Welcome to Amtgard!For starters, welcome to the game! Amtgard is a great game with many different aspects and ways to participate. This guide is my attempt to provide as many resources as possible for the beginner. Some of the material here is geared toward women, but the majority of it will be helpful for anyone new to the game or new to the fighting aspect of the game. Naturally, many of the concepts or ideas contained are based on my opinions. If you have any questions of comments, feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
If you are new to the game, it can be really overwhelming. There are rules to learn, strange clothes and weapons to acquire, and everyone keeps using words you aren't quite sure you understand, like "trench" (a type of battle) or "mechs" (baseball catcher's kneepads). There are many resources available on the internet. Your most important resource, of course, is the other players at your park. Most Amtgardians are friendly and willing to answer questions, give you pointers, and explain what is going on.
The first and most important thing to do is acquire a
copy of the Amtgard rulebook and read it. This, the Amtgard FAQ and other
online resources are available at the Official Amtgard site, amtgard.com
in the Publications
section. Once you have read the rulebook, you should go out to your park
and observe a battlegame. Ask someone to show you the basics of fighting,
and practice with them one on one for awhile, this is called sparring.
Weapons, Garb, and Other EquipmentTo really get involved with Amtgard, it is vital to obtain your own weapons and garb as quickly as possible. The sooner you have your own stuff, the sooner you can practice whenever you want to and the sooner you're really able to get involved. Since the local sporting goods store has probably not yet seen the light and set up an aisle for swords and shields Amtgard-style, most Amtgardians make their own. This is not nearly as hard as it may seem, and there should be plenty of people willing to help you out. There are also several "How-to's" available online for weapons and garb. Look in the Publications at amtgard.com for "Amtgard: A Beginner's Guide" and the "How-To's" and also see Sir Squeak's resources on the Emerald Hills homepage.
A quick note on shields: if you have a medium to large chest, you may want to use a shield that has a curve around your body, rather than a flat shield. A curved shield can be held closer to your body and gives better coverage and protection. Trash can lids and toboggans are available with a curve (a slight dome-like curve).
There are also bits of equipment that are not strictly weapons or garb that you'll want to get.
Sports-Bras and Chest Protection
Water or Sports Drinks
Fighting and TrainingYou can approach fighting with varying degrees of dedication. If you want to be an okay fighter, weekend battlegames are great fun. If you want to be an excellent fighter, or a Knight of the sword, you need to be willing to put in a great deal of practice. If you've sparred, and fought in a few trench battles and battlegames, and have your own weapons and equipment, you've got a good start.
Fight with both hands full. Many new fighters start with a single long sword or a single short sword. You'll have more fun and improve faster if you fight sword and shield, or florentine (with two swords). You should get practice with single sword too, especially sparring, but for most melee combat you're better off with a shield or two weapons. If you only have one sword, see if you can borrow a shield or another sword, and get someone to take a moment to show you how to use them.
Don't be afraid to ask someone to show you how to fight. Most good fighters are interested enough to help you, and many of them are excellent teachers, but they won't know you're interested unless you ask.
Don't be afraid to experiment with what you're shown. Some things will work better than others with your body, and no fighting technique is set in stone. Listen carefully to what experienced fighters have to say, and try what they have to show you, but don't be afraid to make changes to what works best for you.
Fight every chance you get. Fight in trench battles, in battlegames, and tourneys. Tourney experience is good experience, even when you lose. It's also a good chance to watch two excellent fighters fight each other in a setting where it's easy to concentrate.
Seek Out The Best. And fight them til you can't stand.
Practice. Many groups sponsor a fighter practice during the week where the emphasis is on practicing and learning. If your park does not, there may be a company or household practice you could ask to attend, or you can ask around to see if anyone is interested in getting together to fight during the week.
Don't get discouraged. Learning to fight is like learning any new skill,
it takes lots of time and practice. It's easy to get frustrated and give
up, but the effort it takes to learn is worth it. All Amtgardians were
new once, and all had to learn from the bottom up, even that cocky Knight
of the sword who just killed you with one blow. Just take a deep breath,
remind yourself that you're learning, and if the scenario allows, ask him
"How'd you do that?" Turn it into an opportunity to learn.
Helpful linksAmtgard.com - The official Amtgard webpage has a multitude of online resources, in particular:
The Official Rules of play, the Amtgard FAQ, Amtgard; a Beginner's Guide, and How-To's.
Sir Squeak's Resources - A collection of resources, including how to make a tunic, wrap pants and cuir boilli, and how to run a basic tourney and a battlegame.
Amtgard Combat - For more about fighting, read Amtgard Combat, a web magazine, in particular the Training section, and "Twenty Tips for Aspiring 'Stick Jocks' " by Sir Vargaard.
House Lionesse A mailing list and household for women fighters in Amtgard.
How to Encourage Women Fighters - An article detailing ways to get other women in your area more involved in Amtgard fighting.
Training and Tactics
This site is owned and maintained by Moogie of House Lionesse and House Morrigan. All works copyrighted Laura Brashear 2000 unless otherwise noted. To request permission to reproduce any works on this website please send email to moogie.