List of Tafl variants
Tafl are a family of ancient Germanic and Celtic strategic board games. The original rules aren't known for certain. One player has a king piece and some soldiers, and starts the game in the centre of the board. The other player has a greater number of soldier pieces and starts outside of the centre, surrounding the other player's pieces. The player with the king, wins the game if their king escapes. The other player wins if they capture the king.
||Tablut, from SÃ¡pmi, is the best documented version of tafl. During his 1732 expedition to Lapland, Carl Linnaeus recorded the rules and a drawing of the board in his journal. His description (in Latin) was incomplete, as he did not speak the Sami language of his hosts and described the game only from observing the players. The game was played on a 9Ã—9 mat. In his journal, Linnaeus referred to the light (defending) pieces as Swedes and the dark (attacking) pieces as Muscovites.
||Hnefatafl was a popular board game in medieval Scandinavia and was mentioned in several Norse Sagas. The rules of the game were never explicitly recorded, and only playing pieces and fragmentary boards have been found, so it is not known for sure how the game was played. It is possible that a dice was used.
||Brandub was the Irish form of tafl. The rules for this version are uncertain, but according to two poems, it was game of five men versus eight. A number of 7x7 boards were found.
||Ard Ri was a Scottish tafl variant. It was played on a 7Ã—7 board with a king and eight defenders against sixteen attackers. It is the least documented of the known tafl variants.
||A tafl variant played in Wales. Robert ap Ifan documented it with a drawing in a manuscript dated 1587. His version was played on an 11x11 board with 12 pieces on the king's side, and 24 on the opponent's side.
||Alea evangelii (which means game of the gospels), was described along with a drawing, in the 12th century Corpus Christi College, Oxford manuscript 122, from Anglo-Saxon England. It was played on the intersections of a board of 18x18 cells. The manuscript describes the layout of the board as a religious allegory, but it is fairly obvious that this was a game based on Hnefatafl.
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