Forty Blades: Tournament Play
Forty Blades derives its name from the more arduous and challenging tournament-style of play. Whereas single games never actually see more than, say, six or seven players per team facing off (and therefore no more than 24 or 28 “blades”), tournament play consists of a games series played over a few hours, with each full team consisting of ten players.
Standard organized (and professional) play of Forty Blades follows this tournament style, described hence:
A tournament of Forty Blades consists of six games (or seven, if a tiebreaker game is needed) played in order. Teams consist of no more than ten players, but the amount of active players on the ice varies per each game. Each round lasts a maximum of twenty minutes, and ten minutes are allotted between games for recuperation.
The first game is played with six players versus six players. Two individuals per team may wield seven-foot staves, and may not both simultaneously have advanced past the halfway-line into the opponent’s side of the ice.
The next game is played five-versus-five. One individual is permitted a seven-foot stave.
The next game is four-on-four. One individual is permitted a seven-foot stave.
The next game is played three against three. Both teams must agree whether to field one seven-foot stave or none. The field is usually made smaller in all dimensions for this round and the remainder of the tournament.
The penultimate game is played two-versus-two. Both teams must agree whether to field no staves, or to require both players on either side to use a seven-foot stave.
The final match is a simple duel, and seven-foot staves are disallowed.
Should both teams be evenly matched in the tournament, thus ending with three games apiece, then a seventh tiebreaker game is played. Both teams decide upon the rules, from number of players and equipment restrictions, but neither team can field a number of players greater than the number of able players on the other team (doing so would force a disqualification for the game, and therefore be marked an automatic loss). These tiebreaker games are quite unusual, since they can technically field any number of players and equipment types, should both teams be able to supply such and agree to do so. In this way, for instance, a game could be played wherein ten players are fielded and each wields a seven-foot stave.
If in the event that both single remaining players are eliminated from play simultaneously (a rare occurrence, except in cases where both grapple for too long and are therefore simultaneously “eliminated”), then the game in question may be replayed at the option of one team and agreement of one referee. Only one game per tournament may be replayed, though, so if a similar occurrence happens twice, then both teams agree to a draw, or have their play for the round judged by the three referees, who come to a consensus about the superior team for the round and award said team the victory.
Should play proceed to a game with a player requirement such that one or both teams does not have enough able players to play (i.e., a rough first and second round render seven players from a team unable to play such that the third round’s requirement of 4 able players cannot be met), then the team which can supply sufficient able players is given the win by default. The win is recorded as a perfect victory and the tournament proceeds likewise to the next game that is able to be played based upon standard rules.
As such, for teams and coaches, tournament play revolves considerably more around stamina and resource management. It’s a expectation that some of a team’s players will be rendered incapacitated and unfit to play for a few games or the rest of the tournament (deaths, while rare, are not unheard of), so managing the endurance of your tournament team as a coach is in many ways a game unto itself.