Hnefatafl

the Game of the Vikings

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Rules for Ludus Latrunculorum

A starting layout for ludus latrunculorum.

A starting layout for ludus latrunculorum.

Below are some suggested rules for Ludus Latrunculorum, also known as Latrunculi, a probable ancestor of the game of hnefatafl. These have been taken mainly from H. J. R. Murray (A History of Board-Games Other than Chess, 1952) and David Parlett (Oxford History of Board Games, 1999).

1. The game of ludus latrunculorum can be played on a board of 8x8 squares. It can be played on larger or smaller boards, if the numbers of pieces are adjusted so that each side's pieces fills one row of the board.

2. Upon the board are set eight soldiers of each colour, black on the back row of the board, and white opposite. On the next row in front of the soldiers, a king is positioned, each player placing the king on the fourth square from his left.

3. Black begins the game, alternating turns with white.

4. A player may move a piece as far as he pleases along a rank or file, though no piece may land on or jump over another.

5. The kings move as other men.

6. A man is captured by surrounding him on opposite sides along a rank or file. The kings may not be captured, but may aid in capturing enemy men.

7. A player wins the game when his opponent is left with only a king on the board.

See also

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