DIY: Make a Hnefatafl, the Vikings' Chessboard Game, As a Travelling Board Version Out of Foam Clay

Introduction: DIY: Make a Hnefatafl, the Vikings' Chessboard Game, As a Travelling Board Version Out of Foam Clay

About: Hi, I am looking for serious sponsors to enable me to make this thing as my profession. Or anybody wanted an innovative mind working with him. By the way... Sir Dyson, I applied twice on y...


Hi everybody,

I discovered quite recently this chessboard-like game when visiting an cultural exhibition on vikings which took place in a museum in Berlin. I went there at first to see if the TV show on those warriors is reliable with the historical facts.

In Particular I was interested in axes shapes and weight.

And then I saw this small board with two sets of pieces. I was really astonished and at the same time excited to realise that whereever you are, warriors tribes developped strategic games as a learning tool. This intelectual acitvity was very important to develop a real tactic sense.

Just a mention of some (ancient) warriors countries and their strategic board games

Go in Japan, Chess in ottoman empire, Hnefatafl for Vikings, Mehen in Ancient Egypt, Patolli for Aztec, Konane in Polynesia....

It is quite widely spread. So I decided to make one myself. Here you can do one yourself!

Just a mention on the contents of this instructable-->attribution non commercial sharealike.

You can re-use my texts and my pictures, modify or whatever, if you do so please cite the author, my work or even better put a link to this instructable. I would appreciate your cooperation :) In addition if you have any comment or improvement that you would like to share with me please do it. I would like to make a gallery of rockets at the end of this instructable, If you craft one, send me a picture :)

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Step 1: Inventory

-CD case for pressing evenly and making rolls

-a hard support

-plastic sheets

-modelling tools

-foam clay

-a pencil

-a ruler


a modelling extrusion syringe to extrude thin noodles

Starting procedure

-Take Foam clay from one brand like Fimo or Hobby time or even if you know a recipe to do it yourself go for it

-make a square sheet 0.5-1 mm by pressing ang cutting it accordingly About 11-13 cm width and heigth.

-let it dry between two sheets of transparent paper or wax paper. (overnight/nearby a heating source like a home radiator)

During drying, please put weight on both side, to get the sheet of foam clay flat. (Otherwise it goes curved... you do want it flat right!)

-once dried, released the square sheet from its support like shown on the picture

Step 2: Step 2: Get a Flat Bottom

with help of a humidified cosmetic paper towel make one side of the square sheet moist.

Follow the picture like indicated by numbers from 1 to 4.

Then get noodles or thin rolls and create a bottom part like shown on the picture.

You can do a well defined grid if you want

Press the noodles over plactic substrate with the help of the square sheet and the cd case as shown on the picture

Let it dry like already mentionned between two weights (you want it to be flat).

Step 3: Step 3: Make the Upper Sheet

Follow the picture instructions:

make the surface wet with a wet paper towel

make a second square sheet of foam clay slightly bigger and 0.5 to 1 mm thick Like already mentioned in step 1

Press the dried sheet free side over the new sheet. Both sheet sides must be wet so that you get good adhesion of each sheet.

Let it dry between some weights like already mentioned

Step 4: Step 4: Design the Hnefatafl Board 11x11

With the aid of a ruler, draw with the pencil the futur board case. make the case 1 cm x1 cm

wet shortly the dried sheet under the tap flow..

Then use the modelling tool to carve out the cases from the board.

You need to draw 1 special case in the center (the king place at the beginning of the game)

4 exit/excape cases on the corners

and 16 cases (4 on each side of the board) where the attacker pieces will be placed.

Look what I obtained. Try to Do something similar. But it must be flat!

Once carved with the help of water and modelling tool, let it dry below weight. Allways do that to get it flat!

Step 5: Step 5: Make the Pieces As Pellets

Here I did pellets using roll of foam clay that I have cut. Those must be smaller than the cases so about 7-8 mm diameter maximum. 13 Defenders (including the special pieces) and 24 Attackers (including the special pieces)

4 special attackers: the captains (look like a tower in chess game)

a Knight (with a center point)

A king (with a crown and a cross in the middle)

Let those dry

The pieces needed to be flatten. So I sanded the sides off with the aid of an abrasive sponge.

Works pretty fine. Then I put all the pieces in a small plastic candy box.

To Finalize the board:

You will need to cut the board egdes so that those appears straight.

I painted the cases in black with a pen for kids. Worked fine!

Let it dry under weight again.

Then you will have to look for Hnefatafl rules 11x11. A lot of ressources are available on the internet.

Here the Hnefatafl board is designed for the berserk rules! If you are following other rules, the specials pieces knight and captains count as normal pieces.

That s all folks, Enjoy!

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