Hnefatafl, meaning King’s Table (or literally, Fist Board Game) in Old Norse, is an asymmetric game of pure strategy played by the Vikings and neighboring people with many variations. Its origins are unclear, but it seems that it has appeared during the Viking period, in the 7th or 8th century CE, in Scandinavia and other lands which the Vikings have conquered, as accounted for in archaeological finds of Hnefatafl pieces. Alea Evangelii, meaning the Game (or more literally the Dice) of the Gospels, is a the largest version of Hnefatafl with a 19×19 board grid. It was described in an Irish manuscript, dated to 1140 CE, (Oxford Corpus Christi College MS. 122), which copied its drawing from an earlier no longer extant manuscript written by a Briton monk, Israel The Grammarian. Per the manuscript, the game was brought by Dub Innse, Bishop of Bangor, from Aethelstan, the King of the English, who ruled during the years 924-939 CE, where it was originally drawn by Israel the Grammarian and another unnamed Frank. It would appear that the game was specifically designed to be played at Aethelstan’s court by Israel The Grammarian and the unnamed Frank. Since Aethelstan was King of the English only starting in the year 927, before which he was called the King of the Anglo-Saxons, and Israel the Grammarian did not show up at his court until the 930s, we can more accurately date the game to the years 930-939.
The Alea Evangelii manuscript describes the game as a Christian allegory. The rules for the game are vaguely described, but are so convoluted in this allegory that it is difficult to understand how the game was meant to be played. Besides that, there are mistakes, both on the drawing, and in the text, which contradict some of the generic Hnefatafl rules. The game is described in Latin on 3 folios of the manuscript, f5v, f6r, and f6v.
Alea Evangelii Manuscript. Oxford Corpus Christi College MS 122. Folio f5v.
Alea Evangelii Manuscript. Oxford Corpus Christi College MS 122. Folio f6r.
Alea Evangelii Manuscript. Oxford Corpus Christi College MS 122. Folio f6v.
Incipit Alea Evangelii, quam Dubinsi episcopus Bennchorensis detulit a rege Anglorum, id est a domu Adalstani regis Anglorum, depicta a quodam Francone et a Romano sapiente, id est Israel.
Si quis voluerit scire hanc aleam plene, illi ante omnia hujus discipline documenta hec .VII. scire animo necesse est: duces scilicet et comites, civitatem et civitatulam, et .IX. gradus bis.
Iudeus Romanus et Franconus peritissimi .IIII. evangeliorum ut per ordinem canonum .X. multiplicationem .IIII. evangelistarum intellexerunt quadrangulam paribus figuram quatuor lateribus .X. et .VIII. tramites in logitudine et in latitudine habentem consignaverunt. Si cui autem in scropulum occurrerit quare quatuor et non tribus vel .v. hec figura lateribus consribitur. Nec mirum est quia auctores .iiii. evangeliorum decemque canonum quatuor esse non dubium est. Hec ahutem quatuor est laterum et angulorum inter .iiii. evangelistas divisio. Primum quidem latus cum precedente angula a sinistro in dexteram supera manus verticem in scribendi positione porrectum Mathei esse quis dubitat? Secundum autem latus cum antecedente angulo in quo Mathei latus finitum est . et a superiore loco diriatum post ejusdem manus dorum ad imum Luce esse describitur. Tertium vero latus cum angulo in quo Luce latus terminatum est subradic<t>e palme a dextera in siistram porrectum <Iohannis> esse non dubitamus. Porro quartum exinde inceptum atque angulum erectum Marci esse designatum est. Tricentas vero .xxiiii. intra se habet quadrangulas ista figura. .x. enim et octo octies decies in trecentos .xxiiii. consurgunt. Septem autem trianguli secundi et tertii et quarti canonis intra se haberi videntur. Porro viri qui in canonibus continentur .lxxii. esse non dubitamus. id est Matheus .xx. Marcus .xv. Lucas .xvii. Iohannes .xv. videtur. Quantumcunque enim evangelium in canonibus multiplicantur ad ampliorem numerum consurgere videntur. In canone primo Matheus quater .in secundo ter. in .iii. ter . et in quarto ter . in quinto bis . in sexto bis . in . vii . buss . atque in . x . semel nominatur. Quatuor igitur semel et terni ter et bini ter atque singuli semel . xx . esse perspicuum est. Marcus vero in canone . i . quater, in secunder ter atque in . iiii . ter . in . vi . bis . bisque in . viii . ac semel in . x . consurgere videtur. Quatuor igitur cum <tribus> bis ac binis bis singulisque semel . xv . virorum numerum efficiunt. In . i . canone quater atque in secundo ter terque in . iii . in . v . vero bis et in . viii . bis atque bis in . ix . in . x . vero semel Lucas connumeratur. Quatuor igitur cum tribus bis atque binis ter ac singulis semel ad . xvii . summum virorum consurgunt. Iohannes porro . iiii . in .i. canone in . iii . tribus tribusque in quarto in . vii . duobus duobusque in . ix . vicibus atque in . x . semel connumeratur. Quatuor igitur semel atque tres bis . IIque bis at singule semel . XV . esse non dubium est Iunge igitur . XX . Mathei ac Marci . XV . et Luce . XVII . atque Iohannis . XV . et . LXVII . efficiuntur. Atque his junge . IIII . varios viros qui a Marco et ab Iohanne possidentur. Ac primarium virum quem nullus evangelistarum possidet . et unitatem trinitatis significantem et simul omnes LXXII ut prediximus efficiuntur. Hi sunt viri quos varietas . X . canonum multiplicavit. Videamus igitur quomodo isti hanc aleam ossident viri. Quadrangula quidem media . IX . quadrangulas intra se habens id est . V . pallidas quoatuorque plenas quaternis viris primi canonis esse videtur. Hec est autem via per quam uniuscuiusque canonis initum reperire potueris. In quocunque enim loco crucem cum numero reperieris initium canonis esse non dubites. Perge igitur ad superiorem quadrangulamm magne et medie quadrangule et intre <se> quatuor viros habentem id est Matheum in superiore loco et in principio sub cruce et unario . et Lucam a sinistris Mathei. Iohannem vero a planis . atque Marcum a dextris possidentem. Deinde ad aliam quadrangulam binarium supra se habentem . et sub binario Marcum . Matheum vero a sinistris Marci ac Iohannem a dextris . atque Lucam a plantis astantem pergere debemus. Postea ad quadrangulam a diverso positam . et sub ternario Lucam habentem . et a dextris ejus Matheum . et sub ternario Lucam habentem . et a dextris ejus Matheum . et a plantis Marcum . a sinistris vero Iohannem nunc gradiamur Postremo ad quartam quadrangulam et sub <qua>ternario Iohannem et ejus a dextris Lucam . ac a sinistris Marcum . a plantis vero Matheum habentem ingredi debemus. Eleva nunc oculos ad Matheum in principio positum canonis secundi ac in primo angulo <trianguli> et a dextris ejus Marcum ac <a> sinistris Lucam habentem. Ad secundum nunc triangulum Marcum e contrario habentem . et a sinistris ejus Matheum . a dextris Lucam aspicientem pergamus. Vertamus ad dexteram et Lucam ante varium virum noscere . at post varium Marcum . ac deinde Matheum debemus. Incipit nunc tertius canon a Matheo sub cruce et ternario in primo angulo trianguli posito qui Lucam a dextris. Iohannem vero a sinistris videtur habere. Lucas quoque virginitatem et ampliorem canonis id est actuum et evangelii conscriptionem . In canonibus Mracum precedere non dubitatur. Nunc duos viros Lucam in primo ac Matheum in secundo ante varium virum loco . atque Iohannem postremo inspicere debemus. Adhuc ad dexteram vertamus . et Iohannis in . I . trianguli angulo . et Lucas ejus a sinistris . et Matheus a sinistris ejus nobis occurret. Quartus autem canon a Metheo in angulo primo trianguli sub cruce et quaternario possito incipit . qui Marcum a dextris ac Iohannem a sinistris videtur habere. Varium nunc transgrediamur virum . et postea Marcus in trianguli primo angulo . Matheum a dextris atque Iohannem a sinistris habens constare videtur . Iohannes vero in primo angulo contrarii trianguli . Marcum a sinistris . et Matheum a dextris habens non dubitamus haberi. Hic prope Mtaheum primarium virum habitare perspicuum est. Nunc aliam viam in reliquis canonibus inspicere debemus. Quintus enim canon et sextus . VII . atque . VIII . nonusque canon a sinistra in dexteram singuli per singulos tramites porrigi videntur. Quintum vero canonem Matheum in primo sub cruce et quinario habentem loco . Ac Matheum in fine . Lucamque bis in medio possidentem conspicimus. Senarium nunc cum cruce Matheum in principio atque in fine . Marcum vero bis in medio possidentem intueri debemus. Porro VII a septinario et cruce i<n>cipiens Iohannem bis inter duos Mathei habere nemo dubitat. Octavus quoque ab octinario et cruce incipiens Lucam primo et Marcum secundo et tertio . Lucam vero quarto loco habere videtur. Nonus vero a . IX . et cruce inchoans . Lucam in primo Iohannem vero in secundo et tertio atque Lucam in quarto loco continere perspicum est. Decimus vero canon in quatuor locis constare videtur. Cumque enim . X . cum cruce conspexeris . X . canone deputare ne dubites. Quatuor autem varii viri qui sparsim ini hac figura conspiciuntur Marco et Iohanni deputantur. Ideo autem varii sunt et non nigri sicut ceteri quia Marcus et Iohannes canonem sine altera evangelista non ediderunt. Porro pprimarius unum Mathei et Marci et Luce et Iohannes . votum vel unitatem trinitatis significare videtur. Unarius quoque qui in medio alee perspicitur indivisibilem trinitatis substantiam sive primi canonis principatum significat. Quaterni quoque viri quatuor extremorum angulorum propter alie decorem formati [or firmati, the MS has fmati] sunt . vel ideo quia sparsim quateruatimque per aleam viros evangeliste possident. Unus quisque quatuor in suo proprio angulo viros possident . finit amen finit.
There is no published exact tranlation of the text of the manuscript, however there is a commentary and a paraphrase written by Joseph Armitage Robinson delivered in a lecture at Oxford in 1922. It is this text that I quote here.
In order to facilitate the comparison of parallel passages in the Four Gospels, Eusebius of Caesarea divided each Gospel into sections numbered consecutively from the beginning to the end. Thus St Matthew’s Gospel was numbered from 1 to 355, St Mark’s from 1 to 233, and so forth. He then constructed a Table of Ten Canons. The First Canon contained the numbers of the sections which were found in all four Gospels, arranged thus—to take the first line for example:
Mt Mc Lc Jo
This shows at a glance that the section about the Voice crying in the Wilderness, which is the eighth section in St Matthew, will be found as the second section in St Mark, and so on. In the margin of Mt iii 3 (to use our modern verse-division) is placed J, to indicate that the parallels to section 8 will be found by reference to the First Canon.
The Second Canon similarly shows the sections which are found only in Mt, Mc and Lc ; and where these occur in the text of each of these Gospels the number of the section will have the figure 2 beneath it.
The contents of the Canons may be set out thus:
1. Mt Mc Lc Jo 6. MtMc
These Eusebian Canons were, as is well known, adopted by St Jerome in his edition of the Vulgate.
At the top of f . 5 b of the Corpus MS (see the facsimile) is a group of five tables. The first table shows the canons in which Matthew occurs. It has six columns: col. 1 shows the number of the canon; col. 2 the number of Evangelists contained in that canon; cols. 3-6 the initials of the Evangelists thus contained. The next three tables are similarly arranged for Mark, Luke and John.
The fifth table shows the number of groups of parallel sections contained in each canon. When we compare these numbers with those shown in the Table of Canons printed by Wordsworth and White for the Latin Vulgater we find four points of difference. For can. 1 we have 71 instead of 74; for can. 2, 109 for 111; for can. 5, 83 for 82 ; for can. 6, 49 for 47. In the first three instances our numbers are borne out by (e. g.) the Book of Armagh and the Lindisfarne Gospels ; in the fourth instance these codices have 48. Thus we are obviously dealing with a variant Irish tradition.
The paragraph which follows these summary tables is confusedly written:
The last sentence refers to the fact that can. 3 contains Mt Lc Jo, and can. 4 Mt Mc Jo : thus Luke has precedence of Mark. This point of order is touched on again in the explanation of the alea, and fanciful reasons are offered to account for it.
The next paragraph introduces the alea thus:
After the great diagram there follows on f . 6 a, b, a full description of the alea:
The following is a summary paraphrase of this text :
The alea is described as a square with 18 rows, lengthwise and breadthwise. It has 4 sides, and not 3 or 5, because the Evangelists are four in number. Now this is the division of sides and angles among the Four Evangelists.
The first side with the preceding angle, reckoning from left to right, is St Matthew’s. The second side, with the angle where St Matthew’s line ends and descending from it [i. e. on the right], is St Luke’s. The third [i.e. at the bottom] is St John’s. The fourth [up the left side] is St Mark’s.
324 squares are contained in the table ; for 18 x 18 = 324. There are 7 triangles, of the second, third and fourth canons. 72 men are contained in the canons : Mt 20, Mc 15, Lc 17, Jo 15 [=67]. For, as the Gospels are multiplied in the canons, they rise to a larger number :
Mt in can. 1 is named 4 times
Total 20 times.
[The ‘four times’ in which Mt is named in can. 1 may be seen by the four summary tables given above, in which he appears once in each table under can. I. The other tables are by a mistake numbered consecutively I to 5 (or 6) : for Jo the second line should be numbered 3 (Jo Mc Lc). If properly numbered these tables would show how the Evangelists are ‘multiplied’.]
The three other Evangelists are similarly multiplied. Add then together 20 of Mt, 15 of Mc, 17 of Lc, and 15 of Jo, and they make 67. Add on the four ‘variegated’ men, who belong to Mc and Jo; and the ‘primary’ man, who belongs to none of the Evangelists and who signifies the Unity of the Trinity : all together make up 72, as we said before. These are the men whom the variety of the ten canons has multiplied.
The middle square, which contains 9 squares—viz. 5 pale and 4 filled with groups of four men—belongs to can. 1. The beginning of each canon is to be found where there is a cross with a number.
Go to the great middle square’s upper square, which has four men within it : Mt at the top, under a cross and no. 1 : Lc to Mt’s left, Jo at his feet, Mc to his right.
Now go to the square with the no. 2 above it ; and under the 2 you find Mc, with Mt on his left, Jo on his right, and Lc at his feet. In the opposite square under the no. 3 you have Lc, with Mt on his right, Mc at his feet, and Jo on his left. Lastly, in the fourth square under the no. 4 you have Jo, with Lc on his right, Mc on his left, and Mt at his feet.
Raise your eyes now to Mt at the beginning of can. 2 [marked by a cross], and in the first angle [of the triangle]. He has Mc on his right and Lc on his left. Now go to the second triangle, which has Mc the other way round [i.e. in the bottom angle], with Mt on his left and Lc on his right. Turning to the right we have Lc, before we come to the variegated man, after whom we have Mc and then Mt.
Can. 3 begins with Mt under a cross with the no. 3, in the first angle of the triangle, with Lc on the right and Jo on the left. [Here we come to the problem raised above, viz. why can. 3 should have Mt Lc Jo, instead of Mt Mc Jo (which is can. 4) : why this precedence of Luke ? The answer is :]
On the ground of1 virginity, and the larger writing of the Canon, viz. the Acts and the Gospel, Luke precedes Mark in the canons.
Next we have two men, Lc first and Mt second, before the variegated man, and lastly Jo. Then to our right we see Jo in the first angle of the triangle, with Lc on his left [? right] and Mt on his left.
Can. 4 begins with Mt in the first angle of the triangle under a cross and the no. 4, with Mc on his right and Jo on his left. [In the diagram the cross and no. 4 have been wrongly placed at the preceding triangle.]
Now we pass the variegated man, and we find Mc in the first angle of the triangle, with Mt on the right and Jo on the left. In the first angle of the triangle which is turned the other way we have Jo with Mc on the left and Mt on the right. And here next Mt is the place of the ‘primary’ man.
For the rest of the canons we take another route. Canons 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 go from left to right, each on his own line.
Can. 5 has Mt in the first place under a cross and the no. 5, and Mt again at the end of the line, and Lc twice in between.
Can. 6 has Mt first under a cross and the no. 6, and again at the end, and Mc twice in between. [The second ‘Mc’ is missed out in the diagram].
Can. 7, beginning with a cross and the no. 7, has Jo twice between two of Mt.
Can. 8, starting from a cross and the no. 8, has Lc in the first place, Mc in the second and third, and Lc again in the fourth.
Can. 9 begins from a cross and the no. 9, and has Lc in the first place, Jo in the second and third, and Lc in the fourth.
Can. 10 is seen to stand in four places : for wherever you see no. 10 with a cross, this belongs to the 10th canon. ‘ Now the four variegated men who are seen at separate
The ‘primary’ man signifies the one purpose of Mt, Mc, Lc and Jo, or the Unity of the Trinity. Moreover the figure 1 in the middle of the alea signifies the indivisible substance of the Trinity, or the supremacy (principatus) of the first canon.
The groups of four men at the four outer angles are there for the decoration of the playing-table ; or, since the Evangelists have men separately and in groups of four throughout the table, each one of them has four men in his own proper angle.
With this aid to interpretation we may leave the game to the ingenious reader. He will find that he can follow the setting of the pieces by a study of the facsimile. In a few instances indeed it is clear that the table has been wrongly copied. There is one man missing, as we have pointed out above; and some pieces may possibly have got on to wrong lines.
The dots placed near the men are intended to indicate the Evangelists—one for Mt, and so forth: but they do not always seem to be accurately assigned. It may be questioned whether these dots are a part of the original table, or only the insertion of some early student who was trying to identify the pieces in accordance with the terms of the explanation.
Something must be said as to the notes attached to the table itself. Some of them at any rate would seem to be independent of the formal interpretation. Thus we have in the left-hand margin a sort of reproduction of the ‘variegated’ man, with the statement that ‘this signifies the Passion of Christ’. Again, in the upper part of the table, we have a note which is partly in Irish, and seems to mean: ‘ that is, resurrection or reign: for it is what Matthew tells’. In the middle of the table, near what the interpretation declares to be the place of the ‘primary’ man, we see the words fergabala (‘man of getting, invasion or conquest’). There would appear to be other Irish notes in an abbreviated form.
We may wonder whether after all this alea Evangelii is not rather a puzzle than a game, whether its interest does not end with the setting or identification of the pieces on the board. Yet we must remember the reference to the ‘ dukes and counts ‘, and this seems to suggest that something more was intended. Otherwise the interest of this alea would fall short of the somewhat problematical pleasure offered by Bishop Wibold’s system of dicing with the Virtues, which he invented to win the clergy of Cambrai from the gaming-tables in A.D. 965 (Gesta fiontificum Canteracensium, Mon. Germ. Script. vii 393: Migne, P.L. 134, 1007 ft; 149, 85 ff.).
English explanation and paraphrase from Robinson, Joseph Armitage. The Times of Saint Dunstan: the Ford lectures delivered in the University of Oxford in the Michaelmas term, 1922. Clarendon Press, 1923. pp. 171-181.
Based on the above description there have been many attempts to try to reconstruct the rules of Alea Evangelii, starting with HJR Murray in the 1950s and continuing until now. Besides the fact that the manuscript describes other types of pieces that are not present in any other Hnefatafl game, the main problem that all of these attempts have encountered is making a balanced game, where both opponents have a close to equal opportunity of winning. Since the board is so large and has so many pieces on it it takes a very long time to play the game, and due to that issue professional tournaments for various rules and configurations have not been conducted yet. Therefore the game balance for various configurations remains speculative.
Sten Helmfrid, in an online article from 2005, proposed a standard Hnefatafl rule set with 2 different possible initial positions, that he claimed in his trials were balanced enough. Andrew Perkis in a 2010 article proposed another initial setup that he claimed was balanced. He also proposed a somewhat different set of rules than the standard Hnefatafl rules. However, both of these proposals did not take into account that the manuscript mentions a 3rd type of playing piece, besides the king and regular attackers and defenders, and clearly shows it on the diagram with a white cross. Due to this issue I have decided to publish here Aage Nielsen’s rules proposal, which he published on his online forum in 2015, which takes into account another piece type which he calls Evangelists, with extra capabilities. The balance quality of his rules is still unknown, but I hope that the more people play this version of the game, the more data will be collected and eventually published. I have included a few different initial setups proposed by Sten Helmfrid and Andrew Perkis, since Aage Nielsen did not chose which setup was the most balanced one.
Aage Nielsen’s Alea Evangelii Rules:
- The game is for 2 players.
- The board is a square with a 19×19 grid. There are 73 pieces total: 48 attackers, 24 defenders, and 1 king. Out of the 24 defenders, there are 20 regular defender pieces, and 4 Evangelists pieces with extra capabilities. The first player plays for the attackers. The second player plays for the defenders and the king.
- The initial position of the pieces is shown in the following diagram. The king is placed on the throne. The defenders surround him in the shape of a diamond. The attackers are placed around the diamond with some defenders inter-placed among them. The four Evangelists sit on four diagonal directions of the diamond, one on each side.
- Stan Helmfrid’s Initial Setup C:
- Andrew Perkis’ Initial Setup:
- Stan Helmfrid’s Initial Setup B. Note this setup is slightly less balanced than the previous two, due to two possible positions of the Evangelists.
- Stan Helmfrid’s Initial Setup C:
- The central square, called the throne, and the 12 red corner squares may only be occupied by the king. The king can go in and out of the throne at any time. Other pieces may pass through the throne when it is empty, but are not allowed to land on it. The throne square and the 12 red corner squares are hostile to both the attackers and defenders, meaning that when any one of them is empty it can replace one of the two pieces taking part in a capture. The white corner squares are not used in the game, because they are not accessible by any piece.
- The attackers move first. The two players alternate their moves.
- All pieces, including the king, move any number of vacant squares along a row or a column, like a rook in chess.
- All regular pieces and the Evangelists (see about the king below) are captured if they are sandwiched between two enemy pieces, or between an enemy piece and one of the corners, or between an enemy piece and the throne, along a column or a row.
- Multiple captures in one move or capturing with the king is allowed.
- A piece is only captured if the trap is closed by a move of the opponent. An opponent’s piece is allowed to move in between two enemy pieces without being captured.
- The Evangelists have an an additional jumping capability over the regular pieces. They can capture the enemy piece by jumping over it and land in the square behind it if it is empty. They may also capture an enemy piece by using the regular method described above in note 7. The Evangelists are not allowed to jump over the king and they cannot capture the king by jumping over it.
- The two sides have different goals to win the game.
- The goal for the defenders (king’s side) is to move the king to any of the 12 red corner squares. If the king has escaped to any of the corner squares, the defenders win.
- The attackers win if they can capture the king before he escapes to one of the corners. The king is captured like all other pieces by being sandwiched between two opposing pieces or one of the corners and an opposing piece. However, if the king is on the throne or on one of the four orthogonal squares next to the throne, then in order to capture him the attackers must surround him on all four sides, and not just two. If the king is captured on a cell adjacent to the throne, the throne can count as one of the four capturing sides and may remain empty during capture.
- The goal for the defenders (king’s side) is to move the king to any of the 12 red corner squares. If the king has escaped to any of the corner squares, the defenders win.
- If the attackers surround the king and all remaining defenders, to the point that the king cannot escape, then the attackers win.
- 3 repetitions of the same move by the same player in a row are not allowed. If 3 repetitions in a row are made the repeating player loses the game.
- If a player cannot move they lose the game.
- Since Hnefatafl is asymmetrical, each of the players must use a different strategy to win.
- The attackers need to form a blockade around the defenders so that the king gets surrounded and eventually eliminated. As long as the ring around the king remains unbroken he cannot escape. The blockade is formed by positioning the attackers in the shape of a rhombus on a diagonal of each row. Once the blockade is formed that attackers need to slowly make the rhombus smaller and smaller around the center of the board and tighten the noose around the king.
- The goal for the defenders is to constantly create gaps in the blockade and have the king escape through one of those gaps to the edge of board. Placing defenders behind the enemy lines makes it much easier for them to eliminate more attackers and break through the blockade.
- Some chess tactics are applicable in Hnefatafl as well. Forcing the opponent to make a particular move in order to avoid losing the game can be very useful. Creating a fork where one piece can attack multiple opponent’s pieces can provide an advantage. Pinning a piece, which prevents it from being moved from its location by the threat of losing the game, is another useful tactic which gives the player the control of the board.
- Robinson, Joseph Armitage. The Times of Saint Dunstan: the Ford lectures delivered in the University of Oxford in the Michaelmas term, 1922. Clarendon Press, 1923. pp. 171-181.
- Perkis, Andrew. The Biggest Hnefatafl. Variant Chess. The Magazine to Broaden Your Chess Horizons. Volume 8, Issue 63. January 2010. pp. 145-147.
- Helmfrid, Sten. Hnefatafl – The Strategic Board Game of the Vikings. An overview of rules and variations of the game. April 23, 2005. Online only.
- Walker, Damian. Reconstructing Hnefatafl. Cyningstan, 2014.
- Walker, Damian Gareth. An Introduction to Hnefatafl. Cyningstan, 2015.