The Game of Nines, also known by the Greeks as Trias, Enneas, or Triceza, is a classic game containing a simple board and 18 pieces. Also known by the name Nine Man’s Morris or Morabaramba, the Game of Nines has been recreated by the Kotsanas Museum using knowledge obtained from Greek archaeological finds.
For those not already familiar with the more popular Nine Man’s Morris, the goal of the Game of Nines is to reduce the opponent down to 2 pieces. This is done by creating a triple, or mill, by getting three of your own pieces in a row.
The game starts with players each playing their pieces, turn by turn, on the board in any empty space. If at any point a player creates a triple they may remove any 1 pieces of their opponent’s off the board. Once all the pieces have been placed each player takes turns moving piece 1 space at a time to try and continue making triples. It should be noted that a triple can be made, a piece moves, and then that triple remade by moving the pieces back on the player’s next turn. The game changes yet again when a player is reduced to only 3 pieces. At this point, they can move their pieces to any available space on the board.
The Kotsanas Museum edition of the Game of Nines is hand-crafted with a wooden board and 12 metal pieces in 2 different colors. It’s absolutely beautiful, though because it’s handmade there may be some imperfections here and there, most notably in the recessed spaces. The box the game arrives in is simply printed cardboard, a bit flimsy and doesn’t close very well. I’d suggest finding a different way to store your game if you decide to pick up the game.
Kotsanas Museum’s version of the Game of Nines was actually my first introduction to the game, having never really played Nine Man’s Morris growing up. The game itself, as far as classic abstracts go, is not really my cup of tea. It starts off almost feeling like a game of Tic Tac Toe and once one player has an advantage it feels like it’s pretty much impossible to stop them. There are many more classic, and even modern, abstracts that are just more fun to play.
What I’d really like to take a look at here are the museum’s hand-made board and pieces. They’re beautifully made, though the wood isn’t as high quality as I’d hope for a collectible piece such as this. The tiny metal thimble-like pieces are simple, elegant, and easy to use. The box, as I stated above, is a bit of a disappointment. Also, the rules that come in the box are incomprehensible. You really can’t learn how to play with the slip of paper included in the box.
All in all, it’s a fair set, made a bit less attractive by its €45.50 price tag. For that price, I’d expect something a bit more on the luxury end considering it’s just a square board and 12 pieces. I can’t really recommend spending that kind of money on Kotsanas Museum’s Game of Nines set when there’s plenty of better sets out there.
A Game of Nines set was provided free for review by Kotsanas Museum.
Media personality Rob Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of A Pawn’s Perspective, Rob focuses on board game reviews, events, and news. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.