Row or Mill Games
Morris - Linea - Tabula - Mühle


Sometimes called Games of Alignment, row games have been played in many parts of the world since ancient times. There are existing examples from ancient Egypt, India, Crete, Greece, and Rome. In France and Italy these games have been known as Linea or Tabula, while in Germanic languages they are called Mühle, and in England they are called Mill Games or Morris Games. The word "Mill" or "Morris" may be a linguistic adaptation of the word "Moor" - the name of the Arabic people from North Africa who introduced many of these games into Europe in the middle ages.

Most contemporary North Americans are familiar with a Three-In-A-Row game (pictured above) - the pencil and paper game known as Tic-Tac-Toe. However in Europe, Asia, and Africa many people have long been playing similar games which require the alignment of five or nine symbols in a row. Most of these latter games are played on boards scratched in the earth, carved into wooden or stone benches, or cardboard or wooden boards constructed for these variations. There are at least nine different board configurations for these games.

These games are grouped together because they all have the same purpose - that is for two players to each place a symbol on the board, one symbol at a time during alternate turns of play, with the goal of aligning a series of agreed upon symbols in a "row", while at the same time attempting to prevent the other player from doing the same thing. In each version of the game, as the number of symbols are increased, the goal does not change, nor does the primary mode of play. In versions using five or nine symbols, additional procedures are added to the play of the game.

H.J.A. Murray, A History of Board Games Other Than Chess, Oxford University Press, 1952, has made an extensive study of these games. Claudia Zaslavsky, Tic Tac Toe and Other Three-In-A-Row Games, New York: Crowell, 1982, offers examples of row games ranging from ancient ones to computer variations. Information in this section is drawn from these two references as well as other sources.

click on a picture below to find out more about each game
Nine Holes Nine Points O + X Tapatan
Nine Holes Nine Points O+X Tapatan
Five PointsMill Nerenchi Picaria
Five Points Mill Game Nerenchi Picaria
Artic Hunt Gomoku Go-Bang Shisima
Artic Hunt Go Board GoBang Shisima board
Pente3D Tic-Tac-Toe Computer TTTPentagonia
Pente board 3D Tic-Tac-Toe Computer TTT Pentagonia
OthelloChinese Friends
Othello Chinese Friends

Last update March 30, 2010