Last year, I participated in the Sable Swap, a kingdom-wide secret gift exchange. You may remember that I made an embroiderer’s kit for my assigned giftee. It was easy to decide what to do because, as an embroiderer, I know what I would love to receive.
This time, though, I got a gentleman with an Icelandic persona, who is into medieval artillery and archery. Uh…
So I decided to make him an embroidered game bag that folds up into a pouch for easy carrying. I did some research on variations of a game called Tafl, which was played ll over the Scandinavian world.
Despite it being a Laplandic variant, I chose to go with a version of the game called Tablut, since it was the best documented. Lapland and Iceland aren’t that far apart, in the grand scheme of the Viking reach.
The board consists of a 9×9 grid, with the central cross being one color, and the Ts at the end of the arms in a different color. The squares are embroidered in chain stitch, and the lines are stem stitch. Everything is stitched in DMC cotton, because you never know when you’re going to have to wash out a spill. (As an aside, I’m not sure what prompted me to choose baby food or 70s appliance colors, but he did say he liked earth colors.)
The defending army starts off in the center blocks, with the king on the middle square. The attacking arms starts on the T shaped areas on the ends. The goal is to either get the king to a corner, or to capture him, depending on which side you’re playing. All pieces can only move orthogonally, or in straight lines.
Traditionally, the king is a taller piece, but I only had these glass pebbles and no time to make a different marker for the king, so I just included a different color instead. I love the way they look all lined up and ready to go.
And when you’re done, the strings pull tight…
…and make a neat little pouch for carrying.
I made the strings long enough to stay in the eyelets when the game is laid out flat, and that means that they wrap around the pouch neck a few times to insure that none of the pebbles fall out. It would tie onto a belt quite nicely, too. I am always glad of diversions during the longest bit of an event, which seems to be between the end of fighting and the beginning of feast or court. I hope Karl likes playing his Tablut game as much as I enjoyed making it!