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

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof v2

Uploaded by Sean Franklin on 2024-04-06
Tags:   constant_motion | no_retreat | latteral_motion |


Both fencers are in a a ring that is quite small ( ~ 4m/13' square). They fence with simple rules, such as all targets are one point, doubles are thrown out, no afterblows. Fight to 4 points, or 2 minute continuous clock.

A judge is watching and awarding penalty cards. Yellow card (warning & invalidates fencers action on last exchange) for first offence of the type, red (1 point to opponent & invalidates fencers action on last exchange). Cards are separate, so you can get a yellow on each before any escalation to red card.

  • Ring Out
  • Not Moving*

*Not moving is defined by the body not moving around the ring. If they are in one spot and shuffling their feet it is also not moving. So any parry-riposte where they plant to take the parry, or if they plant prior to a direct attack, will be a penalty.

Design (added 2024-04-06 by Sean Franklin)

The first Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was a specific tool, and wasn't used very often. This version is a really good game for more skills, and is better to use in rotations. So it stole the name.

  • Good training for people who can only defend themselves by backing up. This removes that affordance of defending with distance, and the fencer has to learn to use parrying and lateral motion to keep safe.
  • Good training for people who tend to plant after an exchange has started. They will start to see the opportunities that arise if they keep moving.

This can be done in a ring bigger than the 4m square, however if it isn't very space constrained the game devolves to one chasing the other in a circle rather than both having to figure out how to move laterally.

Note (added 2024-04-06 by Sean Franklin)

In general have the judge ONLY looking for penalties, and instruct them to be quite strict on the penalties for not moving. Normally judges are unsure and don't card nearly enough. And if they are looking at sword actions they don't have the bandwidth to notice the pauses.

Ring outs are more forgiving, and if someone can keep themselves within a foot width of being in the ring there is no need to penalize (as the ring is already so tiny).

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HEMA Game Archive
Developed by Sean Franklin
GD4H project