Hnefatafl: the Game of the Vikings

Hnefatafl: the Game of the Vikings

The Viking Game

While most of the world knows how to play the ancient games of backgammon, chess and draughts, there is an almost forgotten game, comparatively ancient, which hangs like a spectre over a large part of northern Europe. This game is hnefatafl, also known in its various forms as tafl, brandubh, tawlbwrdd, alea evangelii and tablut, and less certainly by some as gwyddbwyll and ficheall. It is a game of skill in which a king tries to escape, with the help of his men, from a numerous besieging army.

Hnefatafl Mailing List

A regular newsletter about the goings on in the Hnefatafl world.  Here tournaments will be announced, both face-to-face and on-line, and afterwards the results will be posted where available.  The ... (read more & subscribe...).

On this web site I will take you on a tour of the game, starting with its history from the earliest times, through its travels with the Viking settlers, on to the time of its decline and finally to its modern revival. Then I will explain the rules, taking in the large number of variations that have existed through the ages. After that I will give an outline of the game's strategy. Finally, you can play the game against the computer or a friend using a virtual board.

I have provided at the end of each page a link to the next section of our tour. So if you would like to join me, our tour will start with the game's history.

Next: The History of Hnefatafl


Hi, Swedish guy in Stockholm. We have plans for an Hnefatafl tourney in Stockhlm this year. Advice is always good :-)

Can we get contacts?

Best regards Benkt

Benkt Steentoft - 07:01, 31/01/2015

Thanks for getting in touch, Benkt! I'd be very interested to hear about the tournament. There's an email link at the bottom of every page - please send me details and I'll be happy to publicise it! I can also help to put you in touch with others who have organised tournaments before.

Damian Walker - 08:34, 31/01/2015

Hi I am the organiser of Lytham Arts Festival 2015 and on Saturday 11th July we are hosting the Lancashire Museum of Gaming who will be exhibiting Hnefatafl amongst other games. You would be very welcome to join us!

The venue is The Lytham Assembly Rooms in the centre of Lytham, Lancashire. 10am - 5pm

Kind regards

Richard Marshall - 08:19, 01/04/2015

List of Tafl variants:

D - 13:17, 06/04/2015

What is the goal

sophia - 18:44, 13/05/2016

Hello Sophia, and apologies for the length of time it's taken me to reply! The goal is for the king to escape from the board, or for the attackers to capture the king.  The full details are in the "Rules" section of the site.

Damian Walker - 07:54, 06/08/2016


I am in a reanactment group that covers 1066 till about 1720.  Currently, I am hosting an event that is called "Its all fun and games.."

In this event, we will be researching games that were created durring those times, we are creating them and entering them for prizes.  I have been looking for information on various games to share with the other members.  Is there other sites available that would help us?

Many thanks


aka ben seyr Alistrina Lannoon Amragosso

Donna - 21:54, 02/02/2017

Hello Donna!

There is a sister site to this one,, that deals with a number of games from 3000 B.C. to A.D. 1900. You'll doubtless find a lot of interesting information on there.

Damian Walker - 22:26, 02/02/2017


I just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of thanks for putting together this very excellent website. It's always good to know that there is a community out there trying to keep some of the old ways alive!


Philip Piercey - 13:36, 21/03/2017

WOW, thanks so very much!  I have pased along the info and have many happy members!!!!  Have a great day!

Donna - 14:54, 21/03/2017

love it!!

COWBOY - 15:11, 04/04/2017

oh WOW!!!  Thanks so much for the link.  That site was perfect and assisted me in creating a Alquerque board!

Donna - 16:10, 05/04/2017

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