Hnefatafl. The Viking Game. The Fetlar Rules. For boards 11 squares by 11 squares. The Game. There are two sides. The attackers arranged in groups of 6 at. Dragonheel’s lair: Free online boardgames. Play hnefatafl online. Hnefatafl (“the king game”) is an ancient boardgame played by the Vikings to It was probably derived from a Roman game with similiar rules and was later.

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The game is one of pure strategy, played on a square board. A king and a small force of defenders occupy the centre of the board.

A larger force of attackers, twice as numerous as the defenders, occupy positions around the edge of the board. The objective of the king is to escape to the periphery of the board, while the objective of the attackers is to capture the king, preventing his escape. The pieces move orthogonally, like rooks in chess, and capture is by surrounding a piece on two opposite sides.

There are minor variations on these rules, as the game was spread across northern Europe in an age before the printing and mass communication necessary for international standardisation. Each community developed its own “house rules”, and used a board and pieces appropriate to the materials they had to hand.

If you want to make your own set, to use hnefatafl as an historical reenactment activity, or to hold a tournament, then you would benefit from a deeper understanding of the rules and variations.

If you want to follow me, then I’ll start with a look at the variety of boards the game has been played on. Thanks for your query, Simon! In most versions of hnefatafl a piece cannot be pinned against the edge of the board.

Hnefahafl it is a piece that can be captured by surrounding it on two sides, then two enemies are still able to capture it, by moving to either side of it along the edge of the board. If the piece needs four pieces to surround it like the king in Copenhagen or Fetlar Hnefatafl then it cannot be captured against the edge of the board rulss it must be forced to move away from the edge to capture it.


The defenders can capture just like the attackers do. Some versions of the game say that the king himself can’t capture attackers, so it’s best to check the rulesheet for the particular version you’re playing.

Thanks for your enquiry, Jan! The size of the set doesn’t really make a difference, it’s the rule set that you play by that affects the difficulty.

Tawlbwrdd and Sea Battle Tafl are the easiest to learn, and both can be played well on boards from 9×9 to 13x You can find them both on the Hnefatafl Variants page hndfatafl the link in the sidebar. Thanks for your query, Paul! In that situation the white piece can safely come to rest between the two black pieces.

Rules of the game hnefatafl

Capture has to be an active move by the aggressor, so in this case one of the black pieces would have to move away and back again. Scenario is King in first row, third square up and muscovite in first row second square. Drabant in row 2, square one. Thanks for your question, Heidi. In most rule sets where a king must reach a corner to win, no other piece can enter a corner square. The corner squares can act as capturing pieces for either side, though. So in the situation you describe, the Muscovite when it moves into the second square on the first row would be vulnerable to capture by any enemy that can subsequently move up to the third square hnefafafl that first row.

It also includes what I believe is the strongest A.

A Rule Book for Hnefatafl | Hnefatafl: the Game of the Vikings

Player yet developed to play these games. I personally favour edge escape rules, as documented by Linnaeus. My research and development in particular shows that these rules in their purest form provide an exceptionally strategic and well balanced game. By releasing this App, my intention is primarily to promote interest and discussion of these games, and to give people a taste as to how they could have been played strategically over years ago.


The king may be surrounded, but he has a way out on the next move. Hi, im curious of whether or not you have a digital copy of the main rules in downloadable format. Thanks for your enquiry, Jacob. If you click on the “Rules Rkles link on the “Related Pages” sidebar of this page to the right on desktop screens, or at the foot of the page on Mobilesyou’ll see a range of downloadable PDF leaflets for different versions of the game.

In the same place as the “Rules Leaflets” link, there’s a “Print-and-play Downloads” link too, with PDF game sets that also include the rules. Apologies for missing your comment earlier, Fules.

Hnefatafl: the Game of the Vikings

Surrounding the king gives immediate victory to the attackers. It’s not “check” as such; when the king is surrounded he’s considered to be captured.

I fell in love with Vikings from the start, and with some research, very impressed by the factual basis behind the characters altered for dramatical reasons. Travis Fimmell is from a place near to were I grew up, and has his part nailed perfectly.

S5 and the board game: There’s no agreed standard yet. Online tournaments often use the Copenhagen Hnefatafl rules on an 11×11 board, though Tawlbwrdd is also popular. Tablut is popular on the 9×9 board.

Brandub is used on the 7×7. All can be found through the search feature on this site. Hi, I haev a sert of this and teh rules I got with rulex say that to capture the king, you have to surroudn it on 4 sides, rather than the usual 2, but i find this massively unbalances the game in favour of the defenders.

What do your rules say about taking the king? Notify of replies Yes No.