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While most of the world knows how to play the ancient games of backgammon, chess and draughts, there is an almost forgotten game, comparatively ancient, which hangs like a spectre over a large part of northern Europe. This game is hnefatafl, also known in its various forms as tafl, brandubh, tawlbwrdd, alea evangelii and tablut, and less certainly by some as gwyddbwyll and ficheall. It is a game of skill in which a king tries to escape, with the help of his men, from a numerous besieging army.
On this web site I will take you on a tour of the game, starting with its history from the earliest times, through its travels with the Viking settlers, on to the time of its decline and finally to its modern revival. Then I will explain the rules, taking in the large number of variations that have existed through the ages. After that I will give an outline of the game's strategy. Finally, you can play the game against the computer or a friend using a virtual board.
I have provided at the end of each page a link to the next section of our tour. So if you would like to join me, our tour will start with the game's history.
Latest News & Blog:
New Product: Deluxe Medium Hnefatafl Game
4 Dec: Today a new product is being launched in The Hnefatafl Shop. The Deluxe Medium Hnefatafl Game is a stylish addition to the shop's range. It is aimed at the ... (read more...)
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Copenhagen Hnefatafl Rules
The Copenhagen rules were formulated at http://aagenielsen.dk/ to address some of the shortcomings of the Fetlar rules, and other games where the king must reach a corner. Its peculiarities ... (read more...)
Nes: Set(s) of Playing Pieces
Forty-seven pieces and three walrus ivory dice were found at Nes, in Norway. The presence of the dice has prompted suggestions that these were originally three more modest sets ... (read more...)