HEMA Game Archive


How the game is played/scored. This should be information about WHAT to do, but please save WHY for the "Design" field.

Additional rules could be added because:
- You've decided that the game is better in every way with the new rule.
- You found a *slight* tweak that makes a small difference in a meaningful way. (If it's a big enough change just make a new game and tag it as a variant of this one.)


Why the rules are designed the way they are. What are the core skills targeted, and possible weaknesses.
Descriptions of the design iterations, failed attempts, or changes in thoughts are also helpful to other coaches.


Notes on what coaches have noticed playing this game with their students.


Video or article links

Finnish Bull

Uploaded by Sean Franklin on 2023-06-01
Tags:   shillhaw | zornhau | rock_paper_scissors | finnish_chicken |


IMPORTANT: This can escalate and be a safety concern, please see Design Notes

Starts with the same framework as Finnish Chicken. Both in right vom tag, and the only attack allowed is a direct attack to the head from the right. Unlike the Finnish Chicken you are allowed, and expected, to defend with an attack to the head of your own.

  • Win: You attack hits the head and they do not hit you.
  • Win: If an opponent's attack misses or falls short. This also includes feints you don't take action with your sword against.
  • Win: If you feint an attack and they parry rather than hitting you.
  • Double hits to the head, or attacks that cancel each other out, are a draw.
Design (added 2023-06-01 by Sean Franklin)

Be very careful when playing this with steel, as if people are new/frustrated they may escalate by just starting to smash through to the head harder. In that case it is best to play with foams, as having people escalate and try to crash to the head harder is part of the game.

Once people get the hang of it the game becomes more about tactics and timing that smashing through with the hardest attack. Being the first to attack has a huge advantage in terms of being able to break through the attack. But it also affords tactical superiority, because if they respond to the disadvantage with parrying instead of attacking you can then start feinting fast attacks to win. Likewise using distance to have them commit to attacking from to far away, and missing, or luring them too close to react to the direct attack, are also good strategies. In my experience they quickly figured out that repeatedly smashing swords wasn't all that helpful.

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HEMA Game Archive
Developed by Sean Franklin
GD4H project