Introduction: Hnefatafl Roll

About: I make stuff. Lots of stuff.

This is a Hnefatafl Roll.

Hnefatafl was a Viking game strategically somewhere between checkers and chess depending on the size of the board. More can be found at

I made this roll for a number of purposes:

  1. I wanted a physical Hnefatafl set
  2. I wanted a game to take camping
  3. I wanted a game I could take to LARP campouts

After getting it done and all that, I wanted to share with you all the process to make it.

This is my first instructable, so bear with me if I get rambly.

Step 1: The Pieces

First, you are going to need some pieces. You will need 4 pieces. 3 Felt pieces, 1 measuring 12 inches by 18 inches and 2 measuring 8.5 inches by 5 inches. You will also need a 10.5 inch square piece of back-laminated burlap. You could use any burlap really, but the back-laminated variety makes the embroidery easier and more even.

Step 2: The Board

Next, you will need to make the board before finishing the roll. Centered on the board piece embroider a 9 inch by 9 inch square. Every inch make lines across the square to form a 9 by 9 grid of 1 inch squares. In the corners of the board embroider the Viking rune Thorn; I did this on the corners of both a 7 by 7 square, and the full 9 by 9 square. Depending on the size of board you choose (7x7 or 9x9) when you play, these will mark the goal spots to move the King to. In the center embroider the Viking rune Ansuz, this is where the King will start in play. The rune thorn symbolizes safety, while the Ansuz is Odin’s rune.

Step 3: The Roll

Using a blanket stitch, applique the board to the roll base (the 12 inch by 18 inch piece) about 3/4 inch from the left side, top, and bottom. This should leave about 6.5 inches from the right. In this space take the two 8.5 inch by 5 pieces and fold the lower third up to make a pocket; again using a blanket stitch, close the sides of the pocket by appliqueing both layers to the roll base. It may be easier to refer to the images attached to see how this is done.