Hnefatafl: the Game of the Vikings

Newly published: Reconstructing Hnefatafl

Cover of Reconstructing Hnefatafl
Cover of Reconstructing Hnefatafl

Tuesday, 26th November 2013

A new book about Hnefatafl is available. Reconstructing Hnefatafl, previously available in draft form, has been expanded and published as a hardback book. Written by Damian Walker, the book concentrates on historic versions of the game, trying to reconstruct the rules using artefacts and documentary sources. The book costs £9.99 and can be obtained from the Lulu web site:

Following on from An Introduction to Hnefatafl, the book attempts to reconstruct versions of hnefatafl played in past centuries, from its remotest antiquity to the last-documented version, tablut, from 1732. Unlike the more lightweight Introduction, Reconstructing Hnefatafl gives details about the sources used, and presents arguments for its interpretation. It can be used as a starting point for research by those wanting to create their own authentic reconstructions.

The main content of the book centres on four versions of hnefatafl for which we have a good amount of documentary and archaeological evidence: alea evangelii, brandub, tablut and tawlbwrdd. It also gives suggestions for how the game could have been played on boards of different sizes, like 13x13 and 15x15 boards found in Norway and England. This is all presented in reverse chronological order, as a kind of backwards history, as the later sources are the ones that give us the most detail.

The book is currently available in hardback form from the Lulu web site. If there is enough interest, the book may be released in other formats in the future.


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