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By December 29, 2020 Read More →

The Mills Game- Old Fashion Fun

Try making a Mills Game for some old fashion fun this school vacation. This ancient strategy game is easy to make from everyday household items and is a challenging game appropriate for ages 8 and up.

The Mills Game, also called Nine Men’s Morris, is an ancient game going back to the Roman Empire (and perhaps earlier!). The name is derived from the Latin word merellus meaning ‘game piece.’

Playing the Mills Game by candlelight

The Mills Game

A strategy game for two players

Each player has nine pieces (or ‘men’) of different colors. You can use different color dry beans or buttons for game pieces. Draw the game board on a piece of large paper or a light colored cloth as shown in the illustration below.


Each player tries to form ‘mills’ made up of three men in a row either horizontally or vertically. When a player forms a mill, that player can take away a man from the other player. When a player has reduced their opponent to just two men, the player wins.

The game has three phases of play:

Placing the men

Players take turns placing their men at each point on the grid. Players try to form three in a row to make a mill. When a player forms a mill, he/she takes one of the opponent’s men out of the game. You can only take a man from an opponent’s mill if there are no other men left.

Moving the men

Players continue to alternate moves, this time moving a man to an adjacent point. A piece may not “jump” another piece. Players continue to try to form mills and remove their opponent’s pieces as in phase one. A player can “break” a mill by moving one of his pieces out of an existing mill, then moving it back to form the same mill a second time (or any number of times), each time removing one of his opponent’s men. When one player has been reduced to three men, phase three begins.


At this point in the game, players are no longer restricted to moving men to adjacent points and may “fly” them to any point on the board. When one player is left with only two men, the game is over!


Diagram of the Mills Game Board

The Mills Game board