From 1d4chan
This is rather unfair

When the vikings weren't raping things or murdering them afterwards, they were playing Tafl ("table"). Also spelled Hnefatafl ("fist table", fist being a euphemism for the king).


To a few, it is simply known as Viking chess (interestingly, the Vikings had actual chess a long time before the majority of Europe did). The idea is that white is the Jarl, his house is on fire, and a bunch of jerks are about to murder him and/or rape him.

Historians tell that this occurance is rather common in viking folklore, and is regarded as the usual rite of succession. Historians will also notice that no-one really documented how this board game was played back in the day, so most of the variations today are just educated guesses. Some even argue that dice were used.

The board sizes can vary greatly, but this is not that much of a big deal, the gameplay remains the same.

The white guys in the middle are the king and the king's guard; The black gentlemen are the marauders.

How to play[edit]

Each piece moves like the rook in Chess. But here's the kicker: You need two soldiers to kill a single soldier. Capturing occurs by moving one piece to the opposite vertical or horizontal sides of the piece. Think of it like, "one guy holds the sucker down while the other stabs him in the asshole".

The king is captured differently. The marauder player must have all the king's horizontal and vertical sides occupied by his soldiers in order to capture him. That's four soldiers to capture the king.

However, you can capture the king or any soldier by squeezing them between your soldier(s) and the "death zones". Except the king of course, you still need to occupy the remaining three sides. two, if you manage to squeeze him between the side and a "death zone".

"Death zones" are the white starting zone in the middle, black starting zones, the sides of the board and the escape squares in the four corners. The "death zone" squeeze rule only applies, if that piece is not permitted to enter that zone.

  • No piece is allowed to enter the escape squares or the middle square except the king.
  • White cannot enter black's starting squares or vice versa
  • Sides of the board are death zones.


Black wins by capturing the white Jarl; White wins by escorting the Jarl into one of the "escape zones" in the four corners.


One of the books in the Discworld series describes a game similar to Tafl. Called "Thud" by most people, who know of it, a game invented by dwarfs (yes, that's how the spell it in-universe). A bunch of dwarfs must kill a few trolls in the middle, where dwarfs move like the chess queen and trolls like the king, although to compensate trolls can capture all adjacent dwarfs after moving, with the added mechanic of "throwing" (or possibly lobbing, tossing or even launching) an adjacent piece to make it go farther (or capture an opponent). In Dwarfish: "Hnaflbaflwhiflsnifltafl".

Board Games
Classics: Backgammon - Chess - Go - Tafl - Tic-Tac-Toe
Ameritrash: Arkham Horror - Axis & Allies - Battleship - Betrayal at House on the Hill - Car Wars
Clue/Cluedo - Cosmic Encounter - Descent: Journeys in the Dark - Dungeon!
Firefly: The Game - HeroQuest - Monopoly - Mousetrap - Snakes and Ladders - Risk
Talisman - Trivial Pursuit
Eurogames: Agricola - Carcassonne - The Duke - Settlers of Catan - Small World - Stratego - Ticket to Ride
Pure Evil: Diplomacy - Dune (aka Rex: Final Days of an Empire) - Monopoly - The Duke
Others: Icehouse - Shadow Hunters - Twilight Imperium - Wingspan