hist-games: Halatafl - digression on hnefatafl

Mats Winther mwi9 at swipnet.se
Wed Apr 5 08:14:01 PDT 2006

Den 2006-04-04 20:56:17 skrev Mats Winther <mwi9 at swipnet.se>:

> Sun Nov 13 11:11:10 PST 2005 Damian Walker damian at snigfarp.karoo.co.uk wrote:
>> Quoting Huette von Ahrens's message of Yesterday:
>>> I have found that playing the smaller version is just
>>> as you say. They are very unfair.  But the largest
>>> version, which people seem to be calling "Alea
>>> Evangelii", is much fairer and is easy or
>>> hard, depending on the experience of the players.
>> My first experience of the smallest version, on a 7x7 board with 13pieces, was with an evaluation version of Zillions of Games.  It wasimpossible for the attacking side to win.  In those rules, the kingexits via the corner, may capture, and is captured on all four sides, asin the commercial variant The Viking Game.  I found that, in thatvariant, simply changing the method of capturing the king, so that he'scaptured as other pieces, seems to create a balanced game on the littleboard.  I've yet to find a satisfactory ruleset for 25 pieces on thesame board, though.  That's too crowded and favours the attackers.
> [...]
>> -- Damian - http://damian.snigfarp.karoo.net/
> No wonder that it is an unfair game. I don't know what sources the Zillions
> implementation is based on, but according to experts at the Historical
> Museum, Stockholm, the king can be captured like any other piece, by
> sandwiching it between *two* pieces. It is only at the center position that four
> pieces are needed to capture it. On the squares directly adjacent to the
> central square three pieces can capture the king, since the central square
> is used as a capture-square. Otherwise only two pieces are necessary, and
> one piece is enough if the king is positioned to any of the corner squares
> (since these are capture-squares). If four pieces are needed to capture the
> king, then the attacker's game is hopeless.
> This is very bad because such implementations are like desinformation.
> Anybody can realize that it doesn't work. I will make a correct implementation
> of Tablut in Zillions.
> Mats

I have now implemented Tablut (9x9) (which was discovered by Carl Linné)
and Brandubh (7x7) with the correct rules, researched by the Historical
Museum, Stockholm. I have tested Tablut on the computer and it seems
very well-balanced, but probably White should win in the end (hunt games
are never theoretical draws). In Brandubh the win should be faster for White,
but it's not easy. This implementation shows what a sophisticated game this
is. It was immensely popular during the Viking era.



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