Single-step Hnefatafl Leaflet Available
Sunday, 6th July 2014
As a little treat for those playing on 9x9 boards, I've added a new leaflet to the rules leaflets page: single-step hnefatafl. This is a perfect "add-on" if you've bought one of the 25-piece games from this site, or if you have another 9x9 board without the usual starting positions marked.
Single-step hnefatafl is a peculiar thing. Pieces move only to adjacent squares, instead of making long rook-like strides as in other versions of hnefatafl. They are also set out, at the start of the game, with the defenders in a square formation instead of the more usual cross adopted for 9x9 games (this cross layout being one of the few authentic hnefatafl layouts left to us by history).
I can only trace this rule set back to a game called Papillon's Escape, released in the 1970s and inspired by the 1969 novel Papillon. Since then it has been copied; two books include the rules: John Astrop's Pocket Book of Board Games, and J. & J. Loader's book Making Board, Peg and Dice games. A few commercial manufacturers have used these rules too.
Single-step hnefatafl is obviously a slower-moving, longer-term game than most hnefatafl variants. If you want to try it out, click on the leaflet's link elsewhere on this web page.