Ancient Games That Changed The Rules ¹
Nine Men’s Morris
A precursor to Tick-Tack-Toe, Nine Men’s Morris is a game in which counters are placed on a grid with the aim of creating lines of three. Once all the pieces are down, they can be moved one space per move. Whenever a player forms a row of three, he can remove one of his opponent’s pieces from the board. The first player down to two pieces loses.
People across the world could create their own easily. Some dated as far back as 1440 B.C. have been found carved into rocks in Sri Lanka, Bronze Age Ireland, and ancient Troy. Fans even carved the board into seats, walls, and tombstones across England.
Mancala refers to a family of games with the same basic method of play. Known as count-and-capture games, there is some evidence to suggest that they may be the earliest games played. To play the game, all you need is a patch of soft ground and a handful of seeds or pebbles. Rows of holes are dug alongside one another, and players distribute counters one at a time in a path round the board. There are a number of goals; but the key to victory in every version is basically to count really fast.