Viking Hnefatafl Game / Viking Kings Table Game Set
Viking Hnefatafl Game - Board and Pieces

Hnefatafl Viking Game

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Complete Hnefatafl Viking Game with Resin Replica Pieces

'The Viking Game' ranks as one of history's greatest board games. It was at its most popular during the Dark Ages in Northern Europe, a period of sparse records and shifting populations. Like so much of the history of the Dark Ages, our knowledge of this Viking game is patchy, but a mystery now solved as a result of archaeological research.

The game was popular in the Viking homelands of Scandinavia as early as AD400 and was carried by the Vikings to the lands they travelled to. Over the centuries the game developed and different versions of the board have been found by archaeologists in sites from Ireland to the Ukraine.

Occasionally referred to in manuscripts, the game was known as 'Hnefatafl', which literally means 'Kings Table'. The study of these manuscripts and examinations of various types of boards and pieces has enabled researchers to work out how the game was most likely played. There is no doubt however that many versions of the rules existed at different places and different times.

Hnefatafl was last recorded as being played in Wales in 1587 and in Lapland in 1723. its decline began in the 11th century as chess grew in popularity and it soon lingered only in remote country districts.


  • 37 solid resin gaming pieces (24 attackers, 12 defenders and 1 king).
  • Roll-up linen cloth gaming board, approx 29.5cm square (11.5 inches).
  • Full game rules in English, Swedish, Norwegian, German, French and Japanese.
  • Neatly boxed for easy packing & storage.

Also known as 'King's Table', or 'The Viking Game', hnefatafl was one of the most common games played by the Vikings. The hnefatafl game consists of a playing surface that has been divided into squares, upon which are placed opposing sets of gaming pieces.

The object of hnefatafl is for the defending king (white) to escape from the encircling attacking pieces (dark). If the king reaches one of the corner squares then the defenders win, but if all possible escape routes are blocked then the attacker wins. Players take it in turns moving any one of their hnefatafl pieces either horizontally or vertically around the board. Pieces are taken (removed from play) by having one of your pieces on either side of an opponent's piece, thus eliminating it. The king can only be taken by having attacking pieces to all four sides. The corner squares count as opponent's pieces for the purpose of taking pieces, thus a piece that is next to a corner square needs only to have an opponent's piece placed next to it (opposite the corner square) to be taken.