Reconstructing an early 12th century board game (chess and hnefatafl)

Hey all I thought this was pretty cool.


Now, here’s an exciting project!  I wanted to do something cool for a couple friends of mine, known in the SCA as Garick and Yasamin, when they were crowned King and Queen of the Outlands in November 2012. While researching hnefatafl I came across a passage in Króka-Refs saga that resonated with me. It involves a Greenlander named Gunnar, who made a board game as a gift for King Harald of Norway. As the saga writer noted, it was both hnefatafl and skáktafl (chess).

One reason I found this game so fascinating is that my hnefatafl research at that time was leading me toward the conclusion that Crusaders who traveled to Jerusalem around 1107-1110 brought chess (skáktafl in Old Norse) back to Norway on their return, and that it was this step in the social and religious conversion of Scandinavia from Viking Age heathenism to medieval European Christian culture…

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