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

Jump In Game

Uploaded by Sean Franklin on 2024-05-11
Tags:   shillhaw | counterattack | preparation | feint |


Similar setup to Direct Attack, however instead of an attack line there is a jump-in line. The Initiator starts behind the jump-in line, which is located far enough away that they won't be able to succeed with a direct attack. The Responder must wait for the Initiator to cross the jump-in line before they can move.

  • The Initiator gets two actions. One must be done as they cross the jump-in line, and the other must follow immediately after. eg: (1) passing step in while cutting into the centerline, and (2) step forward while driving a winding thrust, or (1) feint followed by (2) zwer to the other side.
  • The Responder gets one action. eg: Waiting for the Initiators second action and trying to parry it, or cutting against their first action to interrupt it.

The Initiator wins by landing a scoring action. The Responder wins by not getting hit. If the Responder attacks into the Initiators action and hits them before they have started their attack for the second action the Initiator can not attack again, and the Responder has won. Each action is about one step, but it is not rigid so long as people aren't trying to do multi step leaps for a very slow single sword action.


  1. If the Responder jams the swords together and it inhibits the Initiator from following up with a second action because they are stuck it is considered as blocking the second action. If the swords are are in contact the Initiator can continue to apply forward pressure without it being considered a second action.
  2. If the Responder bites on the first action of the Initiator they have spend their action and can not parry the second one.
Design (added 2024-05-11 by Sean Franklin)

The Jump-In game was designed after some discussion of tournament footage where some fencers were crossing into measure dynamically with an action that took their opponent off guard, and then proceeded to work off their reaction. The key point was how do you approach while offering enough of a threat they can't easily hand snipe, and also be able to react dynamically against how they chose to deal with your aggressive entry.

What I didn't expect is this worked really well to encourage people to do counter shillhau cuts to suppress the Initiator before they could follow up into a more unpredictable and dangerous second action. And we started seeing a RPS of feint beats parry, single time counter beats feint, parry as an entry beats single time counter, and waiting to parry is best if they come in defensively.

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HEMA Game Archive
Developed by Sean Franklin
GD4H project