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Dan Perrett





Joined: 11 Dec 2006

Posts: 6

PostPosted: Tue 12 Jun, 2007 8:35 am    Post subject: Which swords?         Reply with quote

I'm developing a card game based on swordfighting and I want it to be educational as well as fun. My question to all you resident experts is: which swords need to be included because of their historical importance? I'm not looking at specific swords, but types ie rapier, claymore etc. i'm working entirely within the development of the sword in Europe - from gladius to epee.

Many thanks,

Dan
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Mikko Kuusirati




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PostPosted: Tue 12 Jun, 2007 1:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Frankly, this question is pretty much impossible to answer without knowing anything about the game setting. I mean, we're talking about thousands of years worth of different eras, regions, cultures and technology levels, all with their own methods and implements of warfare, here.

A brief summary of the context in which the game takes place - how advanced technology do the combatants have access to, does the game model warfare, self defense, formal duels or prizefighting, what kind of style and mood are you going for, etc. - would help a lot. Happy

The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs -- I was a man before I was a king.
-- R. E. Howard, The Road of Kings
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Dan Perrett





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PostPosted: Wed 13 Jun, 2007 12:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The game works as a series of duels - each player has a card representing a sword and maybe an off hand weapon and/or a piece of armour. Each sword has a set of characteristics representing its weight, balance and how it is used (slashing, thrusting, two handed etc) at the moment I am using 20 different swords:
(in no particular order)
gladius
smallsword
schiavonna
rapier
epee
foil
greatsword
Katzbalger
broadsword
briquet
sabre
baselard
claymore (basket hilted type)
flambard/flamberge
Kriegsmesser
spadroon
mace
battleaxe
falchion
mortuary sword
cutlass

I am aiming for a selection that is representative of the devlopment of the sword in Europe and that are all sufficiently different that they all work differently in the game. Essentially, what I am asking is have I missed any important ones or are some of the swords in the list too similar?

Thanks

Dan[/quote]
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Lafayette C Curtis




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PostPosted: Wed 13 Jun, 2007 3:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mortuary swords, schiavone, and basket-hilted claymores sound a bit too similat to each other to get separate entries. The flambard/flamberge seems to be arther unnecessary since wave-bladed weapons don't really seem to perform all that differently from their basic types--regardless of whether this "flambard" is meant ot represent a two-handed sword or a rapier. Now I'm sort of wondering why there aren't any entries for "longsword" and "two-handed sword/bidenhander/zweihander/whatever."

Somehow, I also think that cutlasses and briquets/hangers do not differ sufficiently from each other to merit different categories. Falchions and Kriegsmessers may even be lumped in together with them--or maybe not, if you want to retain the cruciform vs. complex-hilted divide. But in this last case you'd still end up with two catoegories instead of four ("cutlasses/briquets/hangers" and "falchions/Kriegsmessers."

I don't know whether you should add a Grosse Messer category or not. Somebody more knowledgeable than me might be able to answer that. And I might be wrong about some of the above.
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Dan Perrett





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PostPosted: Wed 13 Jun, 2007 4:13 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Lafayette - I think you're right about the schiavonna/mortuary/claymore thing. In general I am more concerned with blade length, blade type and weight than hilt type so:

short/light/backsword - briquet
short/heavy/backsword - falchion
long/heavy backsword - Kriegsmesser
medium/light/backsword - sabre
medium/heavy/backsword - cutlass

short/light/thrusting - epee
medium/light/thrusting - foil
medium/heavy/thrusting - rapier
long/heavy/thrusting - estoc

short/light/double edged - gladius
medium/light/double edged - Schiavonna
etc.

Also - the flamberge has a great mythology about its effectiveness, which is perfect for a game (don't worry, the description on the card will discredit it!)
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Sam Barris




Location: San Diego, California
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PostPosted: Wed 13 Jun, 2007 6:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You may also wish to check out the Petersen and Oakeshott typologies. There's a lot of history you're skipping, and the difference in thrusting/cutting abilities between a X and a XVII (for example) should not be overlooked. Big Grin
Pax,
Sam Barris

"Any nation that draws too great a distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools." —Thucydides
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Dan Perrett





Joined: 11 Dec 2006

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PostPosted: Wed 13 Jun, 2007 6:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Sam - you're absolutely right. I thought the Oakeshott types were merely stylistic - hadn't realised they had different groups by purpose. I'll look into that.
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Craig Peters




PostPosted: Wed 13 Jun, 2007 6:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The main reason why Oakshott's typology is so important is because of the fact that it's not stylistic. Oakshott realized, quite rightly, that it's the blade's shape that informs its function and use as a weapon.
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Wed 13 Jun, 2007 9:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree strongly with Sam and Craig here. Blades are not defined only by length, number of edges, and weight, because blade shape matters a lot. And when you get to single-edged blades you'll sometimes have to consider the presence or absence of a false edge. Oakeshott's system does the classification job very nicely as far as it concerns medieval and early Renaissance European swords.
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Robin Smith




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PostPosted: Thu 14 Jun, 2007 6:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Although I totally agree that the oakeshott typology is very important to any serious student of swords, this game is not aimed at the student of the sword. I think for his purposes it would be easier to sum it up as something along the lines of:

Gladius
Spatha
Migration era sword
Viking era sword
Early arming swords (oakeshott type X-XIV)
Later arming swords (XV-XXII)
Longsword
Bastard sword (I know the distinction between the two is minor, but the term is in popular culture, and it adds diversity)
Two handed Sword
Claymore
Rapier
Smallsword
Messer
Falchion
Sabre

I could think of plenty of others, but this would be the beginning of a simple breakdown that would still highlight how the blade had changed form overtime without unneeded (from the card gamers POV) complexity.

A furore Normannorum libera nos, Domine
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Dan Perrett





Joined: 11 Dec 2006

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PostPosted: Thu 14 Jun, 2007 7:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks Robin, that list was exactly the kind of thing I was after. Could you explain what a "migration era sword" is as well as a "messer"?

Dan
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Bram Verbeek





Joined: 27 Mar 2007

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PostPosted: Thu 14 Jun, 2007 7:51 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

http://www.myArmoury.com/review_alb_mig.html

I entered a review, so you can look at other peoples' findings on how the sword reacts
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Hugh Fuller




Location: Virginia
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PostPosted: Thu 14 Jun, 2007 8:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

To see other examples of Migration Era swords, go to the following link and look at his swords numbered 102, 103, 113, 115, 1117, and 123. The number 102, Roman Riding Sword, is of a type that is found all over Northern Europe in bogs and lakes and is, IMO, an example of an early Migration Era or of a Late Roman Empire spatha. The others are pretty straight forward Migration Era spathae of Germanic origins, however highly ornamented they may be.
http://www.templ.net/english/weapons-antiquit...le_age.php

Hugh
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Please see 1 John 1:5
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Robin Smith




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PostPosted: Thu 14 Jun, 2007 8:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Migration era swords are the swords used in Europe in the "Migration Period"; the era between the fall of Rome and the Middle Ages. It is what we used to call the "Dark Ages". "Dark Ages" fell out of use as the term is somewhat perjorative. They were developed from the later Roman Spatha, generally being double edged with parallel edges runing out to a broad point. Here is an older example from Albion
http://www.myArmoury.com/review_alb_latene.html
The Messer is a single edge sword like this fine example from Albion
http://www.albion-swords.com/swords/albion/ne...soldat.htm
Messers range from single handed examples like the one above to the massive two handed Kriegmessers like this
http://www.albion-swords.com/swords/albion/ne...knecht.htm

Rob

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Robin Smith




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PostPosted: Thu 14 Jun, 2007 9:07 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh, and I am not sure if you know, but I want to stress that when one of us says "longsword" we don't mean the same thing as when games like D&D say "longsword". A "longsword", in the proper sense, is is also what is called a hand-and-a-half sword. Games like D&D often called an arming sword a "longsword", which is incorrect. What was called in D&D a longsword and also what they called a broadsword, are both properly considered arming swords. And bastard swords and longswords are both forms of the hand-and-a-half sword.
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Hugh Fuller




Location: Virginia
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PostPosted: Thu 14 Jun, 2007 9:20 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Robin, what you show is a La Tene Celtic spatha and not a Roman one. An excellent example of a Roman one is the Koln Spatha, one version of which is made by Albion as the "Auxillia." Patrick Barta also makes a superb version which he calls his "Einang Type", Number 119. And, while the Roman spathae may frequently have had parallel edges, that was not always the case.
Hugh
Still trying to walk in the Light
Please see 1 John 1:5
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Robin Smith




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PostPosted: Thu 14 Jun, 2007 9:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hugh, you are absolutely correct. I was working off the top of my head, and generalizing, though I do believe I said they are "generally double edged with parallel edges", not absolutely. Agreedly, the La Tene is too early to be a migration era sword. Sorry for the sloppiness.
The example Bram posted is much better
http://www.myArmoury.com/review_alb_mig.html

A furore Normannorum libera nos, Domine
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Hugh Fuller




Location: Virginia
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PostPosted: Thu 14 Jun, 2007 11:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh, yes. That is a pretty one. I know a couple of people who have them. It is a pity that Albion discontinued it as well as their other Migration Era sword.
Hugh
Still trying to walk in the Light
Please see 1 John 1:5
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Fri 15 Jun, 2007 6:14 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Robin Smith wrote:
Although I totally agree that the oakeshott typology is very important to any serious student of swords, this game is not aimed at the student of the sword. I think for his purposes it would be easier to sum it up as something along the lines of:

Gladius
Spatha
Migration era sword
Viking era sword
Early arming swords (oakeshott type X-XIV)
Later arming swords (XV-XXII)
Longsword
Bastard sword (I know the distinction between the two is minor, but the term is in popular culture, and it adds diversity)
Two handed Sword
Claymore
Rapier
Smallsword
Messer
Falchion
Sabre

I could think of plenty of others, but this would be the beginning of a simple breakdown that would still highlight how the blade had changed form overtime without unneeded (from the card gamers POV) complexity.


Well, this list just illustrates the difficulty of getting a classification system that can avoid redundancies. For example, I can see how the Viking Era swords differ from the Migration Era designs due to their more complex designs and higher quality, but I don't quite see where's the dividing line between them and some of the earliest arming-sword types. Somehow it sounds more natural for me to lump the Vikings together with things up to Type XIII or even XIV. And "Claymore" will bring questions about whether it's referring to the two-handed claymore or the broadsword claymore. And I still don't quite get the dividing line between Messer and falchion...

Maybe it would be a good idea to restrict not just the geographical area, but also the time period--if you choose the 16th century, the 18th, or something like that, then you'll be more likely to find one sword to fit each niche in the classification scheme rather than having to figure out the relationships between types that historically never met each other whether in duels or on the battlefield.
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Robin Smith




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PostPosted: Fri 15 Jun, 2007 11:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Well, this list just illustrates the difficulty of getting a classification system that can avoid redundancies. For example, I can see how the Viking Era swords differ from the Migration Era designs due to their more complex designs and higher quality, but I don't quite see where's the dividing line between them and some of the earliest arming-sword types. Somehow it sounds more natural for me to lump the Vikings together with things up to Type XIII or even XIV. And "Claymore" will bring questions about whether it's referring to the two-handed claymore or the broadsword claymore. And I still don't quite get the dividing line between Messer and falchion...

Although there is little difference in the function of a late Viking sword, and a High medieval arming sword, I would argue that for the purposes of the card game a distinction would be made because of the distinction drawn by popular culture. The sword carried by a crusader of the first crusade and one carried in the early to mid viking period might be similar in function, but aesthetically they can be quite different. By viking sword, I was distinguishing the shorter type X, with for example a lobed pommel and small elaborate cross which is typical of the earlier viking swords, which is quite distinct from a crusader of the first crusade's type Xa or XI with wheel pommel and wide simple cross. Though swords of the later viking period are quite similar to the early arming swords, popular culture draws a distinction, and for the purposes of a card game, I think it is perfectly applicable. As for the difference between a messer and falchion, well I am not as versed in this area, as it is not my primary period of interest.

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