Hnefatafl was the strategy board game of the Vikings. Predating the popular game of Chess by more than 500 years, this ages-old strategy game traveled with Scandinavian explorers, traders, and raiders alike, and was adopted by many of the cultures they came in contact with. The hnefatafl family of games is becoming popular again in these modern times; having been featured not only in film but also modern literature; this resurgence has given life to organizations dedicated to knowledge and mastery of the game. There are a great number of variants utilizing the tafl game mechanics; all ultimately derived from the original historical sources and extant finds. Hnefatafl is an excellent way to learn strategy as well as spend quality time with a friend or family member. These miniature boards are an excellent way to introduce a new player to the game, or begin an easily-transported collection of games for traveling to Faires and gatherings.
These miniature game boards are in stock and READY TO SHIP; each photo is of the actual board available for purchase. A numbered title on each picture corresponds to the drop-down selections; in the case of an "Out of Stock" item, please message me - if I have the wood readily available, I can create the requested board in 1-3 business days.
• Hnefatafl board constructed of 1/2-inch thickness hardwood; laser-engraved, hand-cut and finished with a satin lacquer. No pigmented stains are used; the color(s) of the individual boards is the actual wood hue (there are exotic boards occasionally available). This is a miniaturized version of the game, very suitable for traveling and carrying to events, such as Renaissance Faires, LARP events, picnics, etc.
• The playing grid has holes drilled at the intersecting lines, which can also act as guides for pawn movement, to accept the playing pegs (similar to cribbage pegs). One peg has been decorated to indicate the King piece. (For Brandub, the intersection play is actually the more historical method of game play, as evidenced by the Ballinderry extant board).
• Board has a playing grid area of 7x7 intersections (3.75 inches), with an approximate 1 inch artistic border surrounding the grid, for a total board size of 6 inches square.
• Playing pieces (13 total) are included. Made in the U.S. by a local woodworking supply shop, then stained and finished in complement to the board. A small drawstring bag is included for storage of the pieces.
• This is one of two mini Hnefatafl variants available in my store. This particular listing is for the "Irish Brandub", (aka "Bran Dubh") variant. There are many variants in the hnefatafl family of games, each with different starting positions and end goals.
GAME HISTORY / HOW TO PLAY:
• Hnefatafl (pronounced "neffa-toffel") was invented by the Vikings and taken to all corners of the Viking world: from Scandinavia to Russia, Germany to the British Isles, Iceland, Greenland, and even as far as Turkey and Newfoundland . It was such a good game of strategy and cunning that not only did the Vikings play it but also the people they came into contact with; the Anglo Saxons, the Celts, and the Sami in Lapland all came to love the game and produced their own variants. Hnefatafl is mentioned in the sagas, and skill in the game was held as a worthy virtue in Viking society. It has been theorized that hnefatafl predates the game of Chess by nearly 500 years.
• The King, starting from the center square and accompanied by four guards, wins the game if he reaches any one of the four corner squares along the grid edge. The attackers, outnumbering their opponent 2-1, win if they capture the King. The strategies involved in these actions can make the game more challenging than the simple rules suggest.
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