hist-games: Morris

Jane & Mark Waks waks at comcast.net
Mon Nov 28 19:25:07 PST 2005


Mats Winther wrote:
> The simplest morris (merels) games, like three-men morris, and 'nine
> holes', don't make much sense to me. They are as inspiring as
> Tic-Tac-Toe. So how come these games have been depicted everywhere; in
> medieval churches, in Indian and Egyptian temples? At Westminster
> Abbey there's a 'nine holes' pattern that shows every sign of much
> use. But I've studied these games and, unlike nine-men morris, they
> seem almost silly. Still, they were immensely popular during the
> antiquities and medieval times. Can anybody explain this?

You're over-thinking it. Consider: people in all ages have been fond of 
playing idiotically simple games. People *still* play tic-tac-toe. The 
Alfonso MS attests games like the Zodiac game, one of the most pointless 
wastes of time I know of (albeit with some of the prettiest pieces). We 
get attestations of Doublets (nearly as mindless as Zodiac) for, what?, 
a good 300 years halfway across Europe.

You're thinking of this as a hardcore gamer. That's great, but most 
people, in most times, are looking for simple social pastimes, not 
always deep strategy. For many people, nine men's morris is at the 
*upper* end of desired complexity, not the lower...

				-- Justin




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