Hnefatafl: the Game of the Vikings

Happy New Year! And a Review of 2014

English National Championship 2014 Final Match
English National Championship 2014 Final Match

Thursday, 1st January 2015

For this year's first post I thought I'd look at what's happened over the past year with hnefatafl both on this site and in the wider world.

Here on the web site Hnefatafl: the Game of the Vikings, things have been expanding. Since its relaunch in 2013, the site has become vastly more popular. Last year I added a new set of leaflets to the web site, allowing visitors to download and print leaflets for their own use and for events, classes, museums and anywhere else that they'd be useful. The shop was expanded with new games, including a new flagship product, the Compact 37-piece Hnefatafl Game. At the end of the year, I introduced some colour print-and-play files which might be tempt more people without a hnefatafl set into playing the game. But there's been plenty going on elsewhere, too.

New hnefatafl apps for mobile devices have been released. Cthulhu vs. the Vikings, Tafl Jocly, Hnefatafl 3D Viking Board Game and Hnefatafl: Norse Warfare appeared last year, as well as a rules app from our friends in Formby.

Talking of Cthulhu vs. the Vikings, which you may remember as the physical hnefatafl game launched on Kickstarter in 2013, the game also came to the web on its own web site and through a Facebook app. By the end of the year, the game entered regular production and is now on general sale.

There were some gains and some losses with on-line play last year. While the single-player hnefatafl app on our web site is still very popular, changes to the Java system in many people's browsers means that it is difficult for some people to access. This holds for all Java-based hnefatafl games across the web, of which there are many. On the plus side, new hnefatafl games have been added to other sites, particularly where tournaments are being held all the time. I was particularly delighted to see support for 7x7 games and 15x15 games appear there. Till then, I was the only person I know who showed any interest in the 15x15 board, of which there was an example found in York in 1976.

The English National Hnefatafl Championship was a great success in its second year at Sutton Hoo. And a new tournament was set up by our friends in Formby. The Northwest England Regional Championship had its first event in October. One tournament was cancelled, though: the Fetlar championship couldn't go ahead because of the ill health of its organiser, Peter Kelly. Sadly Peter passed away later in the year, and will be sorely missed.

Finally, a new book was published about board games, which includes tablut as one of twelve games covered in some depth. A Book of Historic Board Games, by Damian Walker, takes a dozen games and for each one gives a history, the rules and some tips on strategy. Hopefully the tablut chapter should interest some more people in our favourite game.

I'm sure that there was lots going on that I missed. Let's hope that 2015 is an even more eventful year for Hnefatafl. So enjoy your games and have a Happy New Year!


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