Hnefatafl: the Game of the Vikings

Inspired by Hnefatafl Blog Series

There are some modern games who draw inspiration from hnefatafl. The idea of a small force in the middle of the game being surrounded by a larger force at the edge seems to be alluring to game designers. This is a blog series about games which have taken some inspiration from hnefatafl.

Subway: a Game Inspired by Hnefatafl


16 May: Last month I looked at Thud! - a game with apparent inspiration from hnefatafl, but whose links to that game are in appearance only. This month I want to look briefly at a contrasting game, which looks nothing like hnefatafl but whose game-play is very close indeed. Subway was published in the 1980s. It is a game of naval warfare set in modern times, with a group of destroyers trying to halt an incursion of submarines into a Scandinavian ... (read more...)

Thud! a Game Inspired by Hnefatafl


4 Apr: The sad death of author Terry Pratchett last month was a reminder to me that my to-do list contained a blog post about Thud, a board game inspired by his Discworld novels and by hnefatafl. Thud! was invented by board game enthusiast Trevor Truran. It's a battle that pits a small number of powerful trolls against a large number of dwarfs, the trolls starting at the middle of the board and the dwarfs distributed around the edge. So far ... (read more...)

Celtic Royal Chess: a Game Inspired by Hnefatafl


7 Mar: Last month I looked in detail at Breakthru, a game which was inspired by hnefatafl, and which is clearly a derivative. This month it's the turn of a game called "Brandubh", often subtitled "Celtic Royal Chess". The oldest reference to this game that I have seen is from 1998, in a mailing list or newsgroup post which sadly I can't now find. Its author Matthew Allen Newsome described a game he had bought, calling itself "Brandub", which used ... (read more...)

Breakthru: a Game Inspired by Hnefatafl


7 Feb: One can think of certain board games in terms of generations, each one descended from a number of ancestors, and spawning a number of descendants. In the case of hnefatafl, it appears to be descended from the ancient Greek and Roman games of petteia and ludus latrunculorum. And the games which it inspired are the subject of this new series of blog posts. There has been some speculation on the relationship between hnefatafl and fox & geese, another game ... (read more...)


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