Grande Tournoi d’Amitie 2011

Really, I think I should stop over-estimating my abilities, it just gets me in trouble.  I think “Eh, that?  I could do that, easy” and then I find somebody actually calling my bluff and I have to put my money where my mouth is (See “War of the Wings 2010” and “Spring Coronation 2011”).  And well, dammit, it happened again.

Grande Tournoi d’Amitie

I had a pretty simple plan: I wanted a lot of fighting without a lot of hassle.  Nothing very complex if I could avoid it, and as much melee as I could cram in.  So I came up with a plan:

TournoiRapierScenarios

There’s a saying that gets trotted out any time the word “plan” is mentioned.  “The first casualty of war is the plan” or something to that effect.

Well it’s bullshit.  If your plan is your first casualty, it’s a weak goddamn plan.  Get a better one.  Have I mentioned I consider project management (which includes RMiCkery) and warfare to be the same thing just run at different speeds?  So I made a plan for the day.  Then I made a rain plan.  Then I reviewed the plan to see what else to add because part of the plan is “We may not have enough people to do X, or Y may turn out to be too much of a PITA to run.”  Then I repeated the review and modify and add on process until I was sure my plan was stronger than the enemy (or in this case the fencers).

And I needed a goat.

How it went down…

First of all, melees started at 11.  Look at that sentence.  Now look at the plan.  Now back to that sentence.  Now back to the plan.  That’s right, an SCA activity started on time.  And I’m on a horse.

With six rapier fighters on the field (including Duke Jason) we set about running grand melees, 2 vs. 2 vs. 2 grand melees, and team vs team round robins, and it was good.  At the end of it, people said, “That was a good warm up!”  “WARM UP?!?!” says I “Perhaps you did not understand you were fighting for points?”  So then they fought it all again.  Not for points.  Then they were really “warmed up”.

We took a quick break, and Duke Jason went off to the heavy field (which took its sweet time starting), and another four fencers showed up so we now had 3 vs 3 vs 3.  And that meant we could run…

VIPs!  Basically, get your commander (or other designated VIP) from your starting point to an enemy’s starting point.  Then we ran it with two teams blocking one team from crossing the field.  Then we ran it with one team blocking one team.

While I rail against the over-complication of scenarios with unnecessary rules or fiddly goofiness, I do love multiple win conditions, and VIPs are one of the easier ways to achieve that.  You can have a strategy using the stated goal of “deliver the VIP” or you can take it as an LMS fight.  Instead of simply “How are we going to kill them all?” tactical considerations multiply exponentially and tactical thinking gets rewarded.  Admittedly, none of the VIP teams hung out near their flag point to see if the opposing team would split up into aggressors and defenders, but I might have given it a try had I been fighting.  This multiple win-condition thinking is one of the facets of the two person, first to the scarf wins drill.

Then it was lunch.  And then…

Capture the Flag

There are two ways to play Capture the Flag.  The usual one, “There’s a flag over there, take the ground around it and hold it,” I think of as Seize the Flag.  I like the “Team Fortress” style, grab-and-run-the-flag games.  So I decided I’d run that at Tournoi.  Each of the three teams would have one flag at their rez, and grabbing an opposing team’s and running it back to yours would get you a point.  To prevent the problem of running in to the rezzing fighters you just killed as you try to go for their flag, there was a 15 second rez cycle (shortened to 10 seconds because of the smallness of the field and the speed of the action).  And that went great.  The problem was the holds to reset the flags.  That broke the action and meant people stood at rez point for longer than 15 seconds because they had to endure the hold, too.  But, I have a solution!

Instead of a single flag at each rez point, get a yard of cheap fabrics and tear it in to 10 or so long strips.  Get 2 more yards of two other, different fabrics and do the same.  Each team has one set of 10 flags at their rez point.  Flags can be moved until captured (taken to another team’s rez point).  Instead of a timed fight, fight till all of one team’s 10 flags are captured.  In the more common 2 team situation, this would still mean you could have constant grab-and-run without holds.

Jugger and Bushkazi

When it comes to sheer chaos on the rapier field, Jugger and Bushkazi (both variants) are pretty much the greatest thing ever.  And since melee tends to be chaotic in the scrum, they’re great training for “real” melee.  Read the descriptions for more details, but, basically, they are this:

Jugger: A “dog’s head” in the middle of the field to be placed on the enemy’s (in this case one of the enemies’) rez point.  One person from each team is designated to carry it, and we ran it as only this person can rez, and then as everybody can rez.

Bushkazi I: Everybody starts on the edges of the field, a “Goat” is in the middle of the field.  Whoever gets the largest piece of the goat back to the edge of the field wins.  I want to run this at Pennsic.

Bushkazi II: 2 poles at either end of the field, goat’s head between them.  Run the goat’s head around the 2 poles, and whoever actually places it back in the center (doesn’t matter if they ever carried it during the run around the poles) wins.  No rez, rez, whatever.

So, like I said, I needed a goat.  And Letia made one for me.  I expected a pygmy goat.  I got a full-sized goat, with detachable limbs and head, and googly eyes, a beard, horns, ears, and a tail.  There will be pictures as soon as she gets them.  It is an awesome goat.  This will have to happen again.  Maybe MATO, but I want to get to fight it.

By this point, people were falling out left and right, and I was well on my way to achieving my goal (“Letia needs a 5 Hour Energy to pick up her sword”  Turns out Letia doesn’t do 5 Hour Energies, but she does do granola bars, so I was willing to alter the goal).  Rory, Miguel, Letia, and Mattheu were still standing, though, so I needed to come up with something else.

Drills!

When in doubt, drill melee.  We ran line fighting, doorway breaking, and charging through a line.  Given that crew, I was confident they could handle the harsher tasks.  Miguel fell out, then Rory, and it was only Mattheu and Letia left, both sweating and red faced, and I thought “Hey, did somebody say brewer’s competition?”  Leaving them under the watchful eye of Percy, I went and found beer and cider.  When I looked back, they were done fighting, too.

After that it was just hiding my cider bottle from the view of the thrones while sitting in the second row of court, Cooley’s, and the deer.

Oh yeah, the deer

Spike bless the War Wagon.  We were heading home from dinner, Letia and I, in a light drizzle.  The road was wet.  It was nearing dusk.  And then there was a deer in front of the car. I swerved around it, and lost traction heading for the shoulder.  I pulled the car back into the left lane, but was then sliding into the median.  Opting for the shoulder, the Wagon, Letia, and I went back to the right, the front wheels caught in the dirt, and the back end came swinging around, so that now we were going backwards down the shoulder.  We went through the dip that served as a drainage ditch, up the other side of it, and were just about stopped when there was a “thump” from the back end.  I got out, and saw that we’d sheared a tree off.  The War Wagon was no worse for the wear, though.  A couple pulled up and asked if we were okay.  I checked with Letia, she was.  I checked with the War Wagon, it was.  I checked with me, I mostly was.  So we started back up and got back on the road and the War Wagon acted like nothing had happened.  No screwy alignment, no odd noises, no nothing (except for the beard of grass around its front bumper.  It got to wear that for a few days to look tough at the other cars on the road).  I love my car.

 

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