hist-games: Re: Halatafl

Ed Hopkins Ed.Hopkins at MCI.Com
Thu Jul 31 14:39:00 PDT 1997


Lachlan wrote:
> > I loaded Steve Neeley's shareware for the Fox and Geese game Halatafl, and
> > it's a great game but appears to be markedly different from the game
> > Halatafl described on the 'Games of the Anglo Saxon and Viking Age' page on
> > the Web.
> > The latter is much like plain solitaire I thought. So I wonder to the world:
> > Who is correct? Are they both correct? Are there two Halatafls? Will the real
> > Halatafl stand up??

Alfredus replied:
> I would say that the 'Games of the Anglo Saxon and Viking Age'
> page describes a "Halatafl" that resembles Alquerque more than
> solitaire.  It also resembles Alquerque more than Fox and Geese.
> It resembles Fox and Geese at all only in that they both have
> a somewhat cross-shaped board.
> 
> I understand that the word "Halatafl" means "Fox-Board"
> or "Fox-Game" and expect that it refers to a "hunting" game that has
> unequal forces (like Fox and Geese) rather than a "war" game with
> equal forces.
> 
> Therefore I hold the opinion that the creators of the 'Games of
> the Anglo Saxon and Viking Age" have erred in their reconstruction
> of Halatafl.

Alfredus then replies tohis own posting:
Upon furthur consideration, I think I misunderstood.  Apparently
the Norse had a Fox-and-Geese game that they called ref-skak, or
"fox chess".  I no longer think that the creators of the 'Games of
the Anglo Saxon and Viking Age" have necessarily erred in linking
the name "halatafl" with the game depicted on the Ockelbo Stone.
Instead I think that Steve Neeley should have picked a different
name for his program.

-- Alfredus Scurra

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