Ancient Game Binge: Achi

Geek Culture

The geeklets and I recently discovered Achi, a very old game that is common in Africa, but likely has its origins in ancient Rome as a variant of Nine Men’s Morris, and versions of the game were also seemingly played in medieval Europe for a time.

We felt it would be the perfect desk accessory for Mom this Christmas, so we went about crafting a game board involving some wood moulding, a marble slab, a chisel, some hydrochloric acid, and decorative beads. Although my attempt at chemically etching the marble was a complete flop (though the acid did give the marble a nice aged/weathered look), we nevertheless think the result is quite nice.

But we can’t stop playing this game! (We are going to spoil the surprise for sure…) The game is dead simple and can be played anywhere. (Download

a PDF of game board and rules.) This game is going to be a great time-killer when waiting at the dentist’s, and is a great idea for a party activity.


After drawing your grid – which is a box split in half diagonally on each corner, then split perpendicularly both ways – you are left with nine points where all lines join.

• Each player gets three game pieces (which can be anything from coins to bottle caps to peanuts).
• Play begins with each player placing their pieces on a point.
• Once all pieces are placed, each player moves their piece along the lines joining each point. No jumping is allowed.
• The winner is the first one to move their pieces to get three in a row.
Challenge: Play continues until a player is able to get three in a row using the center point.


Liked it? Take a second to support GeekDad and GeekMom on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!