Haithabu is named after an important trading settlement located at the southern end of the Jutland Peninsula (on what's today the border of Denmark and Germany) that the Vikings used from the 8th to the 11th centuries. Its location on the Baltic and North Seas and on the trade routes between Scandinavia and the Frankish Empire led to goods from around the known world — such as the Baltics, Baghdad, and Constantinople — being traded here.
The subject of constant wars and changes of power, as well as the progressive Christianization of those in the north, Haithabu — known as "Hedeby" in English — had a rich history that ended in 1050 when the Norwegian king sacked and burned the town in a conflict with Denmark.
As Vikings, players trade with all the known world while also living through the changes and dark days at the end of the Early Middle Ages. In the game, players take turns performing individual actions on an action rondel, and what's most critical in the game is the timing of the actions because in each round each color of action can be selected only once. Players must react to market price changes and event dice that can cause complications.