This text is modified from the rules description from Fotevikens Museum, Sweden.

Tafl board 9x9

The Ashton variant of Tablut.

1. The game is for two players. One plays Swedish and has a king and 8 soldiers. The other plays Moscovit with 16 Moscovits.

2. The game is played on a board of 9x9 squares (see above). The centre square of the board is specially marked and is called The Castle. On each side at the border of the board are 4 squares, which are marked, so that they form a T-shaped camp. These squares are called Base Camp squares.

3. The pieces are arranged as shown above. The king is placed in the castle surrounded by his 8 soldiers, two in each direction. The Moscovits are placed in the base camps, four in each camp.

4. The Swedes move first.

5. All pieces move like the rook in chess, that is horizontally and vertically. Pieces cannot jump over other pieces. Pieces cannot move diagonally.

6. A hostile piece is captured by placing two of one's own pieces on opposite sides of it.

7. A captured piece is removed from the board. A player may move a piece in between two enemy soldiers without being captured. To capture such a sandwiched piece, the enemy would have to move a soldier away, and then reoccupy the space again.

8. The king is captured like any other piece, except on the throne, where he must be surrounded on all four sides, and next to the throne, where he must be surrounded on three sides and the throne on the forth side. If the Moscovites succeed in this, they have won the game.

9. The Swedes win the game if the king has an open way out from the board, which the Moscovits cannot block.

10. If the king has two exits at the same time, he is certain to win as the Moscovits cannot block two exits in one move.

11. The castle and the base camp squares have special rules: No piece except the king can occupy the castle square. When the king has left the castle he is not allowed to return to it. Neither he nor any other piece is allowed to pass through the castle square. The same thing applies for the base camp squares, which means that they are forbidden areas to all pieces, which are not already placed in them. Therefore the king cannot find an exit through the base camps of the Moscovits.

A Moscovit who is in his base camp can take part in an attack on a soldier. A Moscovit placed in the front square of the base camp can be captured if Swedish pieces are placed on opposing sides of it.

To the king, the castle after he left it, and the base camp squares, are hostile. This means that these squares can be part of the Moscovites' final capture of him. If the king is next to the castle it takes three Moscovits to surround him.

Empty base camp squares and the empty throne square are hostile to all pieces.

12. A Moscovit piece may be moved within his base camp, and may in one move pass through base camp squares and out of the camp. Once he has left his camp, however, he is not allowed to return to it, nor can he pass through it.

This means that once out of a camp, no Moscovit can enter any Moscovit camp, and neither can any Swede. The same thing goes for the castle square, no piece can enter or pass.

13. In certain situations the so-called perpetual moves may occur. This can happen both at exit and at encirclement. In order to break such a stalemate the aggressive party after a couple of repetitions has to make a different move. This rule can be explained by the following example:

The king threatens to exit and a muscovit is moved in between to block. The king then moves to another square and threatens to exit here as well. The same muscovit has to be employed to block this time too. The king moves back to the first square and the muscovit is also moved back to block. When the described moves are repeated a couple of times, he who plays the Swedes must make a different move, because it is he who is the aggressive party.

Updated 21.8.2022
1998-2022 Aage Nielsen;