Hnefatafl: the Game of the Vikings

An update on the Scottish Game

Scottish Hnefatafl: the end of a game at
Scottish Hnefatafl: the end of a game at
Copyright (C) Aage Nielsen 2016

Saturday, 20th August 2016

A couple of months have passed since the latest attempt to reconstruct hnefatafl how it might have been played in Scotland.  Many boards found in the Scottish islands and around the coast of the mainland had seven rows of seven playing spaces, but in contrast to the Irish brandub game, had no special corner squares.  The task of finding a playable game for these boards has long been a challenge.

Players on Aage Nielsen's hnefatafl site have continued to play the variant since a recent tournament established its viability as a playable version of hnefatafl.  The web site automatically updates balance figures for each variant of hnefatafl played and presents them on a report page.

This shows a figure in favour if the king's side: for every 100 games won by the attackers, 157 are won by the king and defenders.  Another way of representing this is to say that 61% of games are won by the defenders and 39% by the attackers.  This 3:2 split probably takes the proposed Scottish variant out of competition territory, but it's still a good variant for casual games or Scottish heritage events.


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