Safe, authentic, entertaining battles.

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guthrie
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Postby guthrie » Tue May 27, 2008 9:34 pm

At Berkeley 2 years ago I legged it off the field in a slightly cheesy manner rather than get killed. I got a few laughs from the public, so I count it as having been successful.



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Postby the real lord duvet » Tue May 27, 2008 10:05 pm

what cleggy said...............

then again your all prima donna's who'd find another hobby if you can't have a real battle in which your skills with a sword and tactical brilliance didn't have an outcome on the result of the battle wouldn't you?



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Postby JC Milwr » Tue May 27, 2008 10:24 pm

Cat wrote:I've only heard the command 'Run for your lives!' given twice, once at Twinwoods as the powder store was torched, and once this weekend when the size of the Corsair contingent was realised by the redcoats and Excise. It does work.


Archers get chased slightly more often. The most memorable time was Barnet, where we were supposed to stop at the barrier, but the billmen kept coming, so we had to hurl ourselves under the ropes!

I have a penchant for being on the losing/fleeing side, it's great fun :)


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Postby Nigel » Wed May 28, 2008 8:35 am

StaffordCleggy wrote:The reality is this. Until we can somehow change the perceptions of the performers (because we are NOT soldiers in any way,shape or form!) the old habits of not dieing or running will continue to exist. Perfomers NEED to get used to the idea that the 'fight' is not soley for their benefit - punters pay a lot of money to come to these events & they EXPECT their money's worth.
If we put on a bad show then simple economics will ensure we don't get that gig again.

Go down to arrows. Go down to gunfire. Run away from advancing/outflanking foot troops.

All this is simple stuff, so why is it so difficult to get these ideas into the skulls of the average medieval re-enactor? As has been stated, we can learn a lot from the later periods so lets do it.
We (Bucks) have been running away for some time now, when required & it's actually more pleasant than lying down waiting to be trodden on or having some fat git fall on you.
We have a surgeon who does the immediate 'post battle triage' show for the MOP's & it goes down very well. I'm even planning to have a side of pork inside my shirt with arrows in it for him to use his tools on (although i want an event with a shower!) although i'll try not to buy the bit with six nipples on it!

Stop thinking the 'fight' is for your benefit - it's not.

Stop trying to 'think like soldiers' (retch!) & start thinking like actors.


what the little man said

Alan would love to but am on a show limited year this year


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Postby Jim » Wed May 28, 2008 9:34 am

StaffordCleggy wrote:Stop thinking the 'fight' is for your benefit - it's not.

Stop trying to 'think like soldiers' (retch!) & start thinking like actors.


I agree with pretty much all you've said, but I think that rather than saying the battle is 100% for the public and 0% for the reenactors, we need to realize that unless the participants enjoy it, they ain't gonna attend the shows, especially given they don't get paid. After all, it's a hobby, not a profession.

I think what we really need is that balance between making it fun for the participants and fun for the public. It's tricky but it can be done.

I think the standard three-push scenario is and has been an attempt at compromise, but it isn't perfect.

Personally, what I tend to do is, if I didn't get killed on the Saturday, I make sure I die horribly on the Sunday. If I die horribly on the Saturday, I try harder to stay alive on the Sunday, but I'll always go down on a good killshot, whatever happens. I tend to act out my injuries too. But like most people, I do occasionally get carried away and might sometimes shrug off a good hit, but I do try not to do it.

I think one thing that can be done perhaps is for commanders and marshalls to make a note of people who consistently don't take their hits, and perhaps sit them down after the battle and give them a gentle sermon. After all, hit-taking is one of the rules of combat, even if it is generally an unspoken one.

I think tagging is a last resort, but it might be interesting to try it one day just to see how it works.


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Postby Man from Coventry » Wed May 28, 2008 9:55 am

Alot of this ground has already been covered within the "How to do Battles better" thread in General history and I'd refer to the comments I made then at the head of Page 9.

The reenactors want a good, meaty, long scrap.

The public want entertainment, deaths, woundings and desertion. In short, a bit of drama.


I'd heartily agree with this and a good well designed script can deliver both, but it requires a bit of effort and good commanders on the field, good group captains - which I'm afraid often isn't there save for a few dedicated individuals such as the ubiquitos Mr Harley, Jim Smith, Ghost.

I'm in favour of a limited application of some form of tagging system, for missile casualties and to run away.


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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Wed May 28, 2008 12:15 pm

I'll run away, at Blore the audience laughed when I did it. I also threw down my glaive when Allan said anyone who did so would be spared, that too got a laugh, especially when I was promptly told to pick it back up again and get back into line. As long it wasn't frezing cold or bloody wet I'd be happy to die in the opening arrow storm. In the ACW group i used to belong to they did the colured golf ball thing, but if you died to the first volley on day one you became invincible on day two and that isn't always authentic.


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Postby guthrie » Wed May 28, 2008 1:23 pm

Coloured golf ball? How does that work then?



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Postby Jim » Wed May 28, 2008 1:31 pm

guthrie wrote:Coloured golf ball? How does that work then?


What Guthrie said.


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Postby Phil the Grips » Wed May 28, 2008 1:32 pm

Same as the cartridge method I described- bag o' balls, draw one at a key moment and react according to the colour.


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Re: Safe, authentic, entertaining battles.

Postby behanner » Wed May 28, 2008 4:44 pm

Marcus Woodhouse wrote:I would like to be more active in making the battles I take part in more entertaining and authentic, while still keeping myself and those around me safe. I had this in mind when I posted about what we know of 15th century battles (from the sharp end).
I don't see why living history should stop in the camp, and I find the battles at present rather dull, and often having no relation to what we know of the real battle.


I would highly recomend going and reading stuff written by American ACW groups on that and related subjects because the period has huge numbers and has a lot if discourse over issues. They have re-enacted battles with more re-enactors then would have been on the field in the 15th century and have developed all sorts of different ideas such as tacticals which are "battles" intended to reproduce the ideas of an ACW skirmish instead of a set battle. From some of the descriptions I've read some of them last the whole day because you don't just line up on the field. Might be harder to do there because yall likely have less unpopulated areas that would be similar to the areas used in 15th century battles. On the other end are events like Gettysburg where 10-20,000 on the "big ones". In 5 years will be the 150th anniversery so I can only imagine how big that will end up being. In some ways it is almost like putting on a play where the units are doing a dance. They have better information then we do on specifics of each unit but we tend to have a general idea about most WOR battles.

But one of the things it comes down to is getting people to decide that is what they want to do. If people want to fight out there competitively then its not going to work very well.



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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Thu May 29, 2008 7:42 am

I've been across the pond for an ACW event and they put our ones to shame. Huge camps with thousands taking part, one of the good things about the "short straw" thing was you were told not to tell anyone else what you had drawn. That meant you might be talking to the fella next to you when a cannon went off and he/she would then "drop dead" beside you-you got used to it after a while but it was always a shock when it happened for the first time at every show. (You also had some great and not so great acting going on).


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Postby Colin Middleton » Thu May 29, 2008 1:00 pm

I've no objection to running away if our group is loosing, provided I've got somewhere to run to! It always feels VERY forced to run to the rope and stop when you reach it. It must look odd for the audience too.

I have a bit of a problem with the death to the arrow storm plan. I like that idea of taking hits and dying well, I'm just a bit concearned that I'll be putting my armour on, marching to the field, waiting around for the go and then laying in the grass for the next hour because I got hit in the first 10 seconds.

Or worse, I die half-way through the battle and spend the next half-hour hoping that no-one will step on me! (ok, given my size, they'll probably see that I'm there, but you see my point).

Do we have a plan for 'reviving' the casualties so you can get out of the way of the battle and have another chance to fight?


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Postby Jim » Thu May 29, 2008 1:14 pm

Colin Middleton wrote:Do we have a plan for 'reviving' the casualties so you can get out of the way of the battle and have another chance to fight?


After each push/section, once the survivors have pulled back, get a big guy in a Death outfit with a scythe to wander onto the battlefield and "collect the souls of the dead", who rise up and follow him off the field. They can then discretely re-join as "reinforcements" ready for the next push. You could make this humourous or sombre depending on how you want to work the crowd, but I'd suggest humourous.

This is no worse than the "raising of the dead" that happens at the end of every battle anyway. Just do a "raising" after each push and the Death character will just help proceedings and remind the crowd these guys have expired and aren't just "getting better" Monty Python style.


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Postby Fox » Thu May 29, 2008 1:37 pm

Good luck with taking these ideas on.

I have tried for a while to get a number of these things to work, particualrly in the battles I ran last year.

I repeatedly suggest that people surrender/flee, rather than fighting to the last man. Generally, it's only the archers that do. I do practice what I preach; I fled the field at Bodelwyddan in April for instance.

I ask for casualties during, and certainly at the end of each push (to be either collected during the pause, or "hoovered up" during the next push. They're not, generally, forth coming.

Nevertheless, I won't stop trying.



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Postby Type16 » Thu May 29, 2008 2:24 pm

I can see a whole line of fridge magnets emerging ........ like
"I came,
I fought,
I legged it!"

:lol:


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Postby Jim » Thu May 29, 2008 2:32 pm

Fox wrote:Good luck with taking these ideas on.

I have tried for a while to get a number of these things to work, particualrly in the battles I ran last year.

I repeatedly suggest that people surrender/flee, rather than fighting to the last man. Generally, it's only the archers that do. I do practice what I preach; I fled the field at Bodelwyddan in April for instance.

I ask for casualties during, and certainly at the end of each push (to be either collected during the pause, or "hoovered up" during the next push. They're not, generally, forth coming.

Nevertheless, I won't stop trying.


Have you tried anything like the tagging system I proposed? If people won't voluntarily die / run away, perhaps it's time to try out a method of enforcing it?


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Postby Fox » Thu May 29, 2008 4:15 pm

Jim wrote:Have you tried anything like the tagging system I proposed? If people won't voluntarily die / run away, perhaps it's time to try out a method of enforcing it?


I haven't, but I think we've not gone quite far enough yet.

Thus far I've been glad that we've been able to get people to follow the script, which has not necessarilly been easy to follow.

We've successfully used some of the ideas I've been proposing for years; the use of drums for signalling, scripts from everyone's own point of view and a story constructed around set pieces.

I'll build on that. I think it requires a subtle culture change, but it's very possible; once people get the idea, they'll do it.



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Postby behanner » Thu May 29, 2008 4:21 pm

Fox wrote: I'll build on that. I think it requires a subtle culture change, but it's very possible; once people get the idea, they'll do it.


I think that probably sums it up right there.



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Postby Jim » Thu May 29, 2008 4:36 pm

Fox wrote:I'll build on that. I think it requires a subtle culture change, but it's very possible; once people get the idea, they'll do it.


You're gonna have to somehow give kudos for acting, dying and running away (collectively "Crowd amusement") and take it away from winning fights and being boisterous.

Perhaps some kind of award for the best death? That was tried at Lulworth Pirate show. The problem isn't the dying bit, which is fun, it's the "being dead for ages and ages", which is boring.

Collecting the dead after every sequence in the script will go a long way to making people feel more like dropping when they're hit. Currently I think the feeling is that you have to survive in order not to spend an eternity staring at the sky and wondering who's going to fall on you next.


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Postby bmht » Thu May 29, 2008 10:14 pm

The Monty Levy have been running away for years !
Especially at tewks where we portray Somersets third reserve on the Lancastrians right hand battle...
he who runs away...


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Postby guthrie » Thu May 29, 2008 11:20 pm

Jim wrote:Collecting the dead after every sequence in the script will go a long way to making people feel more like dropping when they're hit.

Thats been done at a few Fed events and others I have been to over the past few years. I think more people are getting the idea.



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Postby Allan Harley » Fri May 30, 2008 8:53 am

Its good that this is being raised again and the intention is to try more through the season.

At Windsor we will be attempting Edgecote & Tewkesbury - both of which involve plenty of movement, casualties, running away, marching around and general embuggerment for commanders but if people are willing will be great fun.

At Bosworth (just done the final site visit) there will be two battles again
Tewkesbury (with field fortifications), Bosworth itself, plus a finale for certain units.
For these to work again there will be the same, casualties, running away, retreats, guns, archers, skirmishers etc...
Added to this there will be a tourney, but the scoring will be based on the most entertaining/exciting show fight - The winner(s) will have their name put on a plaque/sword that will be displayed at the vistors centre so put your names down now (in pairs please so you know who you are fighting)


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Postby Ghost » Fri May 30, 2008 1:18 pm

Do we introduce the thorny topic of wearing livery colours appropriate to the principle commanders at the actual battle rather than the group you may be in so as to provide the crowd with easier recognition of, using a sporting analogy "teams" ?

sort of home kit, away kit and second away kit

in our current incarnation as Beaufort Companye we have taken the decsion not to portray the Duke of Somerset at any battles where he was not present and therefore are populating our kit boxes with a variety of generic yorkist and lancastrian livery sash/bends such as Edward IV/Richard III blue and murray (Bosworth this year) and generic Lancastrian /Henry VI (blue and white with swans/ feathers)

We are also prepared to "change sides" between York and Lancaster to suit the battle /event and numbers dictates which many, for understandable reasons, are not.

Why spend loads of money on well researched and as near to authentic kit as you can get and turn up to a battle wearing the colours of someone who wasn't there - no authenticity in that and a meter of wool is not expensive


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Postby Nigel » Fri May 30, 2008 1:31 pm

Ghost wrote:Do we introduce the thorny topic of wearing livery colours appropriate to the principle commanders at the actual battle rather than the group you may be in so as to provide the crowd with easier recognition of, using a sporting analogy "teams" ?

sort of home kit, away kit and second away kit

in our current incarnation as Beaufort Companye we have taken the decsion not to portray the Duke of Somerset at any battles where he was not present and therefore are populating our kit boxes with a variety of generic yorkist and lancastrian livery sash/bends such as Edward IV/Richard III blue and murray (Bosworth this year) and generic Lancastrian /Henry VI (blue and white with swans/ feathers)

We are also prepared to "change sides" between York and Lancaster to suit the battle /event and numbers dictates which many, for understandable reasons, are not.

Why spend loads of money on well researched and as near to authentic kit as you can get and turn up to a battle wearing the colours of someone who wasn't there - no authenticity in that and a meter of wool is not expensive


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Postby the real lord duvet » Fri May 30, 2008 1:46 pm

Ghost wrote:Do we introduce the thorny topic of wearing livery colours appropriate to the principle commanders at the actual battle rather than the group you may be in so as to provide the crowd with easier recognition of, using a sporting analogy "teams" ?

sort of home kit, away kit and second away kit

in our current incarnation as Beaufort Companye we have taken the decsion not to portray the Duke of Somerset at any battles where he was not present and therefore are populating our kit boxes with a variety of generic yorkist and lancastrian livery sash/bends such as Edward IV/Richard III blue and murray (Bosworth this year) and generic Lancastrian /Henry VI (blue and white with swans/ feathers)

We are also prepared to "change sides" between York and Lancaster to suit the battle /event and numbers dictates which many, for understandable reasons, are not.

Why spend loads of money on well researched and as near to authentic kit as you can get and turn up to a battle wearing the colours of someone who wasn't there - no authenticity in that and a meter of wool is not expensive


that's why half the artillery groups don't wear livery. (KO and 1471 aside)
gunners go at the end with more room or at the side that needs it and therefore can't have kit that fixes them to one side or the other (or even so it looks like we're shoot our own team)



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Postby Fox » Fri May 30, 2008 1:47 pm

Nigel wrote:
Ghost wrote:Do we introduce the thorny topic of wearing livery colours appropriate to the principle commanders at the actual battle rather than the group you may be in so as to provide the crowd with easier recognition of, using a sporting analogy "teams" ?

sort of home kit, away kit and second away kit

in our current incarnation as Beaufort Companye we have taken the decsion not to portray the Duke of Somerset at any battles where he was not present and therefore are populating our kit boxes with a variety of generic yorkist and lancastrian livery sash/bends such as Edward IV/Richard III blue and murray (Bosworth this year) and generic Lancastrian /Henry VI (blue and white with swans/ feathers)

We are also prepared to "change sides" between York and Lancaster to suit the battle /event and numbers dictates which many, for understandable reasons, are not.

Why spend loads of money on well researched and as near to authentic kit as you can get and turn up to a battle wearing the colours of someone who wasn't there - no authenticity in that and a meter of wool is not expensive


A superb stance


It is; of course with the understanding that most troops probably didn't have livery as such.



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Postby Cat » Fri May 30, 2008 5:54 pm

Could some kind soul post up a short list of generic colours for Yorkies and Lancs groups on here? (Not 'yeh, red and white you numpty', I mean generic colours as may have been worn at major battles).
While I'm not keen enough to make new liveries, the idea of topping ones own colours or plain fighting kit with a generic sash or ribbons def'nit'ly has legs.

Jalea- you just like being chased, confess! Anyhoo, following this last w/end you are a poky-stick person too, so there. :P

This is a really interesting discussion...I can't be the only person who is getting bored of the 'I'm da best cos I fumped loadsa people and didn't die' fighting? Hamming it up for the crowd is much more fun. Interspersed with fumping, naturally. :D


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Postby Marcus Woodhouse » Sat May 31, 2008 4:27 pm

I thought the English livery that the Fed expect groups belonging to it was meant to be a second strip? I really don't want to have to make a Yorkist and lancastrian livery coat as well. Come to think of it I have a Yorkist badge and a Cross of St. George on my jack, maybe it would just be a Lancastrain one I'd need. It'd be cheaper if we were allowed to just wear a generic livery badge, one of the pewter ones that are easy to pick up at markets.
Perhaps if enough of the people who post here do vote with their feet (in a manner of speaking) as Fox suggets it would persuade others to follow suit.
It would be a shame if the ideas that have been mentioned were dropped just because they were tried before and didn't work then. In fact I'm going to look out for special lightweight weapons from now on in order to run away even faster.


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Postby StaffordCleggy » Sat May 31, 2008 5:28 pm

The issue of wearing inappropriate liveries is an old one, but one that needs talking about all the same.
As Marcus points out, the cost of several different coats can be somewhat prohibitive however we can make bends in the generic colours for relatively little money. This would solve all the problems in one go.

Cheap & easy to make, and gets around the inbuilt adherence to wearing your own liveriés all the time.

I'm going to buy some murray & blue wool and make some bends for us.


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