Warfighter!!!!!?!!!!WTF!!!!!BBQ!!!!11!!!!   3 comments

Er… so the title may seem a weird intarwebs typo-laden spew-fest (this blog is entirely devoid of intarwebs typo-laden spew-fests) but, this past weekend was WARFIGHTER! (which, I’m told, is the correct way to type the name of the event).  WARFIGHTER! could also be called King’s Assessment of His Armies But Not in Black Diamond, or just, hell, Assessment.  So let’s call it that.  Because I don’t want to waste my interrobangs until I get the next shipment in.  What does one do at Assessment?  Learn stuff, especially about melee, and I think many, many lessons were learned, not all of them the intended lesson.

His Majesty Is Correct

Few kingdoms (if any) are more monarchistic than Atlantia, which leads to a mandatory reverence for everything Himself should suggest or request or, as is more often, order.  Even the rapier community, which could be considered the least monarchic community in Atlantia (“You won a tournament six months ago?  Good for you, you must be proud, I’ve done that before, too.  Oh, wait, you think you’re in charge because of that?”), grudgingly cedes its judgment to His Majesty every now and then. This was then, this was now.

His Majesty wanted his armies, on both the rapier and the armored field, to practice two maneuvers: Bringing a line to engagement, then sliding the entire line to the left or right to gain access to a flank; and countering this with a wheel in the direction of the slide to bring the attacked force onto the attackers’ flank.  In 211 posts (since January 2009, which is 124 weeks.  Damn, we’re almost the Twice Weekly Warfare) on the Warfare, I have discussed many different tactics and strategies to use upon the rapier field.  I have never discussed this.  I have never even considered its use, because there are two horrible horrible things wrong with it:

  1. Yielding access to your flank by sliding your entire line, WHILE ENGAGED WITH THE ENEMY, is tantamount to suicide on the rapier field.
  2. The correct response is not to WHEEL and engage with only the end flank, the correct response is to donkey-punch the entire enemy line.

There was some grumbling among the rapier fighters at practicing two patent screwups.  Especially since there were a good half dozen egos there that were pretty damn sure they knew better (mine at the top of that list).  We drilled it a few ways, getting more and more frustrated at this artificial and pointless maneuver, and grumbling louder and louder.

Lily did a good job of reminding us of our duty, though (there’s a reason she’s a Marxbruder).  Not so much that it was to His Majesty, but that it was to the new fencers intermingled with the big egos, and that us grumbling and being cranky didn’t help them learn anything, even if it was an imperfect lesson.  We ran it eight times or so, pretty much right until the RMiC pissed off Lily (she’s a better person than me, but she’s not a saint).  We attempted to execute the drill in way X (because we’d been doing Mirror-X), the opposing team broke the drill and countered with Y, which prevented our execution.  The RMiC then smugly advised that “Well, then you should have executed the drill in manner Mirror-X.”  He then proceeded to advise that we should run Mirror-X next time, instead of X, since we’d “only been running X.”  When your better angels have to mask up to hide their look of liver-devouring anger it’s time to take a break.

Capture the Flag

Next we moved on to playing capture the flag.  The field was basically a square, with rez points at the Southeast and Northwest corners, and the flags at the Northeast and Southwest corners.  NW rez was protecting SW flag, and SE rez was protecting NE flag.

We played a few times, swapping rez points, until everybody was done (meaning it was hot, and we were already cranky, and it was time to take a break).

The team starting in the SE had tendency to push north, past their flag, in defending it, which then exposed their flag to access by anybody cutting in from the SW flag.  The difference between a win and loss in the first one was whether or not Alric stopped to DFB the defenders in this position, or just grabbed it and ran (it was a loss for us).

Hold the Flag

Next we moved to three vs. three “hold the flag” fights, with a stationary flag (cleverly disguised as a tree).  The original plan was to fight it wounds and deaths retained, and keep a constant flow of fighters going in.  I like this sort of set up (we ran it at Tourney of the Lily, too) as it better replicates holding ground in a melee fight (being weakened more and more, dispatching attackers before they get reinforced, etc).  What we ended up doing, though, was 3 vs 3 with nothing clever like that.  3 would fight 3, the winning team would stay in (all wounds and deaths healed), and the next 3 would try.  This meant that if there was a stacked team (say, Dante, Armand, and Mattheu, or Alric, Wistric, and Lily) the other teams only got trained in how to accept losing graciously.  We were promised this would result in lots of fighting, but there were holds and resets and lay-ons between each fight, rather than the constant fight of the original plan.  Additionally, it wasn’t clear, initially, how the tree was captured or what that meant.  Eventually, I decided to just reinforce the team attacking (because I was bored) and called others to come with, and then once the tree was captured started ordering other fighters in to attack my now-defending rabble, and the outcome was the original plan and all that joyful chaos.  Once I was out, we sent fighters in to the Defenders or the Attackers, but as this role switched back and forth (“I was attacking, now I have the tree, so now I’m defending”) it got confusing.  We should have just been “on X’s team” or “on Y’s team”.  But that was a small bit of confusion in the grand scheme of the chaos.  Sweet delicious chaos.

Door Breaking

The last technique to practice was breaking killing cups: the Pennsic town battle promises to need this pretty often (unless, you know, it’s ended in the first 30 seconds) and it’s always a good idea to have the cannon fodder Scholars trained up in these techniques in case they’re needed.

We set up a killing cup of the scholars one one side, the Free Scholars and Dante on the other, and the FS proceeded to annihilate the killing cup.  This was, per the RMiC, so that the Scholars could learn what to do.  Then, we switched sides so that Scholars could exercise what they’d just learned.  And the FS annihilated them again.  So then the RMiC gave them unlimited resurrections, and they beat their heads against our killing cup for a good long while.  At one point I got legged, and from that position could take a more relaxed view of the Scholars’ line, so I started ordering them around, telling them what to do.  We pretty quickly identified that the ideas of pushing and pressing, and of sweeping and entering, and the use of mechanical advantage (short people at the wall to sweep, extend blade to sweep, etc) were not in most of the Scholars’ repertoire, so we set about training time.

Afterward, Jason “Blue Guy” of Kappellenberg said “I learned more today about sweeping blades and fighting doorways than I learned at any other practice, I just wish we’d done that first.”  So he’s going to teach cup-breaking at Thursday practice (Remember, “first one to speak is in charge”).

Blacksword Tourney

We closed out the fighting with a Blacksword Tourney.  My first bout was Armand, who has given me some trouble in the past.  So I one-shotted him, and told him that was for Night on the Town (where he one-shotted me in his Free Scholar prize and in the Blacksword Tourney there).  I made it to the semis, where Alric killed me (Bastard!  I totally was going to throw a stesso tempo attack to draw his stick parry and catch his sword on my short sword, ride it in, and kill him with my short sword.  I just missed the “catch his sword on my short sword” part).  He lost in the finals, barely, to Dante.

Ruskie Don’t Take a Dump Without a Plan

This is a personal mantra, which, as personal mantras go, is a little sad, but screw it, we can’t all have “Gosh darn it, I’m worth it!”  As I’ve gone on and on about on this blog, plans are Important.  A little, at least.  And the biggest take away I have from this weekend is mostly about planning.

There’s been a lot of bitching on this post about the RMiC, and some similar quantity of bitching outside of this post.  But really, there were three people involved in any foxtrotting with Charlie that may have happened.  The leadership from the Provost General wasn’t very clear (“Run capture the flag and door breaking”), so the requirements for the day weren’t well established.  His Majesty’s intervention really cut down on the resale value of the training, too.  The RMiC, being the guy who was nice enough to not run away screaming when the autocrat went looking for a volunteer, is only partially responsible.  But we can all still learn from these three people making mistakes.

Conventions: Should be explicit, clear, and minimal.

Win Conditions: Should be explicit, clear, and multiple (this last is just a personal preference, because in melee there is more than one way to skin a cat).

Etta the Pirate Cat is unamused by my word choice

Teaching: Should be done BEFORE practicing the techniques.  Assessment should be for training the trainers who will train the army, not an attempt to train the army, because you’ll just never get the entire army, or even most of it, at an Assessment, no matter how many exclamation marks you put in the name.

And meanwhile, my conscience gets to rest easy

Were I a lonely lost black sheep staggering about the wilds of Freescholardom, I’d be wrestling with principals and conscience on a matter that came up.  But I’m a cadet, which means I got to kick that shit right up the paygrade, so I get to go fight people and let my Provost worry about such things.  Why does nobody else do this?  This is awesome.

Posted June 14, 2011 by wistric in Events

3 responses to Warfighter!!!!!?!!!!WTF!!!!!BBQ!!!!11!!!!

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Pingback: Giovan

  2. Pingback: Marion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *