1) Due to the beliefs of the Norse people, throughout the time this game was played and found in their literature, the king would have been killed with being attacked on 2 sides not 4.
It was the belief, at the time, that the king (or tribal leader) was just the best man for the job and not a deity of some sort (like most kings are supposed to receive divine guidance or something). And the religious structure at the time would have defended this as well. Kings were mere mortals, but had the possibility of something greater AFTER death (to paraphrase).
Thanks Rynoknight, some interesting suggestions. Most of my thoughts about what you say are well covered by Crust's perceptive questions about the strategies that logically result from paired games where the winner is he who wins in the fewest moves. I'd be very interested to hear what you think about that, as your reply to Crust didn't mention it.
In response to your suggestion about having two side king capture in accordance with Norse belief systems, I'd like to put forward an idea I came upon while working with archeologists and viking historians in Vestfold Norway.
As you say, "Kings were mere mortals, but had the possibility of something greater AFTER death", this is perhaps the viking concept of 'ettermæle', ones 'legacy' in the form of stories told about your actions down through the ages. In short, how one is remembered. And death in battle was it seems something of a goal in life.
According to the viking experts I work with, a viking king or chieftain would rather die than turn tail and flee from a battle field. They say the idea of running away, of ditching your fellow warriors and beating a hasty retreat, was simply not an option for a viking. Vikings expected songs to be sung about their deeds through the ages, and I doubt they would have enjoyed the Monty Python song 'brave sir robin' being dedicated to them: 'when danger reared its ugly head, he bravely turned his tail and fled'. So it occurrs to me; that chap in the middle of the hnefatafl board, he is not a viking king. He is some other king or figurehead being attacked by vikings. Or if he does represent a viking king, he represents a coward, a turncoat, not worthy of the viking name.
His singular goal in the game, by any understanding of hnefatafl, is to bravely run away. Now, this conclusion is taken directly from an understanding of viking culture. And if one can agree to it being logically consistent, then one can quite reasonably arm that king to the teeth without being in conflict with our understanding of viking culture. And after all, if its equality you want, then the attackers, with no designated king, are your equal vikings, not the defender with a designated king.
That said, I for one would be happy to take part in a tournament set up on Aages site according to your rules and suggestions, where moves are counted and games one according to decisive strategy. If such a tournament happens I hope you will join in the fray!