Hnefatafl: the Game of the Vikings

Ealdfaeder Taefl Rules

Alternative layout for the 9x9 board.
Alternative layout for the 9x9 board.

These are the rules regularly played by the Ealdfaeder Re-enactment Group for their own games.

1. The game is played on a board of nine squares by nine, set up with 25 pieces as in the accompanying diagram.

2. Two players take part, one being the defenders with their king at the centre of the board, the other being the attackers who start at the edges.

3. The objective for the king is to reach one of the four marked corner squares. The objective for the attackers is to capture the king.

4. The attackers take the first move.

5. All pieces move along a row or column, as far as is convenient. A piece when moved may not land on another, nor may it jump over other pieces.

6. The marked squares in the centre and corners are exclusive to the king; no other piece may land on them. Pieces may cross over the central square when it is not occupied by the king.

7. A piece other than the king is captured by surrounding it on two opposite sides along a rank or file; the captured piece is immediately removed from the board.

8. A piece may move deliberately between two enemies without harm; a capture must be a deliberate act by the moving side.

9. The king is captured by surrounding him with attackers on all four sides. If he is at the edge of the board or beside the central square, he may be captured by surrounding him on the remaining three sides.


So, the king is armed?

Fellhuhn - 12:07, 01/12/2016

I believe so. I can't remember my source for these rules, but if the king is weaponless I tend to state that explicitly.

Damian Walker - 06:09, 06/12/2016

Dear Damian, Is it impossible to get the king surrounded, whilst he stays near the mid-block/castle? In a 11x11 hnefatafl with legacy rules. With regards Thijs lous

Thijs lous - 07:15, 12/01/2022

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