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

Boulder Game

Uploaded by Sean Franklin on 2023-01-12
Tags:   afterblow | doubles |


A normal fencing match with simple rules:

  • You win by getting two clean exchanges in a row.
  • Both doubles and afterblows* are a no-points-scored unclean exchange.

This means a match could be over in two hits, or could go on for a very long time.

*With a real afterblow window that allows for a second attack to be initiated after someone gets hit.

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

This is an alright sparring game if people fight normally, and make a match seem really intense if it goes back and forth. But it really shines if the fencers are aware of the implications of the doubles/afterblows when they are down on points.

At this point it becomes an asymmetric fencing scenario where the fencer down on points has an incentive to hit cleanly (because they go to 1-0 instead of 0-0), but ultimately the risk of losing makes doubling highly attractive. And the fencer up on points is aware of this and has to fight around it.

(Named after Sisyphus having to repeatedly roll the boulder uphill, only be go back to the bottom and start over again before getting there.)

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


  1. Double hit. Score is 0-0
  2. [A] hits, score is 1-0
  3. [A] hits but received and afterblow from [Z], score is now 0-0 again.
  4. [Z] hits cleanly. Score is 0-1
  5. [A] hits cleanly. Score is 1-0
  6. [A] hits cleanly. Score is 2-0. [A] wins.
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HEMA Game Archive
Developed by Sean Franklin
GD4H project