Hnefatafl – Board Game of the Vikings


Hnefatafl was the board game of the Vikings and in this video I explain the rules the way I was taught them. This epic Viking game was popular in many areas and countries long into the medieval age.

We don’t know exactly this game was played. The rules probably varied up through the centuries and depended on the geographical area. This is a modern interpretation.

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  1. At 5:40 the king is captured with 3 attackers but can’t he just go back to the Center square? I was playing online with the computer and the computer returned the king to the center. Pls confirm.

  2. 1 Corinthians 11:14
    Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him?

  3. I started playing this game and after a few weeks it seemed like the attackers have the advantage to the extent that they will always win unless they make a mistake. Has anyone else found this, and if not what do you do as the defender to stop the attacker from surrounding you or break out once the corners are blocked?

  4. My sister gave me a Hnefatafl board for my birthday and this video helps me to understand how to play so much better. Now I can play against my family and strain our relationships with bad sportsmanship! <3

  5. I might need to actually play this or watch someone play it, but as I imagine it being played in my head… it doesn't sound like the attacking player has a big chance of ever capturing the King. It looks to be extremely easy to move the King to the corners…

  6. I just realized the other day that Quoridor, a game that I have wanted to try for a while, has a 9×9 board, the same as a variant of hnefatafl (the one with 8/16 pieces + king); so I'll build a board that does both (just need grooves between the squares for the quoridor walls).

  7. Thank you for explaining. I have wondered about the rules of that game. 🙂 Is there only those few rules?


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