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

1 Attack, 1 Defense / Knight vs. Peasant

Uploaded by Jack Gassmann on 2023-01-24
Tags:   deceptive_distance | seeing_openings | grapple | strategy, | tactics, |


Game has a defender and an attacker. The attacker gets one motion with the blade in which to score a hit on the defender, the defender is only allowed one motion with the blade as defence. If a player uses their one motion they can regain their motion by breaking distance. The defender can score a point by getting chest to chest with the defender or within grappling range.

Attack Criteria: The moment the attackers blade crosses the 90 degree line it is considered an attack or the moment the momentum is arrested. Effectively this means that feints like shoulder twitches are ok, making half of a cut to one side and then pulling it and going to the other side is not.

Play this game in 5-10 minute blocks and bring people back to discuss their observations and decide if the attacker or defender has the advantage in the game.

Design (added 2023-01-24 by Jack Gassmann)

The purpose of this game is two fold.

1.  Effective tactics to land a hit with your first strike.

2. Teach a lesson about how our perceptions limit us and that a parry can be as offensive as it is defensive. 

At first defenders will be pretty cowed and very passive, as the game goes on you should see the defender get surer and surer in their parries and start punishing the attacker for sticking around after their strike. Eventually the Defenders will realise that it is a much smarter idea to rush the attacker and parry as they close the distance. DO NOT TELL THEM OR LEAD THEM TOWARDS THIS. It is important that the defenders figure this out themselves. While the game is always useful the most valuable thing it can do is teach fencer the importance of seizing control of the fight and fighting on their terms no matter if they think they are disadvantage or not.

Note (added 2023-01-24 by Jack Gassmann)

Depending on how adaptive the fencers are, getting the stage of the defender seizing the initiative can take 30-90 minutes of play. Make sure you are bringing them in regularly to discuss findings.

to Wat?
HEMA Game Archive
Developed by Sean Franklin
GD4H project