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

Direct To Riposte

Uploaded by Sean Franklin on 2023-09-16
Tags:   parry_riposte | direct_attack | self_scaling |


This is a Direct Attack variant. The Attacker starts a distance away from the Defender, and both are stationary standing in a guard. (Both Vom Tag works best, but this can be altered to suit what you want to train.) Like in the Direct Attack it is self scaling, and the Defender should move closer after every round they win, and further after every round they lose.

  1. When they are ready the Attacker launches a direct attack to the Defender, who will attempt to parry.
  2. Whether the parry succeeds or not, the Defender will then try to hit the defender with a follow up attack.


  • Initial attack hits (Attacker win), but so does the afterblow: Attacker Win, 1 points
  • Initial attack hits, afterblow does not: Attacker Win, 2 points
  • Initial attack does not hit, riposte does not hit: Defender Win, 1 points
  • Initial attack does not hit, riposte does hit: Defender Win, 2 points

Play to 5 or so points. (It is important to have a point cap, or else having the different scoring levels means nothing.)

Design (added 2023-09-16 by Sean Franklin)

This is meant to be a riposte game, though it will also train the recovery of the attacker.

The biggest difficulty in designing riposte games is that they are secondary actions, and over-rewarding the riposte tends to make the initial parry scenario start to get weird and unrealistic. Constraining the initial attack with the direct attack game is the best option I've come up with thus far. Because if you let the initial attacker do whatever they want, and they know the other fighter is focused on the riposte, they will attack in weird ways that wouldn't normally make sense.

Likewise the defender still needs a strong incentive to parry the initial attack, or they just make it an afterblow game. Yet the initial attack can't succeed to often, or there isn't a lot of riposte training going on.

to Wat?
HEMA Game Archive
Developed by Sean Franklin
GD4H project