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

Tower Defense

Uploaded by Sean Franklin on 2021-12-08
Tags:   chain_attacks | defend | feint | fitness | latteral_motion | parry | defend_the_wall |


In Tower Defense you have two roles. The first is a single person selected to be the [Tower], (aka the attacker). Everyone else is a [Mob], (aka the defenders). The [Tower] will be constrained to only move in a certain area, and a channel* will be created that the [Mob]s must move through while being attacked by the [Tower].

When a [Mob] gets hit they will loudly yell "good". As soon as the current [Mob] calls out, the next [Mob] in line will start their run. If any of the [Mob]s makes it through the channel within the time limit the mob team wins, if the [Tower] manages to stop them all the tower wins. If you have enough space/people you can have two teams going head to head, with the "captain" of each being the tower defending the other team's mobs. First team to make it through wins.

Note: for safety reasons the mobs must face the tower at all times, and may not turn away in order to run through the channel faster. This also means that they are constrained to move laterally while defending.

*The exact geometry isn't important, and will likely depend on your training space. The important part is there is a narrow stretch that the mobs must run through while being attacked by the [Tower]. The channel should be narrow enough that the mobs are forced into attacking distance of the [Tower], but wide enough they aren't standing on top of each other. Typically leg shots are banned, but if you have a wide enough channel it can be fun to mix it up.

(added 2023-03-22 by Sean Franklin)
Design (added 2021-12-08 by Sean Franklin)

The most important advice that can be imparted on the mobs is "the faster you move, the less parries you have to make" If they can't manage to move at high speed while parrying they will have no chance to make it to the end. In addition the direction of movement is laterally, which is something that doesn't come up as often in terms of directions to escape to.

Much like the mobs are working on defense while moving, the tower is working on attacking while moving. Because they really want to tag the mobs out quickly they must figure out what the most effective attack patterns are, and how to not get their sword stuck in between attacks. 

Note (added 2021-12-08 by Sean Franklin)

On top of all of that Tower Defense is an excellent conditioning drill, as they are basically running, cutting, and parrying the entire time.

It's also a good reward if the mobs have a target to kick as the signal they have made it to the end.

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HEMA Game Archive
Developed by Sean Franklin
GD4H project