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Re: Internationally agreed 11x11 tournament rules - poll

Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 12:12 pm
by Adam
Warder wrote:Why is play to the edge with the king captured on 4 sides described as "easy"?
I've got a feeling that the play to edge version mentioned here may not have exactly the same rules as your version Warder. I believe the differences being throne return and king capture participation (allowed in this version, not in yours, I think?). I look forward to trying out you version, a very different game indeed to Fetlar rules.

That's really what this is all about, finding versions of Hnefatafl that are well balanced and provide entertaining complex games for players of all abilities. There are no doubt many viable versions on all board sizes, all of which will need to be recognised and named once the Tafl communities are agreed that they function well.

Is Ard ri that 7x7 one? I only had a quick look at it once, but it seemed impossible for black not to win given the right move combination (rather like noughts and crosses). Sort of a kids version for trying out the basic principles of Tafl. I look forward to hearing your deconstructions Warder.

Re: Sea Battle Tafl

Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 6:14 pm
by Hagbard
The Marseille rules are the rules shown in HnefataflModern's demo videos.

This variant has a number of small rule changes:
- 9x9 board
- unarmed king who wins on any edge square
- no special corner squares
- throne square is not hostile to anybody, and the king cannot return to the throne
- no special attackers' base camp squares
- defenders begin

The Marseille rules can be tried out here.

Fill in Name, mark Marseille and invite.

Update 30.9.2011:
NB. The "Marseille variant" is renamed into "Rachunek tafl".

Marseille rules

Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 7:14 pm
by crust
Thanks Aage for programming this version, and Hnefataflmodern for suggesting it - after four games, I see it has a lot of potential. The weaponless king is going to take a lot of getting used to. I hope we will have a tournament here using these rules!

Re: Marseille rules

Posted: Fri Sep 16, 2011 8:05 pm
by Adam
I hate to sound like a stuck record, but does this version or does this version not forbid white to force a draw by perpetual checking?

Re: Quiz question

Posted: Sun Sep 18, 2011 6:02 pm
by Adam
I quite agree. As han solo once quipped, boring conversation anyway. I think you and I play board games for very different reasons which are entirely personal, (I often like the games that go on forever) and I thought that difference was fascinating and worth looking at. But I suppose the upshot of it all is simply having more variations of Hnefatafl to make everybody happy. Arg. (I'm also fond of mental gymnastics, its why I play board games!) Anyway I look forward to playing marseille rules. Maybe I'll be an instant convert and the problem will evaporate.

Re: Marseille rules

Posted: Tue Sep 20, 2011 9:17 pm
by Hagbard
The "Marseille" rules have in real been in use at least since 2002 on brainking, which is a Czech site. I wonder how they came up with precisely those rules?
According to Murray the king is armed, and Bell does not write that the king is weaponless. Both Murray and Bell writes that the king can reenter the throne. And Linnaeus has Muscovite base camps forbidden to the Swedes and the king, and the king armed.

So where did brainking find these rules?

Origin of the Rachunek tafl game

Posted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 4:16 pm
by Hagbard
Hagbard wrote:According to Murray the king is armed, and Bell does not write that the king is weaponless. Both Murray and Bell writes that the king can reenter the throne. And Linnaeus has Muscovite base camps forbidden to the Swedes and the king, and the king armed.
The following to clarify. I'll here describe the path Carolus Linnaeus 1732 -> J. E. Smith 1811 -> H. J. R. Murray 1951 -> R. C. Bell 1960 -> Filip Rachunek 2002.

Linnaeus diary 1732.
1. Arx regia. Konokis Lappon., cui nullus succedere potest.
Transl.: Royal Citadel (or throne). Called Konokis in Lapp, no one is allowed to enter here.
Could mean "no one else than the king", or could be "the king included" which would mean no reenter.

O. Vacua loca occupare cuique licitum, item Regi, idem valet de locis characterisatis praeter arcem.
Transl.: Empty spaces can be occupied by any piece legally, including the King in addition to the throne.
From the description of the board set up. Base camps are not legal areas. Looks like the king can reenter the throne.

Linnaeus then gives many examples of moves which will be legal in course of the game, all example moves happen outside the base camps.
Rule 3 and 4 explains that the king wins if he reaches any parameter square outside the base camps.

9. Si qvis hostem 1 inter 2 sibi hostes collocare posit, est occisus et ejici debet, item Rex.
Transl.: If 1 piece finds itself trapped between 2 enemies, it is captured and must be removed from the board, including the King.
King is captured by 2 men like any other piece. If the king is included in the term "enemy", he would participate in the captures. Whereas if general reference to pieces does not include the king, he would not (as above where possibly rule O. indicates that "no one" in rule 1. does not include the king?)

Linnaeus then explains the exception that it takes 4 or 3 men to capture the king on the throne or next to the throne.

14. Arx potest intercludere, aeque ac trio, ut si miles in 2 et hostis in 3 est, occidat.
Transl.: The citadel can block, just as a third piece would, so that if a soldier is in 2 and an enemy in 3, he is killed.
The throne square (and base camps?) are hostile. Potest - can: could be that it is only hostile to Swedes when empty.

1811 Smith translates the Linnaus diary into English and introduces errors in the translation.

Murray 1951.
bases his reconstruction of Tablut on the Smith translation.

Murray introduced the escape of the king to any square on the periphery, and that the king must always be captured by 4 men, 3 men next to the throne. The king can reenter the throne. The king participates in captures. The throne is not hostile to anybody. Swedes move first.

I could not find the original Murray text on the internet, but this site claims to cite the book: ... Tablut.pdf

Bell 1960.
Bell's description of Tablut rules is identical to Murray. The original Bell text is available on the internet.

Filip Rachunek 2002.
Filip Rachunek from the Czech Republic explains that his parents bought a Slovak book of ancient board games around 1982. Rumor has it that the book is the above mentioned R.C.Bell, "Board and Table Games from Many Civilizations", 1960.

2002 Rachunek created a board game web site and introduced these modifications of his own to the Murray/Bell Tablut rules:
- the king is weaponless
- the king cannot return to the throne

A rather large community has since then played tafl by these rules on the Rachunek site.

Re: Marseille rules

Posted: Wed Sep 21, 2011 10:41 pm
by Adam
Warder wrote: Click on the link, then click on the image of page 78 and 79 (it is two images from the top right of the screen). Again, these are images of the actual pages in the book. The complete rules for Tablut are on these two pages (78 and 79).
Thanks for the link, as it was an apparently random selection of pages one is unable to read pages 76,77, but the game board description seems to have begun on those pages. I don't suppose anyone here can tell us what those pages say? The rules are certainly present on pages 78,79, but the board description might be important?

Re: Origin of the Rachunek tafl game

Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 10:39 pm
by Adam
Warder wrote:Good points. Would you agree the throne rule is just ancillary then and not needed? Not sure what the purpose is. Now I think the rules would be better without it in my opinion.
It would certainly do away with the 3 man king capture. That only exists because if it didn't, the king could just stand next to the throne and never be captured, and black couldn't prevent white from doing this. The same would apply even if the king couldn't return to the throne.

As to what the purpose is, we'd have to ask the Saami people of 1732. It may well be that this game plays better with the throne square not being special in any way. The concern with any 'primary source rule' removal is that we may throw out the baby with the bathwater. If we get to the point where the game we end up with ignores even the clearly stated known rules, then we've got a new game. And that's fine, but lets not pretend that they are 'the RIGHT rules', and more than any other set can fairly be called 'the WRONG rules'. They are just different variants.

Re: Marseille rules

Posted: Thu Sep 22, 2011 11:12 pm
by Adam
Warder wrote:5. No corner escape
Apologies for this long post, but this is important for this website:

I am very fond of corner hnefatafl, and while I don't agree with Warders strategic reasons for disliking the variation (primarily as hnefetaflman comments on our youtube clips, and in his own videos promoting 9x9 edge tafl) he has given me pause for thought, and I do notice a glaring absence of corner board markings on the archeological remains, with the exception of the brundub board, and the Ockelbo rock carving. It occurs to me corner tafl and edge tafl were perhaps both played?

Corner tafl may even be an entirely modern invention as Warder suggests, but that's no argument against corner hnefetafl, if you are going to do away with special thrones and impenetrable muscovite basecamps (which I myself don't like either) in Tablut . Once again, you can't have it both ways. Either we follow the sources, or we accept on an equal footing all new variations that play well and balanced between experienced players (even if a variation seems boringly long to some, to others it has entertaining and varied end games).

Ipfan says:

"If the king can go along the [illegible] line, that side wins the game"
or as he said in 16th century welsh:
"Os dowaid un gwrh(eill) (?) amynd rwng dau nideos niwed osgall y brenin fynd ar hyd yllin(ell) . . . enillodd y ty hwnw y chwarau."

If anyone can cross check this translation that would be good. I've written to the National library of Wales about it, they hold the original document.

And I agree, that sounds like a clumsy way of saying, if you get to the edge, you win.

This is where Warder and I disagree.
Warder wrote:Hxxx ruined a game whose rules were ALREADY AGREED UPON and playable to begin with.
I would put it like this: Hxxx stumbled upon a new game by making changes to a game whose rules were ALREADY AGREED UPON and playable to begin with.

At worst corner tafl is another fun version (not so fun for correspondence chess!) that is no more or less valid than any other modern version that ignores the original sources to any degree.

Warder's argument would be fair enough, if edge tafl really was 'ruined', but its wasn't, its alive and well and unharmed. Why can't the two games coexist if people enjoy them AND they function? As Warder said himself
Warder wrote:you have to try and FORGET EVERYTHING you know about playing to the corner with an armed king. Approach this version as a brand new abstract strategy game with its own unique strategy. And please give it some time. It took me almost 30 games before I started to deepen my understanding of the game.
I totally agree. These two versions are VERY different games, each with their own merits. And i've given corner tafl 20 years of playing, and its still throwing surprises at me, but I agree, you have to enjoy a long end game to like it. I just don't see the need to be so hostile towards a variant that so many people enjoy playing. Promote Marseille for its merits by all means, but do you really need to try and destroy corner tafl in the processs? Corner tafl will wither and die if people find it unplayable or unenjoyable. Isn't that enough?