Hnefatafl: the Game of the Vikings

Brandub Leaflet

Brandub leaflet cover
Brandub leaflet cover

Download: leaflet-brandub-book.pdf
Size 108kb, downloads 4721.

This leaflet describes a 7x7 game in which the king wins on reaching a corner. The king can take part in captures himself, and is captured the same way as any other piece.

This game would work well in Irish and Celtic re-enactment events, or in classes about Irish social history. For tournaments, this is a balanced game which emphasises short-term tactics, and is not as trivial as it first appears.

Related Product: Brandub from Cyningstan


Play hnefatafl Celtic style with this lovely little Brandub game from Cyningstan.  When the Vikings took hnefatafl to Ireland, the Celtic people adopted the game and called it Brandub .  They preferred the smallest board, and adapted the rules to their own taste. The board is made from pine and is about six inches square (150mm).  The pattern for the board is burned into the wood, and is based on a mediaeval stone board found at Downpatrick Cathedral. ... (read more...)

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How to pronounce Brandub? Like brand-up or like the a in branch and the vowel in oops?

Thomas - 17:13, 16/06/2014

I'm not sure how it's pronounced, especially as the spelling varies. Some people spell it "brandubh" and pronounce it "bran-duv" or "bran-doo". I take the spelling from an academic article from 1945; sadly the article doesn't mention pronunciation.

Damian Walker - 17:15, 16/06/2014

Hi, i am Irish and know some Gaelic, it is really written Bran Duḃ or Bran Dubh which is said like English Bran Dove (slightly extend the 'O', Love, glove rhyming with Dubh), the 'Doo' is more of a Scottish/Welsh/Breton way of saying the same word and is more archaic now. It is also contracted into Brannumh/Brannuiṁ 'brann-ove/Brann-if'

John McMahon - 00:25, 19/06/2014

Hi. I was just wondering why there is corner escape and hostile corners - since thus not part of the tablut rules on which brandubh is based. Are there some indications the corner had a special function in brandubh, or does the small size of the board make this necessary for the gameplay to work some reason or other?

Mihkkal - 07:15, 31/08/2018

Hey. I'm wondering about revealed captures. If a defender is left pinned between an attacker and a centre square after the king moves out is the defender automatically captured? Or if a piece moves into a square which would result in capture. And from that, do these captures count as the other players turn? At what point are these resolved?

Lots of questions actually. Hope I explained that reasonably well. 

Rob - 16:18, 26/07/2019

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