Hnefatafl: the Game of the Vikings

Hnefatafl at Ealdfaeder

Pete Jennings with his English National Hnefatafl Championship trophy
Pete Jennings with his English National Hnefatafl Championship trophy
Photo courtesy of Pete Jennings, used with permission.

Saturday, 7th September 2013

Last month saw the English National Hnefatafl Championships at Sutton Hoo, umpired by Tim Millar and organised as part of a larger event by Ealdfaeder Re-enactment Group. The senior competition was won by Pete Jennings; the final has been recorded, and I hope to present the game on here some time in the future. The Junior Section winner of the English Championships was Guinevere Ferry-Swain. Her sister Delilah was reserve champion.

The Fetlar rules were used for the championship. But Ealdfaeder have their own variant of hnefatafl. This was pictured in the East Anglian Daily Times. It's played on a 9x9 board, with 25 pieces as with tablut, but with an alternative layout where the defenders are set out in a square. Pieces use the rook's move, and the king must reach a corner to win.

I have added the Ealdfaeder variant to the applet under the title "Ealdfaeder Taefl" on the Variant menu. To play Ealdfaeder Taefl, click on the "Play" link above, and select "Ealdfaeder Taefl" from the Variant menu before you set up the players and click Play. I have also added the rules to this site, see the link on this page.

You can read more about the activities of Ealdfaeder at their web site:


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