This game is of unknown origin but it was very popular in England in the Middle Ages and even earlier among Roman soldiers.
Rules of play
Each player has nine pieces, or “men”, which move among the board’s twenty-four intersections. As in checkers or draughts, the object of the game is to leave the opposing player with no pieces or no legal moves.
Placing the pieces
The game begins with an empty board. Players take turns placing their pieces on empty intersections. If a player is able to form a row of three pieces along one of the board’s lines, he has a “mill” and may remove one of his opponent’s pieces from the board; removed pieces may not be placed again. Players must remove any other pieces first before removing a piece from a formed mill. Once all eighteen pieces have been placed, players take turns moving.
Moving the pieces
To move, a player slides one of his pieces along a board line to an empty adjacent intersection. If he cannot do so, he has lost the game.
As in the placement stage, a player who aligns three of his pieces on a board line has a mill and may remove one of his opponent’s pieces, avoiding the removal of pieces in mills if at all possible.
Any player reduced to two pieces is unable to remove any more opposing pieces and so loses the game.