We played viking chess? | Hnefatafl Let’s Play

We’ve been investigating some ancient games here on Dicebreaker ever since Chess made it large again in the public eye. Today Wheels and Johnny play a game that might be even older and has some nordic origins. In Hnefatafl, two players control asymmetric armies as they try to capture the King or guide him to freedom.

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55 Comments

  1. Nobody makes me wanna play board games more than you lot. I used to find them tedious but now I realize I was just playing with the wrong people

  2. This game is on the app store, and I had for a good while im so excited someone else actually found such a gem

  3. Thank you, now I shall be building my own Snuffletuffle game <3

  4. Saw the thumbnail and instantly thought of Thud! Less than 2 minutes in and Discworld is referenced. Has to be an actual Thud! game out there.

  5. Nine man's Morris (which has all sorts of different names!) is a really good game, I think there's a Roman variant of it too

  6. Whells absolutely lost a bunch of oportunities in that first game.

  7. Let me know if you wanna practice/play some Go.😉😁

  8. That was fabulous! I really love Thud, too – it'd be great to see you both play a game of that.

  9. I've been playing Hnefatafl (also called Viking Chess) for years and it's a great game. As one of the ancient battle board games, chess and draughts being the other two, Hnefatafl replicates military tactics better than the other two. Actually the game Thud was inspired by Hnefatafl. I just want to correct a few things that were said. The first is that the two sides are called Attackers (dark pieces) and Defenders (light pieces, the King's Defenders). Second, all pieces can cross over the Throne (the center square reserved for the King only) when the King is not on it, but no other piece except the King can stop on that square. One other thing is that statistically the Defenders have a slight edge in winning the game over the Attackers. That edge disappears when you have two experienced players. Finally, Hnefatafl is only one version of a number of games refered to as Tafl Games. Like the game of Go, the Tafl Games are played on various size boards. The most common traditional boards are 7X7, 9X9 and 11X11. There are also larger boards being used these days. I hope your video inspires people to try this ancient game.

  10. Played life size hnefatal at a convention years ago. Was really fun cuz all the pieces were cosplayers.

  11. A very fun game, though there are a few variants as mentioned. I made myself one of the Ard Ri variant. Lots of fun. Also made a Nine Mens Morris board on the flip side too

  12. For other great old games, how about Othello? (or Reversi as many call it). It's a personal favourite.

  13. There are variants in board and rules, but they're all pretty fun. I actually discovered hnefatafl a few years before reading any Pratchett, and immediately recognized it in Thud!

  14. Half way through the video and Johnny could have easily won half a dozen times.

  15. Thud is based on this and you should play both sides in hneftafl too

  16. google "The game of ur" Ibelieve it's called. that could be fun.

  17. We got a hnefatafl set when on holiday in Norway, it’s such a good game.

  18. Be so good to see you play a game of Thud at some point.

  19. Hnefatafl: When you try and use all your Scrabble tiles in one go…

  20. I remember playing this on a PC way back in the 90's. I can't even remember the title of it, but they had an interesting single player setup and allowed two player option which in those days meant sharing one computer. The PC-version allowed you to add special pieces which had special moves, but you could play the classic version as well.

    The single player mode had a story where Odin, trying to figure out how to avert Ragnarok, visits a small tavern and plays the game to see strategies within where he might change the foretold outcome. There were several computer players you went through, and you had to beat them twice — once as offense and once as defense — before you could move on to the next. It was so long ago, I don't recall the name, but the board set-up made me go, "Ah! I've played this!"

    So thank you for the trip down memory lane.

  21. Nice to see this game getting more attention! Great video 🙂 I made a video about its history a while back myself

  22. If the throne can be used to take light pieces then Wheels missed so many moves in the first game where he could have eaten away at Johnny's pieces on the side closer to the camera

  23. Whoa, this is very interesting… I play chess but I just found out about this.

  24. Hey… I have a question – do you need 4 pieces to pin the King or something? Because at the "nudging the King" moment at 18:08, the attackers have an open line behind him to get to him.

  25. Just downloaded a version on Google play. Very customizable. 7×7 to 19×19 boards, edge escape vs corner escape victory, berserk rules (whatever that is), sandwich the king or enclose, escape forts… almost overwhelming.

    I've been "practicing" (read: losing against AI) on a 9×9 to match a small leather pouch travel set I made using those fish tank rocks as pieces. 2cmx2cm squares seems to be the sweet spot.

  26. Cracking video, loved learning about naff taffy

  27. Me at 14:00: move the king all the way to the edge.
    Him: maybe just two squares forward.
    Me: you fucked up.

  28. Is it possible to play with strangers on this mod for Tabletop Simulator ? Or just with people on our friends list ?

  29. That’s interesting about the throne square. The rules I have state the attackers may move through it, just as long as the piece doesn’t stop on the throne.

  30. I assure you, After playing for a while, watching this will be physically painful XD

  31. 24.40 actually captures 2 pieces. really cool game and hilarious jokes along the way.

  32. "We thought we'd take it all the way back to 1021, or whenever this game was invented."

    You're off by a fuck ton, the game is MUCH older. Hnefatafl was at it's most popular in 400 B.C.

  33. You guys made a mistake second game. A players peice can't stop between two of his opponents.

  34. Two things I've heard differently (rule wise) are that you cannot land between 2 opposing pieces, would be considered sacrificing that token, and that the king can only move one space at a time instead of the whole board, maybe that's why other people say that playing the darker color is easier? Dont know, I like the set in this video too though, always cool to see more people getting into it

  35. I’m writing a book on that uses this game in it so thank you for the research material. But side note, was I the only one at 19:35 screaming internally, ‘you can take the king!’ There’s an opening for brown to easily take at that point.

  36. Johnny is a man of culture for knowing about the old man playing chess against himself in that Pixar short. Hat off! 😁

  37. Have you tried the Copenhagen variant? 🙂

  38. This game seems to benefit the white player a lot more, seems poorly balanced.

  39. The defenders actually have quite an advantage because of the 4 piece surround rule for the King. It's quite difficult to win as black

  40. I had to stop and watch the Pixar short – it is very good 👍

  41. I think the king is only supposed to move 3 spaces at a time.

  42. Thanks for sharing, gonna enjoy playing this at Larp 🤘

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