Viking Games

Map of Northern Europe

According to Parlett (Oxford History of Board Games, 1999, p. 185) there are a group of board games "... characterized by the unusual fact that they are contests between two unequal forces, both with different powers of action and winning objectives." These games were played throughout the area shown on the map on the left.

The games have been dated from about the 5th century AD through the 18th century and are still played in many places today. In fact, these and related games were and are played throughout most of Europe and as far east as India, China, and Japan. Variants of some of these games were also played by North American aboriginal tribes who came in contact with Spanish Conquistadors.

Many of these variants were played on boards that were intended for use in playing Row Games, such as Mill.

The Museum has a few games of this ilk in its collection. While all of these in the collection are relatively new reproductions, that in itself is evidence that these games still appear to stimulate interest in playing them.

According to Partlett (Oxford History of Board Games, 1999, page 186) Tafl is a generic term for an ancient group of Scandinavian games. Fox and Geese is similar to Tafl games in the mode of play. The Ballinderry board in the collection is a reproduction of one type, while Asalto is later modification altering the mode of play.

Click on an image below to view graphics and information about these games in the collection.

Tafl GamesTablutBallinderry BoardFox & GeeseAsalto
Tafl Games Tablut Game Balinderry Board Fox & Geese Asalto Board

Last update March 2, 2010