Hnefatafl: the Game of the Vikings

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That's one of the down sides of corner-victory versions of Hnefatafl, norseman. If the attackers are adjacent to the corners, you can capture them by sandwiching them between your defender/king and the corner square. This is because in corner-victory hnefatafl games, the corner squares are counted as a piece of either colour for the purpose of capturing.

If the attackers have left a space behind their lines, and have closed off all four corners that way, then the game is lost for the defenders (see Watching the Exits on the Attack strategy page). The defender's only hope is to move out early to take control of at least one corner for themselves, and prevent a complete blockade from happening.

Damian Walker - 05:23, 21/12/2018 - Short-term Tactics for Both Sides

Thanks for getting in touch, Anne! That's a great set, I've already got one though and don't need another. I'd suggest you stick it on eBay, though, as they often seem to fetch a good price.

Damian Walker - 05:17, 21/12/2018 - The Hnefatafl Shop

Thanks for this, Miguel! It would be great to see more hnefatafl gaming sessions on here. Although I posted sets worldwide until recently, I've had to stop posting games out.

Damian Walker - 05:11, 21/12/2018 - Hnefatafl: the Game of the Vikings

Thanks for your enquiry, Winston! Reconstructing Hnefatafl has more about the process of putting together an authentic and playable game. It goes further into detail about the historical sources and how they were interpreted to reconstruct the game.

It's an older book than An Introduction to Hnefatafl, so some of the conclusions differ between the books. If you're wanting to research the game rather than just play it, I recommend Reconstructing on the basis that it gives full references to its sources.

Damian Walker - 05:07, 21/12/2018 - Frequently Asked Questions

Say the opponent traps all 4 corners, how do you open those corners back up?

norseman - 19:12, 19/12/2018 - Short-term Tactics for Both Sides

Hi, I came across the  Brandubh set in an old shop. It is a 1994 version by Flynn and O'Flaherty, handles as figures on either end, the same as photo on your site. Would you be interested in buying it from me? It looks in mint condition, instructions, cloth bag, quite heavy and boxed.

Many thanks for any advice you could give me!


Anne CARMODY - 02:39, 17/12/2018 - The Hnefatafl Shop

Hi! I was first introduced to Tablut in the 1980's, trough a French magazine "Jeux & Stratégie"! I'm running a blog on boardgames, and one of the segments to come is called "PAW - Playing Around the World", based on photo contibutions of readers. I would apprecite very much if you would take a look and consider participating. Any comments welcome: Do you ship sets to Portugal? Thanks

Miguel Conceição - 13:43, 16/12/2018 - Hnefatafl: the Game of the Vikings

I recently purchased Damian Walker's book, Reconstructing Hnefatafl.  I now see another book by him, An Introduction to Hnefatafl - is there signifcant additional information in this book not included in Reconstructing Hnefatafl?

Winston Johnson - 17:53, 11/12/2018 - Frequently Asked Questions

This article could perhaps make mention of the fact that the game Linnaeus observed in Lapland was played not by ethnic Norwegians or Swedes but by Sámi. The name Linneaus used for this game, tablut (modern spelling "dábllot"), simply means "to play a board game" in Lule Sámi. Linneaus must have confused the word for the activity with the name of the game. He also included several other words from Sámi gaming terminology in the otherwise Latin rule set (gånågis, rájgge, dujgu).

"Tablut" is obviously part of the North European family of games now known as "tafl games", but it is specifically the Sámi member of this family. And probably also just one variant of the now-lost Sámi tafl tradition. From what we know of other Sámi board games, there were local variants of pretty much every game, and it is unlikely that tablut would be the only Sámi board game not to be given this "local innovation" treatment.

Mihkkal - 09:41, 14/11/2018 - Hnefatafl: a Game in Decline

Greetings. The game looks beautiful. Do you still have these in stock?

I would like to order 23 sets for my class as birthday gifts, as in 2019 we will be focusing on Viking culture.

Would there be a cheaper price when ordered in bulk this way? I am not reselling, simply giving as a gift.


Angela- NSW


Angela Earth - 21:18, 12/11/2018 - Hnefatafl from Gothic Green Oak

The laser sounds like a great way to make the game boards. I woodburn by hand, and I don't think most people realize how time consuming it really is, especially on hardwood. I spent 4 hours a day for three weeks stipple burning The world tree on a piece of red oak, and the design was only 9"×12".

VALDR - 21:54, 03/11/2018 - Laser Engraver on the Way!

Is this site still active?

Valdr - 02:25, 29/10/2018 - Hnefatafl Mailing List