hist-games: Halatafl - digression on hnefatafl

Jane & Mark Waks waks at comcast.net
Fri Nov 11 16:37:06 PST 2005

Damian Walker wrote:
> Quoting Jane & Mark Waks's message of Wednesday:
>>As for the unequal strength of the opponents, that's also a matter of 
>>common wisdom more than certainty. Most interpretations of Hnefetafl are 
>>pretty deeply unequal, but again the evidence for those rules is weak at 
>>best -- the earliest concrete rules date to the 17th century, and it's 
>>unclear how close they are to the Viking version of the game.
> I think the evidence for unequal strength in hnefatafl is a bit stronger 
> than you suggest here.

Hmm. We're talking about different definitions of "unequal". I don't 
dispute that the sides are quite *different* -- all the information 
bears that out.

But the more interesting and common question is whether the game is 
*fair*: whether one side has a decisive advantage over the other. That's 
a topic of frequent argument among the hnefetafl community, AFAICT, and 
one of the major topics in Mats' article. It's far less clear: many 
interpretations of hnefetafl are wildly unbalanced, but some are rather 
better in that regard...

				-- Justin

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