Hnefatafl: the Game of the Vikings

Sutton Hoo Championship in its Third Year

Hnefatafl event at Sutton Hoo.
Hnefatafl event at Sutton Hoo.

Saturday, 1st August 2015

Next weekend, on the 8th and 9th of August, the English National Hnefatafl Championship will be held at Sutton Hoo for the third time. This will be the first such event to use the Copenhagen Hnefatafl rules. Entry to the competition is free, but there is an entrance fee for Sutton Hoo itself.

The championship was started in 2013 by the Ealdfaeder re-enactment group after the success of the World Quickplay Hnefatafl Championship in Fetlar. The Fetlar competition ran from 2008 to 2013, using rules specially devised for the event by the late Peter Kelly.

Initially running with the Fetlar rules, the championship at Sutton Hoo will switch this year to the Copenhagen Hnefatafl rules. These were created in about 2011, building on Fetlar Hnefatafl, adding some extra rules to reduce draws and maintain balanced play. They are often used in on-line championships.

This year the competition is organised jointly between Ealdfaeder and the World Tafl Federation, with the Federation chair Tim Millar acting as umpire. More details about the competition are available from the Ealdfaeder web site:


Very nice that you play Hnefa-tafl. This game should be expanded to the Netherlands.

Johan van der Meulen - 10:27, 05/09/2015

As it happens, Johan, there are people playing it; I often receive orders from the Netherlands. I read that it was played in Dorestad in the first millennium, so it would be nice if it became popular there again. The Chessmen museum in Rotterdam have written about the game before (see - they might know if it is regularly played anywhere near you.

Damian Walker - 11:08, 05/09/2015

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