the Game of the Vikings

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Deluxe 25-piece Hnefatafl Game (no background)

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.

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: History.

Latest News & Blog:
Last Days for International Christmas Orders

23 Nov: If you don't live in the UK, and you want to give someone The Viking Game from The Hnefatafl Shop for Christmas, you'll need to be aware of the ... (read more...)

Featured Page:
Hnefatafl Variants

The Rules section explains all the variations you might come across in hnefatafl. If you want a ready-made rule set, then you need to pick a variant and play ... (read more...)

Daily Article:
Nes: Set(s) of Playing Pieces

Forty-seven pieces and three walrus ivory dice were found at Nes, in Norway. The presence of the dice has prompted suggestions that these were originally three more modest sets ... (read more...)


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

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