Tafl games are a family of ancient Germanic and Celtic strategy board games played on a checkered or latticed board with two armies of uneven numbers, representing variants of an early Scandinavian board game called tafl or hnefatafl in contemporary literature.
Although the size of the board and the number of pieces varied, all games involved a distinctive 2:1 ratio of pieces, with the lesser side having a king-piece that started in the centre. The king’s objective was to escape to (variously) the board’s periphery or corners, while the greater force’s objective was to capture him. There is also some controversy over whether some tafl games (i.e. Hnefatafl and Tawlbwrdd) may have employed dice. Tafl spread everywhere the Vikings traveled, including Iceland, Britain, Ireland, and Lapland. Versions of Tafl, comprising Hnefatafl, Alea Evangelii, Tawlbwrdd (Wales), Brandubh, Ard Ri and Tablut, were played across much of Northern Europe from earlier than 400 AD until it was supplanted by chess in the 12th century.