Portable folding Hnefatafl game board, uniquely handcrafted of hardwood and leather, with wood-burned artwork and detailing. A traditional board game of strategic maneuver and capture with a clever design allowing for easy storage and travel - an IGNITED Arts exclusive! A prominent game that has endured the test of time, from the Viking Age to the eighteenth century, this game is now experiencing a resurgence in popularity in our modern day. A functional piece of rustic art that is sure to bring enjoyment to players of all ages for years to come; the multiple strategies involved are as diverse and compelling as chess. This is a folding portable board game, very suitable for traveling and carrying to events, such as Renaissance Faires, LARP events, reenactment gatherings, picnics, camping trips, etc.
This item is MADE TO ORDER, requiring approximately 2 weeks for completion. Pictures are provided as examples of past works.
- Hnefatafl board constructed of 1/4" thickness hardwood (either cherry, mahogany, maple, or walnut) and backed/hinged with leather; handcrafted and decorated with historic or historically-inspired artwork.
- Gameplay gridwork and the individual panels are precisely created with a powerful laser engraver. The board is assembled and then detailed by hand using pyrography, the art of woodburning. The outer edges of the board are carved for a rustic, traveled appearance. The board is treated with a natural oil and then lacquered with a satin finish to protect the surface and artistic details.
- The board is comprised of four square panels, paired and hinged with durable quality leather, which also adds further resiliency and durability to the wood. The two halves of the board are magnetized on their joining edges with N52 grade magnets, to keep the halves firmly together and in place during gameplay. Size of the board varies according to the variant; for a 7x7 grid, size is 7-inches - 9x9, 9-inches - 11x11, 11-inches.
- Board playing grid is offset so that the joints in the board do not intersect the playing squares. This allows for artwork on the two larger sides only; the other narrower sides are inscribed in anglicized Elder Futhark runic with the following: "A warrior must keep his blades sharp / Yet his wits must be sharper still". Other inscriptions can be substituted at no additional charge; please utilize the Custom Text option when ordering.
- Playing pieces are included. The wood pawns are produced by a local woodworking supplier, stained and finished by me in complement to each board. A muslin drawstring bag is included for storage and transport of the pieces.
GAME HISTORY / HOW TO PLAY:
- Hnefatafl (pronounced "neffa-toffel") was invented by the Vikings and taken to all corners of the Viking world: from Scandinavia to Russia, Germany to the British Isles, Iceland, Greenland, and even as far as Turkey and Newfoundland. It was such a good game of strategy and cunning that not only did the Vikings play it but also the people they came into contact with; the Anglo Saxons, the Celts, and the Sami in Lapland all came to love the game and produced their own variants. Hnefatafl is mentioned in the sagas, and skill in the game was held as a worthy virtue in Viking society. It has been theorized that Hnefatafl predates the game of Chess by nearly 500 years. Due to renewed interest in the game and diligent research by game historians, there are now well over 100 variants available to players utilizing the Hnefatafl game mechanics; some including the use of dice to dictate movement or initiative.
- The King, starting from an opening position at the center square, wins the game if he reaches any one of the squares along the grid's outer edge, or any corner square (depending upon the variant played). The attackers win if they capture the King. Captures are performed by flanking or surrounding an enemy piece on two or more sides. The strategies involved in these actions can make the game more challenging than the simple rules suggest. As mentioned previously, there are also many variable rules available that can be implemented for a different game experience.
- A rules pamphlet is included with the game.
Portable Tafl - a compact & convenient way to play Hnefatafl on the go!
Examples of available wood types and edge styles can be found by clicking the "Materials & Styles" link at the bottom of any page.
A larger, higher resolution version of each Selection Chart of readily available designs can be found by clicking the “Art Selection Library” link found at the bottom of any page.