Coghanese Sporting: Forty Blades
A sport that has grown to commonality as Coghan endures its population boom. Players play with skates on ice, in an elimination-style sparring game. Players are eliminated from play if their head or shoulders touch the ice, and the last team that has players in play is victorious.
--A standard team consists of ten players at maximum.
--The number of players on a team may be between six and ten (but less players presents a disadvantage, especially in tournament play).
--Blows may not be delivered to the head, neck, spine, or groin–intentionally or otherwise. Infarctions may result in the elimination of the offending player.
--A player is eliminated from play when their head or shoulders touch the ice
--Grappling is disallowed except in cases where two players need to extricate themselves without touching the ice. Such bouts may not be exceedingly lengthy, else both players may be subject to elimination
--The team who ends play with at least one uncontested player in the arena is victorious.
---[Should the final two players eliminate each other simultaneously, the result is a draw. In tournament play, both teams may agree to re-contest a drawn game, but only one game in the tournament may be restarted this way, and only if both teams agree].
--A standard game sees six players against six others. Once a player is eliminated, there may be no replacements or substitutions until the game ends.
--Any player who leaves the bounds of the arena is eliminated.
--A seven-foot stave (or Seven Stave). Up to two players per team may be equipped with a seven stave, and rules will change as tournament matches continue. Blow infarctions (strikes to the head, neck, spine, or groin) with the Seven Stave will result in immediate elimination by the offending user. A Seven Stave may not be used in tandem with any other on-hand equipment
--A four-foot club. Any player may use one or two clubs in play. Blow infarctions (strikes to the head, neck, spine, or groin) may be punishable if severe or repeated, but are usually permissible if accidental and non-severe. A club may be used in tandem with an ice axe.
--An ice axe. Any player may use up to one ice axe. One player per team may use two ice axes simultaneously. The use of ice axes in striking or pulling on the legs, arms, or torso is strongly discouraged, though permissible if accidental and non-severe. Most often, ice axes are used to increase mobility or to trip opposing players.
--Ice skates. Each player wears two ice skates, and each has a metal blade that allows fluid, low-friction movement along the surface of the ice. Blows or injuries intentionally made with the skates will result in an immediate elimination of the offending player.
--Leather helmet: padding meant to cushion errant blows against the cranium.
--Leather greaves: padding meant to protect the calf muscle, shins, and thighs of players during play. The front of the greaves may contain iron strips to protect against blows to the shin.
--(Optional): protective cup
--(Optional): leather gloves
--Steel chain (varied use): in more niche games of Forty Blades, steel chain may be used, often as a three-foot length usable as a replacement for a club or ice axe. It may also be used in a standalone fashion. Steel chain is intended to trip opponents by stopping or snagging their skates. Strikes with steel chain usually result in immediate elimination. Steel chain is becoming more common in use, though official tournaments have not yet implemented them.
One point is earned for every eliminated opponent. Points are scored in a level-out scheme, where the team that trails in score sees their points scored reduce the leading team’s score by the according amount. In this way, a tie where all players are eliminated is depicted as 0-0, even though both teams eliminated six opponents. A perfect victory, in which one team eliminates all six players of the opposing team and suffer no eliminations of their own, would be a 6-0 game.
The arena is a regular 100-foot square of sufficiently unmolested sheet ice, usually atop a lake or glacier. The ice must be at least eight inches thick, and the thickness of the ice is measured at all four corners of the arena.
A variety of maneuvers exist to eliminate opposing players. Since eliminations occur when the player’s shoulder(s) or head hits the ice, tripping is most often the preferred method of elimination. As such, most blows are targeted at the legs and skates, which constitutes the use of excessive leg protection.
Seven Stave users enjoy the advantage of far reach and consequently larger inertial force upon impact. Sweeping with the larger stick at an opponent’s skates or ankles is an effective form of deterrence, and sufficiently wide sweeps oftentimes generate enough force to trip and eliminate opponents.
Clubs, due to their short length, tend to be used less for pulling and hooking, and more for wearing out the resilience of an opponent’s legs. Sufficiently strong club users can, though, occasionally trip and eliminate players.
Ice axes are used majorly for gaining short spurts of movement when one is otherwise immobilized or incapable of moving their skates sufficiently far to relocate, by means of hooking the ice a few feet away and pulling oneself towards it. Axes are also used to reduce the turn radius of a moving player, especially at higher speeds. Axes see high use in eliminations, though, since their shape allows for “skate hooking” in which an axe is hooked into an opponent’s skate to manipulate and trip the opponent.
Steel chain is used similarly to axes in regards to elimination–used against opponents’ skates, they prove very effective. Particularly intelligent players may hook one link of the chain on the end of an ice axe and use the axe to increase the distance to which the steel chain can be swung.
Players that intentionally enter play with an open off-hand find that the available hand can be used to effectively push opponents or stop/catch weapons or blows coming their way. Equipment can legally be wrested from its original owner and used to effect, so long as it is returned after the game. The exception to this rule, of course, is the Seven Stave. Furthermore, if an ice axe is acquired by a player already using another ice axe, who also is playing on the same team as another player using two ice axes, the player who wrested the opponent’s ice axe is eliminated. Recall that only one player per team may hold two ice axes at once.