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Cart #picotafl11-0 | 2020-06-18 | Code ▽ | Embed ▽ | License: CC4-BY-NC-SA

Particles? Who wants 'em! A.I.? Nobody likes it!

Sometimes you just need to make a game in 3 days and not worry about some stuff.

Here's Picotafl Unmastered, a simple 2-player implementation of Hnefatafl in PICO-8!

Hnefatafl is a nordic tabletop game from the Viking Era. Sometimes it's referred to as "Viking Chess", for its resemblance. It apparently was very famous in its day, but Chess came over and left Hnefatafl in the shadows.

I know that most people now (including me) don't have a second person to play the game with, but this will have to do for now. Whenever I have the time, I'll make a very polished version with at least a King's Army A.I.. Unlike Chess, Hnefatafl doesn't have an established way of doing A.I. so I'll have to study a little bit. It will take some time.

Here's the basics:

One player plays as the King and his soldiers, and the other plays as the invaders.
The King's goal is to either kill all of the invaders or get the King piece to one of the corners.
The invaders' goal is to kill the King.


  • Invaders move first, then players take turns
  • You can only move one piece every turn, to a vacant square along its row or column. No jumping over pieces!
  • A piece is captured when it's "sandwiched" in between two enemy pieces, or between a corner and an enemy
  • The King is captured when it's surrounded by 4 enemy pieces, or the board side and 3 enemies (Latter is a house rule.)
  • If you move your piece in between two enemy pieces, it will get captured! (This is a house rule.)
  • Only the King can be put in the middle square. You can jump over it though


  • ARROWS to move cursor
  • Z to select and put down pieces
  • X or put the piece in the original place to cancel the move


  • Heavily, HEAVILY inspired by Pico Checkmate, by Krystman
  • Big font by zep
  • Outline sprite by Liquidream
  • Outline sprint by 24appnet
P#78220 2020-06-18 12:25 ( Edited 2020-06-18 14:10)


Nice! Cool to see someone else's adaption. It's a fun game to remake!

There's a Tafl AI in Mount and Blade Bannerlord, only game I've played with it included. Not sure how it works though.

Have to recommend Tom7's creation of bad chess AIs.

P#78248 2020-06-18 23:15

Well that’s one idea taken off my list!

I like the style and animations.

P#78256 2020-06-19 03:50

Thanks for playing, you guys!

@Munro Wow, I had no idea someone had already made a Tafl game here! Thinking about it now, I didn't check the WIP page for it. Your version is super cool! The 9x9 tafl lets you work with a lot more detail. And the animations are super nice too! I hope you'll finish it someday :)

And I LOVE me some suckerpinch! Probably one of my favorite channels, glad to see someone else interested in it as well :) Tom really doesn't get as much love as he deserves.


P#78278 2020-06-19 11:54 ( Edited 2020-06-19 13:50)

I'm sad to report that selecting a piece as the black player crashes the game. Runtime error line 176 tab 2. Attempt to index field '?' (a nil value)

P#135777 2023-10-12 03:19

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