Three rings to rule them all,
Nine men fighting against nine.
Closing the lines, capture is done,
I win if seven are mine.

Three men are flying, but more are not.
But on a plane they are all.
Now can you tell from this what I am?
For answers to this I now call.

  • $\begingroup$ assuming this is inspired from tolkien $\endgroup$ Oct 9, 2016 at 17:45
  • $\begingroup$ Judging from the 2nd line, I think the answer is ROT13(onfronyy), but I'm from the wrong part of the world to know much about this or how the other clues fit. $\endgroup$ Oct 9, 2016 at 17:53
  • $\begingroup$ Incidentally I proved years ago that the win if captured 7 rule is unnecessary. $\endgroup$
    – Joshua
    Oct 9, 2016 at 21:52
  • $\begingroup$ @Joshua: What do you mean with "unnecessary"? Of course you could just play on until all are captured (at which point the rule that you lose if you can't move kicks in), but since as soon as one player has only two stones it is obvious who will win (you can't capture with just two men left), there's no point in playing further. $\endgroup$
    – celtschk
    Oct 10, 2016 at 7:11
  • $\begingroup$ @celtschk: The winning sequence by three in a row is at most 4 moves if you have 3 men left. It's longer if you have 4 men left (can't fly) but equally inevitable. $\endgroup$
    – Joshua
    Oct 10, 2016 at 15:14

1 Answer 1


I can't solve it completely, but I think it is

Nine men's morris (lots of references to the rules of the game: nine pieces on each side, three on the same line means capture, capture seven pieces and you win, when only three pieces are left, "flying" is allowed).

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Could you edit this answer to add in an explanation as to why you think it is correct? Thanks! $\endgroup$
    – Deusovi
    Oct 9, 2016 at 18:51
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ If by "I can't solve it completely" you mean the two lines 1) "Three rings to rule them all" and 2) "But on a plane they are all": By 1) the three squares on the board are probably meant. And for 2): "plane" can also mean "surface" or "area". $\endgroup$
    – user14478
    Oct 9, 2016 at 19:07
  • $\begingroup$ That was fast! And @LukasRotter is right on the remaining points. $\endgroup$
    – celtschk
    Oct 9, 2016 at 19:15

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