Tafl games date to the Viking period and have many variants and a wide range of rules. The games all comprise a smaller army defending a king, attacked by an army with twice the number of men. The king's side win if he can escape to a corner; the attackers win if they can first trap him. The name 'Hnefatafl' appears in Norse literature, and many boards have been recovered from Viking archaeological sites. The board supplied here is of 9 x 9 squares and reproduces the only version recorded historically in play, by Linnaeus in eighteenth century Lapland, where it was called 'Tablut'; though this size board has also been recovered from ninth or tenth century Jarlshov in the Shetlands. Though having fairly simple rules and being accessible to children Hnefatafl is an excellent strategy game and deserves to be better known.
All games come with historic notes and full rules
Linen board c. 8.5" x 8.5"; wooden men 3/4", in a sturdy card tube
This asymmetrical game is usually played twice with each player alternately taking the part of the king
Variations to the rules allow advantages for inexperienced players