Rules of Berserk Hnefatafl 11x11.

1.   Two players may participate. One player plays the king's side, with a king and his defenders, and the other player plays the attackers. There are twelve defenders, one of the defenders being the king's knight, and twenty-four attackers, four of them being viking commanders.

2.   The game is played on a board with 1111 squares and with initial set-up as shown:
Initial set-up.

3.   The central square, called the throne, and the four squares in the corners are restricted and may only be occupied by the king. It is allowed for the king to re-enter the throne, and all pieces may pass through the throne when it is empty. The four corner squares are hostile to all pieces, which means that they can replace one of the two pieces taking part in a capture. The throne is always hostile to the attackers, but only hostile to the defenders when it is empty.
Five restricted squares.

4a.   The attackers' side moves first, and the game then proceeds by alternate moves. All pieces move any number of vacant squares along a row or a column, like a rook in chess.
Moving a piece.

4b.   Besides the ordinary way of moving, the king, the knight and the commanders may also make a short orthogonal jump over an ordinary enemy piece, landing on an empty square beyond. They do not capture by this maneuvre (except for the knight, see rule 5b), unless they trap an enemy piece between themselves and one of their own men. It is not allowed to jump over the king, the knight or the commanders, and the king can only jump over an ordinary enemy soldier from and to restricted squares.
Commander and king jumping.

5a.   All pieces except the king are captured if they are sandwiched between two enemy pieces, or between an enemy piece and a hostile square, along a column or a row. The two enemy pieces should either be on the square above and below or on the square to the left and to the right of the attacked piece. A piece is only captured if the trap is closed by a move of the opponent, and it is, therefore, allowed to move in between two enemy pieces. A captured piece is removed from the board and is no longer active in the game. The king may take part in captures.
Capture of pieces.

The piece is not captured.

5b.   The knight can capture an enemy piece by short-jumping over it, as well as by the ordinary way of capture.
The knight jumping.

6.   The Berserk Rule: When a piece makes a capture, the player may continue to move the same piece as long as he makes captures with it.
    The king may finish a berserk run with a winning move to a corner square.
Berserk move.

7.   The objective for the king's side is to move the king to any of the four corner squares. In that case, the king has escaped and his side wins.
The king's side wins.

8a.   The attackers win if they can capture the king before he escapes. The king is captured when the attackers surround him in all four cardinal points. When he is on a square next to the throne, the attackers must occupy all surrounding squares in the four points of the compass except the throne.
The king is captured.

The king is not captured.

8b.   When the king is not on or next to the throne, two viking commanders can sandwich and capture the king, and one commander can capture the king against one of the four restricted corner squares.
Commanders capture the king.

9.   Perpetual repetitions are forbidden. A player who maintains a board repetition ("the aggressive player") must find another move to break the repetition, or he loses the game.
   "The aggressive player" is the player who continually side steps with a piece in order to find an open path to break through. The other player continually brings his piece in line with the aggressive piece in order to block the open path. In other words, "the aggressive player" is the one who has some choice in whether to repeat the pattern or not.
   If a board position is repeated for the third time, "the aggressive player" loses the game.

10.   If a player cannot move, he loses the game.
The defenders cannot move and lose.

The Berserk Hnefatafl game was proposed by Aage Nielsen, Denmark, October 2011.
The Berserk Hnefatafl rules are deduced only from combining the Fetlar Hnefatafl, the Saami Tablut, the R.C. Bell's reconstruction of the Roman soldiers' game Ludus Latrunculorum, the Bergen Museum set of Storhaug Hnefatafl playing pieces and the Somali descendants of Latrunculi, the games Seega and High Jump.
See more here:
The origin of the Viking board game Hnefatafl and the Berserk rules.

Part of the text reuses formulations from Sten Helmfrid's text on the Skalk variant. Also formulations borrowed from Bell.

Try out the game at

Updated 17.3.2017
Copyright © 1998-2017 Aage Nielsen, All Rights Reserved;