Everyone had gone to bed. In the heart of the sleepy village, only the quarters of Haakon radiated a trembling light, which struggled to chase away the darkness of the night. Inside, two men sitting face to face were arguing over a game of Hnefatafl. Haakon calmly moved his beautifully carved King's piece before looking at his opponent, as if to guess his next move.
“As you know, Alvar, all responsibility for the village falls to you in my absence. From tomorrow, everyone will obey you as if they were obeying their king.”
“Only one of us can do that. I accept that responsibility as Jarl. I'll make sure they remember who governs them, trust me.”
“Your wisdom is surely greater than mine!” Haakon replied, with a sincere smile on his lips.
Alvar, in turn, moved one of his attackers to try to encircle his opponent's King.
“This journey, Alvar, I feel it. It...”
“Sire! Sire!” shouted a guard as he burst into the room. “Sire, a request for an audience. A delegation from the Raven Clan, led by Bodil, asks to speak with you. Its members insist on being received, they want to make a request of the utmost importance.”
“By the sceptre of Odin, this viper will not grant me any respite! What is this request?”
“Sire, she wouldn't tell me anything. It's you she wants to see.”
“I see... Alvar, it looks like we'll have to postpone our game until the day we meet again. I greet you one last time, brother. You have my full confidence in the task before you.”
“Don't keep them waiting, my king. I will take my leave. Gods be with you.”
“They guide my steps, my brother,” replied the king as he left the room, accompanied by his guards.
Alvar, now alone, sitting in the dimly lit room, looked one last time at the game board and its scene of an unfinished battle. It was obvious that the jarl had the advantage, and that the King, however sublime the carving, was in a perilous position.
Hnefatafl is a traditional Viking game dating back to the Middle Ages, and the name literally means ‘The King's Table’. It is a very popular strategy game among the Scandinavian peoples and is often mentioned in the Nordic sagas. In one of these sagas, a player even kills his opponent because of a disagreement during the game! The game was subsequently introduced by the Vikings to the various countries they plundered or conquered.
In HEL: The Last Saga, Hnefatafl is also important. The theme alone should arouse your curiosity: 13 heroes including a King... Mysterious enemies in great numbers around them... The King who must escape... Does this remind you of something?
This ultimate and luxurious optional purchase serves two functions:
- To be able to play with a customised and luxurious version of this great classic Viking game that is specifically designed to match the art direction and the dark world of HEL: The Last Saga.
- To be able to replace the 20 wooden cubes used to mark turns, objectives, hero activations, etc., with carved tokens that are much more aesthetic and immersive. That's why we offer 20 Viking soldier pieces instead of just the 12 required by the game.
Hnefatafl comes in a beautiful box containing 20 small statuettes of Viking soldiers, 1 larger statuette representing the King, and 24 statuettes of hostile enemies. All of these pieces will look like aged antique-style bone (soldiers) or wood (hostiles). The neoprene game board with stitched edges integrates a Viking iconography specific to HEL: The Last Saga. It is accompanied by another cloth game board that is more easily transportable. Finally, the box contains a small printed cloth bag in which you can put the tokens and the cloth game board and thus carry your Hnefatafl game in a practical and space-saving way.
Viking chess is a 2-player game that takes around 15 minutes to play. It is simple, elegant, and subtle at the same time. It is a game that can get you hooked, in the vein of Abalone, Quarto, Go and other great classics. It is a game of attack and defence, in which the attacker tries to capture the King, and the defender tries to protect the King by taking him to one of the four corner squares, known as fortresses, which are inaccessible to the attackers, just like the fortress in the central square where the King begins. The pawns move orthogonally from one or more squares to a free space, in the same way as the rook in chess.
Both attackers and defenders can capture an enemy piece (and thus remove it from the board) by positioning two of their pieces on either side of it to create a pincer. You can also be caught in a pincer by being between a pawn and a fortress.
It is more difficult to capture the King, since it must be surrounded on all four sides, not just two.
If the King is captured, the hostiles have won.
If the King is taken to one of the four corner fortresses, the Vikings have won.
Note that the complete rules will be provided in 5 languages (English, French, German, Spanish and Italian) and all will be found in the rulebook which is included.