Hnefatafl: the Game of the Vikings

Reconstructing Hnefatafl: now available in paperback

Cover of Reconstructing Hnefatafl
Cover of Reconstructing Hnefatafl

Thursday, 6th February 2014

The book Reconstructing Hnefatafl has been made available in paperback form for the first time. The original edition was published in hardback format in November, but the new paperback allows the book to be obtained at a lower price. Some minor changes have been made, and these are also reflected in a revised edition of the hardback book too.

Reconstructing Hnefatafl concentrates on bringing back to life the historic versions of the game that we encounter in literature and archaeology. For each variant the rationale behind the reconstruction is discussed, giving the reasons behind the adoption or rejection of various interpretations. This format should appeal to those wanting to study the game seriously - re-enactors, game manufacturers, programmers of computer versions, and anyone else with a serious and deep interest in hnefatafl.

The book is 69 pages long, and the largest chapters cover four main variants: tablut, tawlbwrdd, brandub and alea evangelii. After the discussion about evidence, the rules are summarised in a format that allows easy testing and play. But other chapters also look into some archaeological finds for other games: the boards from Gokstad, Vimose and York; each of these chapters gives starting layouts and suggests rules for the board.

Author Damian Walker has been studying hnefatafl and other traditional board games since 2003. As well as Reconstructing Hnefatafl, he has published a 20-page booklet An Introduction to Hnefatafl, and a series of 60 leaflets about a variety of old board games, the latter used by museums and other educational institutions.

The new paperback costs £5.99 (plus postage and packing) and can be ordered from Lulu's site:, and will soon be listed at other outlets. The revised hardback is available from Lulu only:


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