the Game of the Vikings

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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.

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:
Update: Playing Hnefatafl on this Site

27 Jul: Some months ago I wrote an explanatory post about the applets that (used to) let people play hnefatafl against the computer. To recap in a sentence, the security of ... (read more...)

Last Page Added:
Frequently Asked Questions

Some questions about hnefatafl come up regularly here, on the social media feeds for this site, and around the Internet in general. As I see them, I'll add them ... (read more...)

Daily Article:
Breakthru, by 3M

Designed by Alex Randolph and published by 3M in 1965, Breakthru features a flagship and twelve gold escorts against twenty silver enemy ships. It was released as part of ... (read more...)


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