Mythology classes taught by Danielle Halsey, teacher at Laramie High School (LHS), will begin the Viking chess match on Friday, March 13th.

 

Halsey’s mythology class is currently in their Norse mythology unit. Students have been in this unit for the past two weeks.

 

The class has been reading myths, watching videos, studying the culture, and geography in order to more fully understand the history of the Norse people.

 

According to the Hakai Magazine, Viking Chess match originated from the Norsemen in the early 18th century. However, the idea of the Viking chess match was originally passed on to Halsey from the prior Mythology teacher. This game has been a part of Halsey’s Mythology curriculum for the past four semesters at LHS.

 

Viking Chess is exclusive to students enrolled in Halsey’s class.

 

“I hope that students take away from the game that often times Vikings are represented as these really harsh, blood thirsty people…,” said Halsey. “They were still people who had fun, they stayed up late in mead halls and they played Viking Chess or they told riddles or they just were a very tight knit community and loyalty was very important to them…I hope that by playing it they [students] realize they weren’t just savages”.

 

Throughout the unit, students learn about Viking culture and their constant fight for survival.

 

Originally called Hnefatafl, the Viking chess game simulates a Viking raid, incorporating both the defending and opposing sides. The game has twenty-four playing pieces.

 

In order to win, the defending side must move the King piece to refuge. Or the opposing side must capture the King. This game forces students to think strategically, while allowing them to become more immersed into Norse culture.

 

“It’s just kind of a fun and engaging way to have students play a relatively old game and think about war tactics and how that works,” said Halsey.

 

The class will spend a day setting up the game and learning the rules before playing.

 

A bracket is set up for the game. This allows students to be as competitive or non-competitive as they want. The winner of the bracket will win a gift of their choosing. In the previous years, winners of the bracket have chosen things like Starbuck’s gift cards, king sized candy bars, and Subway sandwiches.

 

“They remember the stories better because they are also having fun,” Halsey said.

 

The game quickly has become very popular.

 

“I enjoyed how fun it was learning more about the Vikings,” said former student, Dawson Evertson. “I would totally recommend this class to future students because of the combination of fun and learning”.

 

Viking chess is the finale of the Norse unit. Upon completion of this unit, students will be studying the Trojan War and ancient Greek mythology. The purpose of the Mythology class is for students to gain a deeper understanding of different people and cultures through myths.