Saturday, May 1, 2010

How to Play Navakankari

Navakankari is wellknown as Nine Men’s Morris or Mills in the western world. Navakankari is the sanskrit name which means nine pebbles. It is known as Saalu Mane Ata or Jodpi Ata or Char-Par in Kannada, Navkakri in Gujarati and Daadi in Telugu. This is an alignment game played by 2 players. Each player gets 9 nine pawns.

The game of Nava Kankari is played on a board consisting of three concentric squares connected by lines from the middle of each of the inner square's sides to the middle of the corresponding outer square's side.

Pieces are played on the points where two or more lines meet or intersect, so there are 24 playable points. This is a two-player game and each player gets 9 coins of different colour.

Contents: Game board - 1
Pawns - 9 +9

Preparation and Objective:

The basic aim of a player is to make ‘Mills’ - vertical or horizontal lines of three coins of same colour. Every time this is achieved, an opponent's piece is removed, the overall objective is to reduce the number of opponent's coins to 'two' or to block all moves of the opponent thus rendering the opponent unable to play.

How to play: 1. To begin with the board is empty.

2. Coins have to be placed only on intersections of lines (shown by blue dots in Fig. 1). During a turn only one coin has to be played.

3. Players toss a coin to decide who plays first and has a slight advantage as a result. Play is in two phases.

Phase 1:

4. To begin with, players alternately place one of their coin on any unoccupied point on the board.

5. A player has to place a coin such that he can make a 'Mill' or blocking the opponent from making a Mill.

6. A Mill is a formation of three coins of a player in a line either horizontally (Fig.2 & Fig.4) or vertically (Fig.3)

7. Mill is not formed when coins are not on a connected straight line (Fig. 5, Fig.6 & Fig. 7)

8. Whenever a Mill is formed by a player, he has to remove one of the opponent's coin from board which was not a part of a Mill. Coins in a Mill are safe and cannot be removed. Coins which are not in a Mill are unsafe.

9. The player has to strategically remove such a coin of opponent which would have helped the opponent in making a Mill in future.

10. A coin once removed from the board cannot be placed again on the board.

11. Phase 1 ends when all 18 coins have been placed on the board by players.

Phase 2:

12. After placing all coins on board, players start moving their coins. During a turn only one coin has to move (in any possible direction) to an adjacent empty point which is connected to its current point by a line (See following)

13. A coin cannot jump any coin or point (Fig.11). A coin cannot move to a point if (a) that point is not connected to its present point by a straight line (Fig.12) or (b) the point is not empty (Fig.13).

14. The player tries to either create a Mill and remove opponent's one coin or block opponent's Mill.

15. A player can make as many Mills as possible with his coins.

16. A Mill can be broken by its owner by moving one of its three coins. During another turn the player can remake the same Mill by moving back that same coin and remove an opponent's coin.

17. A player can capture maximum of 3 opponent's coins by making and remaking any particular Mill, once when it is first made and one each when it is broken and remade twice. Further breaking and remaking of that particular Mill will not empower the player to remove any of the opponent's coin.

18. A player loses the game when he is left with only two coins or when he cannot move any of his coins.

Benefits: This is an exciting game which helps develop strategy and planning.

Following is the flash animation created by me which shows how to play this game.

Mr. Faraz Khokhar has developed an app of this game. It is on Google Play and you can download it here.


Rachel said...

Thanks so much for this information. Nava Kankari seems like a really fun game and i'll be creating my own board! :)

H.S. Dharmendra said...

[Rachel] We are glad that you found the game to be fun and appreciate your enthusiasm to create your own board. Once you create it, then please send me its picture to me, I will include that picture in this blog. My email id is

Unknown said...

Its really fun playing this games. Thanks for your efforts to keep traditional boardgames live.

Dhanan said...

Glad to see the article:)

By the way I have created an online version of one of the board games in Kerala (Kavidi Kali) have a look


H.S. Dharmendra said...

@ Apple/Mac Books: Thanks for dropping by and leaving the comment.

@Dhanan: Thanks a ton for updating us with the Malayalam name and also for giving the link of your online version of Chauka Bara. I have already appended it to my CHAUKA BARA post.

Unknown said...

it helped me lot to prepare my kannada project thanks a lot!!!!!!!

Majestrix said...

A really interesting and informative blog.

But as far as I can recall, I used to play Navakankari with no mill being repeated. Because, once a player takes control of 4 points, it will be impossible for the second player to win.

Please look into the repeatability rule. Strict version of Navakankari doesn't allow mills to be repeated.

Manish said... will help me in creating java application

ankireddy anil kumar said...

is this games available online if so plese post the links

Faraz Ahmed Khokhar said...

If any one want to play this at your android phone than download from given link

Faraz Ahmed Khokhar said...

I have create my blog about my new android game how to play this game

trsquarelab said...

I found an interesting implementation of the game for android(All Men's Morris) where multiple coin options are given(with 3, 9, and 12).

Unknown said...

Love this game, I used to play and love this game in my childhood in rajasthan.
I am glad you reminded the instructions

Thanks a lot, God bless

Dhanu K said...

This game was the implementation of this game found on play store, namely Dhadi Game

download and play...

firstshop said...

Thanks for sharing the useful information. It helps me a lot and manu other people. The students could learn more about the Board Games Online for learning how to take decision and help in also real life.

InterstellarInc said...

Wow .. thank you so much .. and the example animation was extremely helpful

Anonymous said...

Sujatha Kore Somebody is making an effort to save our rich traditional games and saving it for the next generation.Good to know that there are people who take pride in their countrys heritage.very much apprecite it.....

Anonymous said...

goood to know that somebody is taking pride of the rich heritage and making an effort to save the traditional games for the next generation...........

very nice game .. appreciate the efforts.