David Brown Hnefatafl

Tafl rules
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cyningstan
Posts: 38
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:22 am

David Brown

Post by cyningstan » Wed Jun 26, 2013 6:51 pm

crust wrote:I apologize for the length of this excerpt, but I thought it was interesting, particularly the detail that Brown had worked on an Anglo-Saxon dig in Cirencester, possibly in the late 70's or early 80's, which is when this "attempted reconstruction" of hnefatafl was made by someone called David Brown, which inspired the Skalk hnefatafl game.
I have a copy of the original 1980 Hnefatafl rules by David Brown. They go with the board pictured at the top of the Revival [link not working] page of my site. The Copyright notice is "(C) David Brown 1980. Designed and produced by Oxbow Games, Oxford in association with York Archaeological Trust." I don't know anything about the David Brown involved in the History Craft version, over and above what you told me in another place.

The two rule sets look very different. I've not been around here long enough to know from memory what the Skalk rules are, but the 1980 rules remind me of the the current longship tafl, with Linnaeus' central square rules (including the oddity of capturing a defender beside the king).
Looks like they have one variant for sale in the shop (History Craft version) and a different one on show in the museum itself - this is clearly a 13x13 board
Added to a third version dug up from the ground, which is 15x15!

Hagbard
Posts: 409
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2015 6:07 pm

Re: News about Scandinavian Museums' Hnefatafl

Post by Hagbard » Thu Jun 27, 2013 1:26 pm

cyningstan wrote:I have a copy of the original 1980 Hnefatafl rules by David Brown.
...
the 1980 rules remind me of the the current longship tafl, with Linnaeus' central square rules (including the oddity of capturing a defender beside the king).
Sounds much like the one we used to call "Rachunek 11x11". Would it be possible to upload a scan of the rules to the forum? Would be very interesting to see them.

cyningstan
Posts: 38
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:22 am

Re: David Brown

Post by cyningstan » Sat Jun 29, 2013 4:06 pm

Hagbard wrote:Sounds much like the one we used to call "Rachunek 11x11". Would it be possible to upload a scan of the rules to the forum? Would be very interesting to see them.
I don't want to post that without the copyright owner's permission, but while I try and get that I've put up a new page [link not working] with a paraphrase of the rules on my site. To save you the journey, the text is here:

This is a paraphrase of the rules that were supplied with the version of Hnefatafl published by the York Archaeological Trust in 1980. The game was developed by David Brown of Oxbow Games, Oxford, in association with the Trust.

1. The game is played by two, one taking the part of the king and his twelve dark defenders, the other taking the part of the 24 fair attackers.

2. The game begins with the pieces set out on the marked squares as shown in the picture.

3. To win, the attackers must prevent the king from escaping the board by boxing him in on all four sides, so that it cannot move.

4. The defenders win by moving the king to the edge of the board.

5. The attackers move first.

6. All pieces move along a rank or file as far as their players desire, as long as they do not land on or jump over squares occupied by other pieces.

7. No piece other than the king may land in the central square.

8. Pieces other than the king are captured by surrounding them on two opposite sides along a rank or file. The king is captured by surrounding him on four sides, as described above.

9. If the attackers surround the king and ALL remaining defenders, then they win, as they have prevented the king from escaping.

10. If the king is surrounded by three attackers and a defender occupies his fourth side, the defender can be captured by sandwiching it between the king and an attacker.

11. If the king is surrounded by three attackers and the central square is on his fourth side, then he is considered fully surrounded and loses the game.

The leaflet also contains rules for changing the balance of the game if the players desire it.

a. The king can be allowed to take part in captures, or possibly to capture only when making the attacking move.

b. The king can be awarded victory only on reaching a corner. If this is the case, the corner should be inaccessible to pieces other than the king, and an attacker (only) beside a corner square can be captured against it by a single defender on the opposite side.

c. A 5-point match can be played; the attacker places four cards A, 2, 3, 4 face down one by each edge of the board. The defender wins the number of points on the card by the side on which the king exits. This introduces a form of bluffing to the game.

d. Play two games, swapping sides. On a tie break, judge the winner of the contest by the number of moves or by the number of pieces captured.
Last edited by Hagbard on Fri Mar 20, 2015 2:05 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Hagbard
Posts: 409
Joined: Sat Mar 14, 2015 6:07 pm

David Brown Hnefatafl

Post by Hagbard » Tue Jul 02, 2013 1:10 am

cyningstan wrote:This is a paraphrase of the rules that were supplied with the version of Hnefatafl published by the York Archaeological Trust in 1980. The game was developed by David Brown of Oxbow Games, Oxford, in association with the Trust.
Thanks a lot for this rules set! This is gold. We've been searching for this jigsaw piece of Hnefatafl history.

The following forum note explains how the Danish Skalk Hnefatafl version from 1992 was directly based on the David Brown 1980 Hnefatafl version:
[link not working]

One can now see how the Danish author arrived at the Skalk rules using:
all the David Brown standard rules
plus optional rule a,
plus optional rule b in a modified form: both attackers and defenders (not only attackers) are captured against a corner square, and not only against corner squares but also against the throne,
plus stating the king to be captured from two sides instead of four, except in center.
(Some of the modifications had the purpose of approaching the rules to the rules described by Linné. Linné writes that the king is captured from two sides, except by four in center. And that attackers and defenders are captured against the throne.)

The History Craft Hnefatafl is:
all the David Brown standard rules
plus optional rule a
plus optional rule b, modified so that both attackers and defenders are captured against a corner square.

With the David Brown version we've found a missing link of Hnefatafl.
Last edited by Hagbard on Sun Mar 15, 2015 6:43 am, edited 2 times in total.

cyningstan
Posts: 38
Joined: Sun Mar 15, 2015 8:22 am

Re: David Brown Hnefatafl

Post by cyningstan » Tue Jul 02, 2013 5:06 pm

Hagbard wrote:This is gold. We've been searching for this jigsaw piece of Hnefatafl history.
This was the result of a long-term watch on eBay, which I really ought to resume. There have been quite a few past variants I've picked up this way: this, Papillon's Escape, and that moulded resin likeness of the Ballinderry board that (I now find) was marketed in 1994.
(Some of the modifications had the purpose of approaching the rules to the rules described by Linné. Linné writes that the king is captured from two sides, except by four in center. And that attackers and defenders are captured against the throne.)
It just happens that I was looking into Linné and his rules last night, using the Latin text, as I'm determined to finish and publish my old booklet from 2007. The king capture rule would suggest that no ancient form of hnefatafl had a 4-square capture rule anywhere but in the central square. The rule about capturing against the central square is clear enough but either contradicts or makes redundant the odd rule about capturing a defender against the king when the king is partially surrounded.

But that's going off topic for this particular discussion :-)

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