Nine Man Morris, from the Roman empire to you.

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Project by vipond33 posted 07-15-2012 11:58 PM 4438 views 53 times favorited 32 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I had three things in mind for the final game in my collection. It had to be a classic, I wanted it to look elegant and I wanted to conjure up the game complete, with storage, all into one integrated piece. Open and play.

This is my self contained tribute to a venerable game that was probably created around 1400 BC. Long before chess, long before Monopoly.

So what can you say about a game that is this old and is still enjoyably played by very young and very old alike whenever they see and try it? It speaks I think to our simple love of order and competitiveness. Place your pieces in a straight line, smile, slay your opponent.

The rules are simple. Each player places their pegs alternately, trying to form three in a row. If they succeed, (and you may block them), they get to remove one of your players. Pieces are placed but not moved until all are on the board. Then they may move straight down the lines only.
The end game is the exception. When you are reduced to three pieces, you may “fly” to any point on the board. You have a last chance desperate attacking mode available to you.

The woods are flame figured mahogany veneer laid up over commercial board with ipe used everywhere else as piece holders and trim,. I love commercial veneered board to build on. We go through about 500 sheets of board stock at our shop in any given year, giving up many, many offcuts, some of which are dead flat and ready to perform. Check your local dumpster or ask at the shop if you want great material.

Ipe is a real treat to work with too in smallish quantities. It polishes up like glass, machines like a dream to close tolerances most times and stays put and stable.

The procedure for the square holes was detailed in my review here.

When separating the top from the playing box I didn’t want a captured or loose lid and instead opted for clock case hinges. These have a natural open angle stop built in.

Tiny magnets up front keep the lid in position. Playing pieces are commercial cribbage counters in solid brass and nickel plated steel.,250,43313

This game has been claimed to have being solved by a computer long ago but who of us has a quad core processor behind our eyes, and who of us wishes to use it all the time? Games are for fun and this one’s perfect, in spite of its apparent age.

8” x 11” x 2 1/2”
About 28 hrs.
Build on LJ’s.

great links for keeners with reviews & online game play

details, still trying to get the photos right

some interesting grain structure

and a piston fit centre piece yields a tidy hidden compartment. but
anything put in here must, like your thoughts, be very quiet .

thanks to knickknack for helping me figure out how to use this site efficiently.

-- gene@toronto.ontario.canada : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

32 comments so far

View ShaneA's profile


6417 posts in 2017 days

#1 posted 07-16-2012 12:04 AM

Another beauty. 28 hrs seems like a pretty speedy build for such a great project. Well done.

View jaykaypur's profile


3996 posts in 1827 days

#2 posted 07-16-2012 12:08 AM

Nice game and a beautiful job on it and the box!

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View SPalm's profile


5249 posts in 3301 days

#3 posted 07-16-2012 12:32 AM

Oh my gosh Gene. What wonderful work you do. What a treat it is seeing what you come up with.

My wife and I were at a game store today and saw the commercial versions of some of your earlier games. So I already had Gene on my mind. Then you post another one. My mind is smiling.

Wonderful, just wonderful.

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Clint Searl's profile

Clint Searl

1533 posts in 1780 days

#4 posted 07-16-2012 12:42 AM

Museum quality, again.

-- Clint Searl....Ya can no more do what ya don't know how than ya can git back from where ya ain't been

View waho6o9's profile


7118 posts in 1996 days

#5 posted 07-16-2012 01:06 AM

Incredible work Gene, thanks for posting.

View ruddy's profile


521 posts in 2358 days

#6 posted 07-16-2012 01:08 AM

Gene..just fabulous. So creative…...................Your work is superb.

-- And my head I'd be a scratchin'

View Terry Ferguson's profile

Terry Ferguson

203 posts in 2086 days

#7 posted 07-16-2012 01:09 AM

Great design, beautiful woods, and amazing craftsmanship.
Have come to expect nothing less from you.

-- Terry Ferguson, Bend Oregon

View peteg's profile


3806 posts in 2242 days

#8 posted 07-16-2012 01:46 AM

Gene, you manage to create such fabulous games & in the process turn them into, what I am sure will be, family heirlooms. :)

-- Pete G: If you always do what you always did you'll always get what you always got

View Roger's profile


19711 posts in 2223 days

#9 posted 07-16-2012 01:48 AM

This is even better than super nice. Wow! Thnx for all the links and info also.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Marpintero's profile


201 posts in 2706 days

#10 posted 07-16-2012 02:01 AM

Hats off. The art that comes in your hands no bounds. A masterpiece. Thanks for sharing.

Me saco el sombrero. El arte que nace en tus manos no tiene límites. Una obra maestra. Gracias por compartirla.

-- Our lives are marked and bound together by concentric rings. Martín - Argentina

View Spoontaneous's profile


1332 posts in 2749 days

#11 posted 07-16-2012 02:01 AM

I hope instead of “final” you meant latest. I always look forward to these game posts of yours. Beautiful all around.

-- I just got done cutting three boards and all four of them were too short. (true story)

View JL7's profile


8399 posts in 2384 days

#12 posted 07-16-2012 02:04 AM

Off the charts again Gene – spectacular. It doesn’t really mean the end, end of the games, does it?

-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View Manitario's profile


2393 posts in 2302 days

#13 posted 07-16-2012 04:02 AM

Another project for my favourites list!

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View eddie's profile


8345 posts in 2033 days

#14 posted 07-16-2012 05:12 AM

gene thats a beautiful game board ,just a stunning build as always you are a master ,thanks for sharing i was wondering about the square hole punches ,you helped make up my mind on them great build and tutorial.

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View shipwright's profile (online now)


7084 posts in 2217 days

#15 posted 07-16-2012 05:33 AM

What can I add Gene. You are an inspiration to all of us.
These games have been amazing, each finer than the last, each perfect in it’s own way.
If this superb collection must come to an end, this is just the perfect high note to end it with.

Thanks Gene

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

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