What is Vikings chess?

Answered by Douglas Hiatt

Viking Chess, also known as Hnefatafl, is a historic board game that originated in the Viking Age. It was a popular game during this time and was played by both the Vikings and other cultures of the era. The game is played on a square board that consists of a grid of squares, typically 11×11 or 13×13, although variations exist.

The objective of Viking Chess is different for the two players involved. One player takes on the role of the defender and controls the king, while the other player is the attacker and controls all the other pieces, usually represented by red and teal colors respectively.

The defender’s goal is to protect the king and ensure that he safely reaches one of the four corner squares of the board, which represent his escape points. The attacker, on the other hand, aims to capture the king by surrounding him on all four sides, making it impossible for him to move.

The pieces in Viking Chess have different roles and move in different ways. The king can move horizontally or vertically any number of squares, similar to a rook in chess. The other pieces, represented by the attacker, move orthogonally like the rook but can only move a single square at a time.

When a piece is surrounded on two opposite sides by enemy pieces or the board edge, it is considered captured and removed from the game. However, the king has a special ability called the “king’s power.” If the king manages to move next to an attacker’s piece, he can capture it and remove it from the board.

The game is played in turns, with each player moving one of their pieces on their respective turns. The defender starts the game, and the players take turns until either the king escapes or the attackers successfully capture him.

The rules of Viking Chess can vary slightly depending on the specific variation being played. For example, some versions allow the attackers to capture the king by surrounding him on three sides instead of all four. Additionally, there may be different starting setups and variations in the movement rules for certain pieces.

Viking Chess is a challenging and strategic game that requires careful planning and tactical thinking. It provides a glimpse into the strategic mindset and skills of the Vikings, making it an interesting and engaging game for history enthusiasts and board game lovers alike.

Viking Chess, or Hnefatafl, is a historic board game from the Viking Age. It involves two players, with one player acting as the defender and controlling the king, and the other player as the attacker, controlling the other pieces. The objective is for the defender to protect the king and help him escape to the corner squares, while the attacker aims to capture the king by surrounding him. It is a fascinating game that offers insights into Viking culture and strategic thinking.