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 Hnefatafl:The Viking Game

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Triceratops
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PostSubject: Hnefatafl:The Viking Game   Sun 11 Mar 2012, 10:43

Go back 1100 or 1200 years, and the most popular board game in Northern Europe was Hnefatafl and it's variants.

http://www.gamecabinet.com/history/Hnef.html

Widely spread by the Vikings it disappeared over the centuries as players took up Chess.
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nordmann
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PostSubject: Re: Hnefatafl:The Viking Game   Sun 11 Mar 2012, 11:33

An interesting theory in Norway is that it originated in the far east and made its way to Europe with the first Viking expansions of the very early middle ages. In that case it post-dates chess in Europe, which invites questions about why it therefore achieved such widespread popularity at the temporary expense of chess? One possible explanation (from Alexander Bugge?) was that the chief characteristic of the game is essentially a powerful king surrounded by potentially hostile pieces which must be tamed by him, and that therefore it was encouraged both by secular powers and the church as a means of reinforcing the concepts of a centrally administered kingdom, that of monotheistic belief in one god as the ultimate ruler, and that of a social order based on both of these. All of these concepts were alien to early medieval nordic people, and still pretty much new to other germanic societies in Northern Europe where the church had only in recent centuries begun to impose its own authority over that of their secular rulers.

There is evidence that it persisted as a popular game in Norway long after it supposedly died out as a pastime, chiefly amongst culturally isolated communities. A board from the late 1700s can be seen in the Oslo national museum.
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PostSubject: Re: Hnefatafl:The Viking Game   Fri 16 Mar 2012, 12:58

Have just spent some time reading up the material on this/these games. Pity they have gone because I think there could be a market for fresh ideas and a space in our lives for this kind of entertainment too. I used to enjoy them - well still do to be honest, even snakes and ladders with a five year old.
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PostSubject: Re: Hnefatafl:The Viking Game   Fri 16 Mar 2012, 13:10

Indeed, it would be just the thing for a quiet evening in with a warm mug of saloop.
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PostSubject: Re: Hnefatafl:The Viking Game   Tue 20 Mar 2012, 08:59

Arild Hauge claims the game goes back to the 5th century, though he doesn't cite a source for that claim. However this is the clearest set of rules I have seen yet for how it is played, as well as those for Halatfl. A Halatafl board is on display in the Irish National Museum in Dublin as part of the Wood Quay finds.

Rules of Hnefatafl (in Norwegian)
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PostSubject: Re: Hnefatafl:The Viking Game   Tue 20 Mar 2012, 13:28

nordmann wrote:
.

Rules of Hnefatafl (in Norwegian)

I am tempted to put the above info up for ' once indespensible - for someone - and certainly of no in use in the wider world now,' thread apart from Nordmann, of course. I would like to see his list from our offerings of what fills his criteria.
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PostSubject: Re: Hnefatafl:The Viking Game   Wed 21 Mar 2012, 14:07

Here is a link for anyone wishing to try Hnefatafl online.

http://aagenielsen.dk/hnefatafl_online.php

haven't done it myself as I don't have Javascript.
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PostSubject: Re: Hnefatafl:The Viking Game   Tue 24 Apr 2012, 20:40

We've got a Hnefatafl set back home in Jersey. Good game. Similar to the (largely conjectural) rules of the Roman Latrunculi.
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PostSubject: Re: Hnefatafl:The Viking Game   Tue 17 Nov 2015, 14:07

Rather than start a new topic, I'll add this in here.

Chinese archaeologists have uncovered a tomb from the Warring States period in which they have found parts of the lost game of Liu Bo ( literally six sticks). This game fell out of favour in China after the invention of the game Go, and the rules have been forgotten, though attempts have been made to recreate it;

http://benedante.blogspot.co.uk/2015/11/a-game-of-liu-bo.html

Han Dynasty figurines playing Liubo;

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