Play Nine men's morris / Mill game
Start the game online

This free game opens as a web page. No installation. No flash player needed. Mobile friendly.

How to play Nine men’s Morris

Press the play icon on the startup screen to start a game. Then choose game mode: 1 player (against the computer) or 2 players (taking turns on your local device).

Nine Men's Morris board
The Nine Men’s Morris game board

The Nine men’s Morris board setup

A Nine Men’s Morris board consists of three concentric squares connected by lines in the middle of each side. There are 18 game pieces (often referred to as “men”): 9 for each player, in two distinct colors (black and white). The board is empty at the start of the game, and each player are given 9 game pieces in one of the colors. They then take turns in placing one piece on the board at a time until they have no more pieces left to place.

Nine Men's Morris board and pieces
The Nine Men’s Morris board with pieces placed by the players

Moving Pieces:

After all pieces have been placed, players take turns moving a piece to an adjacent point along the lines. You can’t “jump” over another piece or an empty spot.

Game objective

The goal is to form ‘mills’ (a row of three pieces) and remove the opponent’s pieces from the board. The winner is the player who reduces their opponent to two pieces, or blocks all their moves.

Nine Men's Morris Mill
White player got a MILL in the right side (highlighted in yellow) and can remove one of the black pieces (highlighted in green)

Forming Mills:

A ‘mill’ is formed when three of a player’s pieces are in a straight line, either horizontally or vertically. When a player forms a mill, they remove one of their opponent’s pieces from the board. The removed piece should be from a non-mill formation unless there are no such pieces. If a mill is broken and re-formed, it counts as a new mill.

Nine Men’s Morris Rules

Flying: In some variations, when a player is reduced to three pieces, they can ‘fly’ to any empty spot on the board, instead of moving to an adjacent point.

Draws: The game can end in a draw if a certain position is repeated three times.

Blocking: A player wins if their opponent can’t make a move.

Nine Men’s Morris strategy

Focus on Mills: Always try to create mills while simultaneously blocking your opponent.

Double Mills: Try to create a setup where you can close two mills in consecutive turns.

Avoid Early Sacrifices: Don’t sacrifice your pieces too early to create a mill.
Plan for the Endgame: In the moving phase, position your pieces to restrict your opponent’s movements.


There are many regional variations to “Nine Men’s Morris”, so rules might slightly differ. This online game is a regular version for two players only, either you against the computer or you against a friend on the same device.

Good luck!

The history of Nine Men’s Morris

Nine Men's Morris in History
Romans playing a Board Game tournament

Nine Men’s Morris is an ancient board game that has captivated minds for centuries. This strategy game boasts a rich history, tracing back to the cradle of civilization.

Ancient Origins

The earliest known traces of Nine Men’s Morris appear in the ruins of the Bronze Age city of Ur in Mesopotamia, dating back to about 3000 BCE. This finding suggests that the game was a popular pastime amongst the early city dwellers. The game’s presence in the archaeological records of ancient Egypt, specifically in the temple of Kurna (circa 1400 BCE), further testifies to its antiquity and widespread appeal.

Roman and Medieval Europe

The game gained significant popularity in the Roman Empire. Evidence of Nine Men’s Morris boards carved into Roman architecture, such as the Colosseum, indicates its widespread popularity among all classes. The game persevered through the Middle Ages in Europe, becoming a mainstay in taverns and homes. Medieval manuscripts, including the famous “Libro de los juegos” (Book of Games) commissioned by King Alfonso X of Castile in the 13th century, feature detailed instructions and illustrations of the game, underscoring its importance in medieval culture.

Global Spread and Variations

The game’s simplicity allowed it to traverse cultures and geographies. Variations of Nine Men’s Morris emerged globally, with notable versions like “Merels” in England, “Mühle” in Germany, and “Morabaraba” in southern Africa, each adapting to local cultures and preferences. In the 20th century, Nine Men’s Morris experienced a revival due to increased interest in traditional board games. Modern adaptations have seen it transition to online platforms, making it accessible to a new generation of players.

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Play Nine men's morris online mill game

Nine men’s morris – Mill game