Facts about Viking Games and Sports

Here are some of the key facts about the sports and games played by the Vikings.

What games did Viking children play?

  • Viking boys spent much of their free time playing at war. They fought using wooden swords so they couldn’t hurt each other too badly.

  • Children played a bat and ball game called ‘Kingy Bats’, and they also played with dolls.

Did the Vikings play board games?

  • Yes they did! One of their favourite games was called hnefatafl. This was a game for two players. One player took charge of the red army, and the other player moved the white army. Hnefatafl was a bit like a cross between chess and draughts. A wide range of different types of boards and pieces have been found by archaeologists. Some were of exceptionally hight quality, with elaborate carving and decorations, whereas others were little more than grids scratched on a stones.
  • The Vikings took their board games very seriously and they often resulted in violence!

What sports did the Vikings play?

  • Viking men often proved their strength and toughness by taking part in wrestling matches.
  • They also enjoyed competing in rowing and swimming races.
  • In the winter, the Vikings went skiing, sledging and skating.

Other Viking Games and Sports

  • The Vikings set up fights between their best stallions. People would bet on the outcome of these horse-fights.

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