A Rule Book for Hnefatafl
The game is one of pure strategy, played on a square board. A king and a small force of defenders occupy the centre of the board. A larger force of attackers, twice as numerous as the defenders, occupy positions around the edge of the board.
The objective of the king is to escape to the periphery of the board, while the objective of the attackers is to capture the king, preventing his escape. The pieces move orthogonally, like rooks in chess, and capture is by surrounding a piece on two opposite sides.
There are minor variations on these rules, as the game was spread across northern Europe in an age before the printing and mass communication necessary for international standardisation. Each community developed its own "house rules", and used a board and pieces appropriate to the materials they had to hand.
If you want to make your own set, to use hnefatafl as an historical reenactment activity, or to hold a tournament, then you would benefit from a deeper understanding of the rules and variations. If you want to follow me, then I'll start with a look at the variety of boards the game has been played on.
Next: The Hnefatafl Board