Hnefatafl: the Game of the Vikings

Play a Game Loved by the Vikings!

The Viking Game is available from The Hnefatafl Shop. We post all over the world!

Fetlar Hnefatafl Tournament 2017

The famous live tournament is back this year! Find out more about it here.

Some Bedtime Reading

An Introduction to Hnefatafl is a book that takes you through the history of this excellent game, teaching rules and strategy at the same time.

Hnefatafl: the Game of the Vikings

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

Comments

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: http://l-lists.com/en/lists/wsk3ce.html

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

Greeetings,

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

Donna

aka ben seyr Alistrina Lannoon Amragosso

Donna - 21:54, 02/02/2017

Hello Donna!

There is a sister site to this one, www.cyningstan.com, 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

Heja!

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!

Tack!

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

Looking for Tafl fans javascript developers !

Jocly went open-source (search for "jocly" on github.com) and implements a number of Tafl games. Javascript developers are very welcome to contribute game options and improving the AI (not as hard as it sounds).

Jocly is a Web library that can be used in any site or in some applications (search for "joclyboard" on github.com).

mig - 09:35, 18/05/2017

I just discovered the game(s) and this site, wonderful, thank you. I found out about the game in reading an old scholarly article on the Lewis Set in Medieval Archeology 53. Never too late for an old man to learn something new (I soon turn 75). I have made chess boards before, but this was a new challenge. I did a 9x9 with two inch porcelain tiles which my replica Lewis set just barely fits. Because I have four warders for each side I can use the pieces to play Hnefatafl. Anyone wanting photos let me know.

Richard Earl - 01:33, 05/07/2017

Thanks for getting in touch, Richard! I'd love to see the photos of your set, and if you're happy for me to add them to an image gallery, to do that too. Please could you send them on using the Email link on the site's footer?

Damian Walker - 08:31, 05/07/2017

Hi

We are planning a memerioal Tournament for the late Peter Kelly who was the architect in developing the Fetlar Rules. Provsionally set for 21st October at Fetlar hall. There will be both Junior and Senior catgories as well as a Junior v senior champoin match. Finals will be played using real vikings from Shetland Up Helly Aa squads as pieces ! You can keep up to date on the latest information about the tournament at http://www.fetlar.org/hnefatafl-world-championship.

The rules used will of course be the Fetlar rules using the speed Hnefatafl format that Peter also developed, where players have to move before the strike of a gong struck at quite short intervals !

We would love to see anyone who can make it.

Robert Thomson - 13:50, 10/08/2017

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