Rules of Safe Sword Tag
These are the basics of Safe Sword Tag, the celebrated rules by which we fight and play with each other in the Realm. These rules are meant to unite us through swordplay by allowing us to both vocalize our own and respect the boundaries of others. Play creates empathy and creates joy. Follow these basic rules to help you play with your friends and family in a way that respects each other!
Tap, don’t swing
It is no fun to play against someone who swings instead of tapping. It hurts! And makes it harder to find people who will want to play with you! If someone vocalizes their discomfort or asks you to check the strength of your swings, pause and put yourself in their shoes to ask yourself if your taps have possibly been swings.
If your blade makes a “woosh” as you tap, then you are actually swinging. That sound is the cardboard cutting through the air at a rate so fast that it is hard to control and more likely to hurt a friend.
Ouch! Ouch! Just as it is no fun to fight someone swinging hard with their sword, it is no fun if that swing is to face, fingers, or toes. For this reason, the “hit zone” is from below your collarbone to your knees and extends from wrist to wrist. Anything above the collarbone does not count. Anything below the kneecaps does not count. Your fingers do not count.
Call yourself out
With the most epic death ever! Maybe you fall to the ground, with your sword thrust between your arm and your body, and with dramatic last words directed at … a tree. Whatever you wish to do! You can throw up your hands and say “You got me!” You can bring a fake gravestone along and clutch it in your hands as you fall. Do whatever epic death suits you most! Make it fun for you and for your opponent!
We all want to play people who call themselves out when we tag them. Be that person who calls yourself out when someone tags you fairly. It is no fun when others keep saying, “but I tagged you! I got you! I got you! Why aren’t you calling yourself out?” Think about how hearing that makes you feel and how it makes someone else feel if you are the person saying it to them.
… and beware of BATTLE BLINDNESS!!! The most feared enemy of them all! It can strike both foe and ally and swiftly consume an entire battlefield. Should you ever start to feel its threatening loss of control, stop play, raise your hands up above your head and call out, “Battle Blindness”. Other ways of stopping play to recognize battle blindness include, “Woo friend, are you okay? Do you want to take a breather for a moment?”, “I don’t feel comfortable fighting anymore and want to pause until we are both in a space to keep playing”, “Lets both pause and reset”, and “This fighting is starting to feel to real. I want to stop for a moment.” As a player, when you hear these words – or a variation on them, pause play, step back, breathe, and check-in with your fellow fighters. Ask both yourself and others if the fighting has gotten too real.
Once all players are comfortable again and vocalize that they are ready to continue, you can resume the fight!
As you fight, think about if what you are doing is fun for everyone involved and not just for yourself or for your team. When we are all having fun together, we want to keep coming back together to fight and play. If it is fun for just a few players, most likely not everyone is going to want to keep playing.
All of these rules summarize to the 2 most important *unofficial* rules of camp: be safe and be kind!