A version of an old Norse board game called King's Table. The game has black and white teams, like chess, but each team has different pieces and a different raison d'etre.
The white team has a total of 13 pieces, the most important one being Odin the King, who starts in the centre of the 10x10 board and moves in the same way as a chess King, whereas black has 20 pawns and four other pieces. White wins if Odin can reach one of the corner squares; black wins if it surrounds Odin on all 4 sides. The pawns actually move the same way as chess queens, but pieces are captured by surrounding them on 2 sides (although some special pieces must be surrounded on 3 sides). The specials are chosen from the selection at the start of the game, and have a variety of abilities, some 'borrowed' from chess.
The presentation of this interpretation is similar to Battle Chess, with bold 3D graphics and lots of animation.
Yes, it's a boardgame. And yes, it is one of the most meaningful boardgames you'll ever come across, along with chess, and, well ... chess. This is no wonder, however, as it was created by Scandinavians over 1500 years ago.
Basics of Hnefa-tafl (required for playing)
There are two sides in the original game (hnefa-tafl - king's table): attacking and defending. The defending side starts in the center of the board, and the attackers in the middle of each of the four edges of the gameboard. The two sides have different goals.
The units in the game are able to move vertically or horizontally for an unlimited number of spaces on the board, with the exception of the "king" who is able to move only two squares, again, vertically or horizontally, per turn. The "eating" of the units takes place when a player in his/her turn moves his own unit so that it traps an opponent's unit between two units of his/her own. Note that a unit may move to a spot between two of his opponent's units without being eaten.
The goal of the game depends on the side you are playing. The defender's goal is to reach one of the four corners of the board with the "king" (the unit in center of the gameboard). Reaching any of these corners marks the defender victorious and thus ends the game. Correspondingly, the goal of the attacker is to prevent the "king" from reaching any of these corners by surrounding it both vertically and horizontally with his/her own units.
The original game mode is included in King's Table -The Legend of Ragnarok, but there is also a campaign, "Ragnarok", which is the major part of the game.
Firstly, the Ragnarok mode differs from the original in its units. Both sides will have four special units on the battlefield. They are chosen from six characters of the corresponding side in the Mythology of Valhalla. For example, the forces of Darkness could have Loki, Jormungand, Hyrm and Garm, and the forcess of Valhalla could have (in addition to Odin who is the "king" of the game) Thor, Tyr, Freyr and Vidar. These special units differ from the normal units (the Einherjar of Valhalla and the giants of Darkness). For example, Tyr (Valhalla) and Garm (Darkness) must be surrounded by three units in order to be "eaten".
In the campaign, you play as Odin, trying to find a way to cheat your own destined fate. In order to fool it, you find yourself playing this game with mortals. Thus, in this task you will play against many different personalities, while the game will keep getting harder with every victory that you achieve.
The foes all have unique personalities, which can be observed through the comments that they make during the game. This is a nice addition, especially when these comments make you laugh.
Unfortunately, the game is short and can be completed in under three hours due to the lack of difficulty, which cannot be increased or decreased. But luckily there is the multiplayer mode, which can be played in original or Ragnarok mode. The music is perfectly relaxing and fits the game brilliantly. The graphics haven't suffered enough to hinder the playability of the game and are actually quite beautiful.
King's Table - The Legend of Ragnarok is strategy at its best. It is an excellent game that shouldn't be missed by any who are interested in chesslike boardgames or Scandinavian mythology.
King's Table is an excellent computerized version an ancient Scandinavian board game of the same name. The arrangement of the pieces and differing objectives of the two sides set King's Table apart from Chess or Draughts. White player's objective is to move its king to the haven of one of the corners of the board, while black's goal is to prevent that from happening. This computer version also features "Ragnarok" tournament mode, where the player takes the role of Norse God Odin, who has special pieces with unique powers. While the AI is none too bright, the unique gameplay and solid execution makes this a great old game. If you love esoteric board games, it doesn't get much more esoteric than this.
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