Mass Melee

This page is a web rendition of the rule-set for ease of use, our web masters will try to keep it updated and accurate to the official rules, but in the event of discrepancy, the most recent dated PDF of the rules are king. In order to help alleviate this concern, the last full update of this page is: 09/18/2023. Rules are subject to change at any time. If there are concerns about whether you have access to the current rules, please inquire.


Throughout history, capturing the colors of an opposing force was a mark of bravery and
success. Not letting the colors fall was, therefore, a highly important task on the battlefield. So
long as the company banner was held high, morale and organization could be maintained. This
was so important that it was non unheard of for routed or overrun units to nail their colors to a
tree such that they would not fall, before making a triumphant last stand. Or running for dear
This tournament is meant to reflect that. Your unit is your club (or whoever you hired on with).
Your colors are your club colors. As a small band of soldiers, its your job to keep them aloft,
while taking the other side’s. This is meant to replicate small unit tactics with more cohesion
than “count 1, 2, 1, 2” from past years.

How to Win

You win if:

  • You successfully capture the other team’s colors while you retain yours.
  • The other teams colors fall to the ground while yours remain standing
  • The other team has no remaining fighters (which usually means one of the first to objectives have most likely been met).
  • The other team has fewer fighters than you at a time-halt.

You lose if:

  • The other team captures your colors.
  • Your colors fall to the ground.
  • You have no remaining fighters.
  • The other team has more fighters than you at a time halt.

You tie if:

Upon sight of a successful win condition, a halt will be called. However, in the flurry of a fight this may be delayed. Protect your colors until that halt is called.

  • Both colors hit the ground or if colors are traded.
  • Both teams are out of fighters. (Try not to double!)
  • Both teams have the same number of fighters at a time halt.

Upon A Tie:

If no fighters are left standing, a fighter will be nominated by each side from all fighters. They will fight in single combat until the first valid single hit.
If there is a tied number of fighters, the champion selected will be of the remaining fighters. This includes the standard-bearer.
If only the standard-bearer is left standing on each side, they will fight in single combat until the first valid single hit.
All single combats will be fought without a shield. All other rules apply.

Team Size:

Your team should generally consist of members of your club. Minimum team size is 10.
Maximum is 20. There will be no adjustment for undersized teams. If you are 10 vs. 20, better
hope you can take 2-3 for every 1 of yours. You may recruit from clubs too small to field their
own team.


You may cajole, persuade otherwise work to convince fighters to your team, up to a total of 20.
Bribes in the form of money, booze or equipment are not permitted, however historical.


Your colors must be on a pole a minimum of 4’ tall and less than 7’ tall, or otherwise visible above most of your team. Overly long poles may be rejected. The colors themselves (that is the flag, banner, streamers or whatever else you choose)
should match your club and be large enough they can be seen in a melee. Remember, the
colors represent your club’s honor, they should look the part.
The pole may be wood or plastic. Metal poles, due to risk of damage to swords if struck, are not
permitted. Brittle materials, such as glass, are also not permitted, for those of you who like to
find holes in rules. The judges reserve the right to deny a pole for being unsafe. Also prohibited
are sticking flags on fencing weapons. A spear or pole-arm may be used for the pole, but cannot
be fought with.
All teams, regardless of being a single club or 20 random attendees, must have a banner.


Protective Equipment:

Full long sword tournament kit is required. This includes, but is not limited to, shin guards, knee
protection, athletic protector, jacket, gorget, mask, back of head, elbow/forearm protection
and long sword-rated gloves.


All weapons up to and including longsword are permitted, provided that the weapon can be
held with a longsword rated glove. This is true even in baskets. While this rule may seem
excessive, understand that you may have to hold your banner aloft. No one wants to remember
they had a soft glove on with a broken finger. Greatswords are not permitted. The line
between “longsword” and “greatsword” is blurry, and shall be under 5’ long and weighing less
than 4lbs.
Impact weapons are not permitted. That includes, but is not limited to, maces, flails, axes and
non-spear polearms.
Spears with shaft up to 7’ are allowed. With the head, overall length should be less than 8′. Overly long spear heads will be rejected. The spearhead must be rubber or similarly flexible material. Spears, regardless of having either a traditional spearhead or something roughly spear like (glaive, partisan) may only be used in a thrust. The haft or butt may not be used in striking. Polearms with clear striking heads, such as poleaxe trainers, are not permitted.

Back Up Weapons:

Cold Steel or similar daggers are permitted as back up weapons. Metallic weapons are not permitted as back up daggers, regardless of length. Swords and sword-like-objects are not permitted as back up weapons.


Shields up to 36” in diameter are permitted. Shields may be wood, plastic or steel. Wood or thin
plastic shields should be edged in a durable material to avoid splintering. If you are not sure if
your plastic shield requires an edge, edge it. Aluminum, as is popular in the SCA, is not
permitted. Shields are for defense only, and may not be used to strike.
Heavy gloves must be used with all shields. Attacks may come from weird angles, meaning
hands that are typically protected in one-on-one combat may not be. Even if the hand is inside
a basket, a heavy glove is still required.


Elements of armor, regardless of coverage, will be treated as unarmored.

The Fight


Fights will last 5 minutes. At the end of 5 minutes, halt will be called.
The faster we go through fights, the more you fight. Treat on deck like a normal tournament.


One person will be designated standard-bearer at the start. Teams will line up at a fixed
distance. On a whistle blow, fighting will commence.

Valid Hits:

For the purposes of this event, any hit struck such that it is felt is valid. If you’re not sure, take
it. The next hit may be harder. The only quality requirement is you felt a sufficient impact to
realize you were hit. To this point, you do not need to swing like a home-run derby. Excessive
force is grounds for ejection.

Striking From Behind:

If you are behind someone, you may not strike them except a flat across the butt. This includes spears. Do not thrust someone’s butt with a spear, instead use the haft. A drawing motion is permitted to help fighters notice.

When you are Hit:

If you are hit, call out dead and place your weapon on your head. Back out of the fight and
leave the arena at the nearest area. Stay alert and do not turn your back to nearby fighting.

Back of the Head Hits:

If someone is struck on the back of the head, fault will be assigned and the offending fighter
ejected. Note the definition of fault: While in most cases, the fault will be assigned to the
striking fighter, in some cases the fault may also be assigned to the fighter hit. In rare cases, all
fault may be assigned to the fighter hit. This is to cover cases where a fighter turned at a time
when a blow could not be halted, and they had reasonable reason to expect to be hit.

Striking a Judge:

Don’t. Regardless of root cause, you will be ejected. However, any further penalties will be assessed against the specific situation. A judge may be deemed at fault due to their own lack of situational awareness. If so, no further penalties will be assessed.

Standard Bearer:

The standard bearer may change through the fight. If they are struck, they must drop the
banner immediately. Hopefully, someone notices. Whoever picks up the banner before it hits
the ground is the new standard bearer.
The standard bearer is allowed to defend themselves with the pole However, they may not
strike. This means a meisterhau type action is not permitted. Static parries only.

  • If the colors hit the ground, they are “dead” and may not be picked up.
  • If a weapon or shield hits the ground, they are “dead” and may not be picked up.
  • If a person hits the ground, a safety hold will be called.


A whistle will signal start, hold and end. If you hear a whistle, stop immediately. A call of “hold”
or “halt” will also signal a stop, but due the size of the event, whistles are preferred. If everyone
suddenly stops, it’s best you do too.

Prohibited Actions (not otherwise covered):

Grappling is not permitted. Punches, kicks, and any other striking actions are not permitted.
You may not try to yank the opposing team’s banner from the standard bearers hands. Use
your sword and stab them like a civilized person. Attacks delivered with a leap, charge or similar
is not permitted. Exercise common sense, if you’re brain goes “this is probably a bad idea”
then… don’t do it.


  • Teams are 10-20 people, and should generally be from the same club
  • You may recruit mercenaries, but may not pay them (money or otherwise)
  • Single life fights, you win if their banner hits the ground or you capture it
  • All weapons up to and including longsword, plus spear, permitted provided they are
    wielded with a longsword-rated glove
  • Spank people when behind them… with your sword
  • Do not hit a judge
  • Do not hit the back of the head
  • Again, do not hit a judge
  • No grappling or dumb actions