The dark pieces (attackers) lay seige, their goal, to capture the king. The light pieces (defenders) must break the seige and get their king to safety.
1. Two players, the king's side vs attackers. There are twice as many attackers as defenders.
2. The attackers' side moves first, the players then take turns.
3. All pieces move any number of vacant squares along a row or a column, like a rook in chess.
Moving a piece.
All pieces except the king are captured if sandwiched between two enemy pieces, or between an enemy piece and a restricted square. The two enemy pieces should be on the square above and below or on the squares left and right of the attacked piece, i.e. not diagonally.
A piece is only captured if the trap is closed by the aggressor's move, it is therefore permitted to move in between two enemy pieces.
The king may take part in captures.
Capture of pieces.
The piece is not captured.
5. Restricted squares
Restricted squares may only be occupied by the king. The central restricted square is called the throne. It is allowed for the king to re-enter the throne, and all pieces may pass through the throne when it is empty.
Restricted squares are hostile, which means 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.
The four corner squares are also restricted and hostile, just like the throne.
The board edge is NOT hostile.
Five restricted squares.
6. King's side win
If the king reaches any corner square, the king has escaped and his side wins.
The king's side wins.
7a. Attackers win
The attackers win if they can capture the king.
The king is captured when the attackers surround him on all four cardinal points, except when he is next to the throne.
If on a square next to the throne, the attackers must occupy the three remaining squares around him.
The king cannot be captured on the board edge, UNLESS he is the only white piece remaining on the board and is completely surrounded by black (i.e. rule 8).
The king is captured.
The king is not captured.
7b. If the attackers surround the king and ALL remaining defenders, then they win, as they have prevented the king from escaping.
The attackers win by encircling all defenders.
8. If a player cannot move, he loses the game.
9. If it is not possible to end the game, fx. because both sides have too few pieces left or because of repetitions, it is a draw.
The Fetlar rules were outlined 2007 by the Fetlar Hnefatafl Panel, UK.
The game pieces in the online game were drawn by Aage Nielsen, Denmark.
English text and diagrams: Adam Bartley (Norway).
Try out the game at aagenielsen.dk