Hnefatafl: the Game of the Vikings

Hnefatafl Matches

On this page you will find a selection of hnefatafl matches that you can play through.  Most of these are real matches from tournaments in the past.  You will need to be familiar with the Game Notation used, in order to recreate the games on a board.

A Book of Historic Board Games: Attacker Win

a-win-for-the-attackers-in-tablut

This match was reproduced in A Book of Historic Board Games , by Damian Gareth Walker.  It shows an example of an attacker victory, where the king has been hemmed in and is unable to escape.  The king's side resigned before the final capture, but when their defeat was inevitable.  See also A Book of Historic Board Games: Defender Win from the same book. (read more...)

A Book of Historic Board Games: Defender Win

a-win-for-the-king-and-defenders

The following match shows an example of a win by the defending team.  It comes from A Book of Historic Board Games  by Damian Gareth Walker.  The king has broken out of the incomplete blockade and his escape cannot be stopped.  The attackers have resigned before the king got to the edge, because his victory was inevitable. (read more...)

A Demonstration of Ard Ri

a-hopeless-position-for-the-defenders-in-ard-ri

Sometimes you'll see a hnefatafl game called  Ard Ri . It's mentioned on numerous web pages (including Wikipedia ), it's sold in sets, it's playable on line, and there are even Twelve Hnefatafl Games for Your Mobile Phone: Ard Ri Tactics dedicated to the game. Which is very odd, as the game is unplayable. Ard Ri has a number of guises, but all have the game played on a 7x7 board with 25 pieces: a king and eight defenders against ... (read more...)

Bullen vs. Jennings 2014

bullen-vs-jennings-2014

This was the final match at the English National Hnefatafl Championship in 2014.  The players where Pete Jennings, taking the part of the attackers, and Tim Bullen taking the part of the king and defenders.  The rules are Fetlar Hnefatafl , in which the attacker moves first, and the king, who is armed, must reach a corner square or be captured by being surrounded on four sides by attackers. The game lasted 12 moves, after which Jennings conceded. ... (read more...)

Scottish Hnefatafl, June 2016

end-of-duhawk93-v-tuireann-match-june-2016

Back in June,  Aage Nielsen  proposed a set of rules for hnefatafl to be played on Scottish boards.  The rules, in summary, are that the king is moves and is captured like other pieces, and wins on reaching the edge. There is nothing special about the central square; it does not aid in captures and any piece can land there when it is vacant. A tournament was run with these rules to test them.  While the tournament format ... (read more...)

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