Hnefatafl: the Game of the Vikings

AI Tournament 2016: Hnefatafl Meets Robot Wars!

Wednesday, 9th March 2016

Jay Slater has been doing a lot of work on hnefatafl artificial intelligence. Now he's announced a tournament where computer hnefatafl players can play head-to-head: The 2016 OpenTafl Computer Tafl Open. Taking place in December 2016, the schedule gives programmers plenty of time to put together an artificial intelligence to take part.

The diversity of hnefatafl makes it interesting to historians and re-encactors, but the lack of standardisation is a problem to both humans and computers striving for a high level of play. For the computers, at least, Jay is in the process of creating a solution: OpenTafl is a system that allows rules to be briefly summarised in a machine-readable format. A string of characters can tell the computer player how the pieces are laid out, whether the king wins at a corner or at the edge, which squares are restricted, and other details that vary from one hnefatafl rule set to another.

This competition will be a good opportunity for people developing their own hnefatafl AI, whether it is as part of an academic project or a full hnefatafl app. If that isn't incentive enough, Jay is offering a prize for the winner! For more information about the tournament, see the link below.


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