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 Chicken's Beak

Uploaded by Sean Franklin on 2023-01-12
Tags:   seeing_openings | thrust | finnish_chicken |


This is a variation on the Finnish Chicken.

Both fighters can move around and change guards freely. The only scoring actions are thrusts.

  • You get to launch one attack*. If it hits you get 1 point, if it fails to hits your opponent gets 1 point.
  • If you are able to parry your opponent's thrust and land a thrust of your own within the next action you get 3 points.

Play until someone gets 3 points. 

* your attack is defined by the step to instigate. You can extend your sword to threaten if you want, so long as you don't step forward with it. In theory you can thrust at their hands as many times as you want if they are dumb to leave them extended.

Design (added 2023-01-12 by Sean Franklin)

While this is similar to the Finnish Chicken the targeted skills are much different. While the original Finnish Chicken is about recognizing when the right time/distance to attack is, this is about recognizing what is and isn't an opening to attack into. Frequently when starting this game almost every attack fails until they start to get smarter about recognizing what is a valid opening. And how to use feints (sword or body) to influence what openings are available.

The parry-riposte super win condition is mainly about getting people to try to do more realistic parries instead of huge panic reactions.

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HEMA Game Archive
Developed by Sean Franklin
GD4H project