NINE MEN'S MORRIS, known also as Morelles and Merelles, an ancient English game played with 9 counters a side on a board marked with four squares, one within the other. The middle points of the three inside squares are connected by straight lines, and, in a variation of the game, the corners also. The players, whose counters are of different colours, place these alternately one by one upon the intersections of the lines, the object of each being to get three of his own men in line, in which case he has the privilege of pounding, i.e. removing from the board, any one of his opponent's men; although he may not take one of a row of three, unless there are no others. When all 18 counters have been placed on the board they are moved to adjacent unoccupied intersections. When all but three of a player's men have been captured he is allowed to jump or hop to any vacant point he chooses. As soon as a player is reduced to two men he loses. In the time of Shakespeare (Midsummer Night's Dream, Act 11. Scene 1) the game was commonly played out of doors.
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