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Hnefatafl Viking Game

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Hnefatafl

Hnefatafl, translating to ‘Fist Table’ or ‘Kings Table’, is the original name for ‘The Viking Game’. It is one of the Tafle games that became popular in the dark ages of Northern Europe, and it is said that as early as 400 AD the game was popular in Viking households. Today, many unsurprisingly refer to Hnefatafl simply as ‘The Viking Game’, mainly due to how hard it is to pronounce and spell the word Hnefatafl!

Viking Game

Being a “Viking game”, and like many others created during that period, a lot of the pieces involved in Henfatafi were created to resemble Viking figures of the period. Today most of the physical versions of the game are still made in the Viking style, despite it being feasible to make the pieces in other styles that more resemble traditional chess pieces. There is little doubt that having ancient little Viking warriors on the board is beneficial to the overall feel of the game.

The game is for two players and has hints of chess like elements to it. There is a king and a large number of infantry piece that are similar to pawns. Unlike chess there is not an equal number of pieces.

Viking Game Board

Most of the original Viking game boards would been made from cloth, leather or some sort of flexible material. Our original set comes with a fabric roll up board with a lovely silk screen with a design that reflects both the Nordic and Celtic styles. We have also created a unique and stunning quality wooden version of the board which makes the gameplay far more satisfying and tactile.

Other ‘Viking’ Games

Hnefatafl is one of many Tafl games of Viking descent, including Skak Tafle, Kvatru Tafl and Hala Tafl. Many of the original Tafl games went on to evolve into other popular games such as nine men’s morris and Fox and Geese.

Viking chess set

The Viking game has also been known as the Viking chess set. The similarity to chess is undeniable but the game itself is very different. The Lewis Chess Set is without doubt the real Viking chess set with ancient figures carved and crafted by Vikings hundreds of years ago. There is little doubt that the figures in both the Lewis and Hnefatafl have similarities, both being of Viking origin. Today most of the sets in commercial production use the same crushed stone resin method and as such make excellent little replicas of the original Viking carvings.

Hnefatafl Sets

The game of Hnefatafl comes in many formats. Being an ancient game there are numerous versions and sets that have been produced over the years and centuries. In our range we stock a selection of sets including the National Museum Scotland set and four more editions that are exclusive Regency Chess Company products. Traditionally the Hnefatafl sets come with a canvas or leather board. A lovely printed roll up canvas board is included with all of our sets. We have also commissioned an exclusive wooden Hnefatafl game board which is available separately or as part of our deluxe set. We have what we feel is the best range of Tafl games, all presented in top quality gift boxes and made in the UK to the highest quality standards.


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