Optimus HEMA Challenge

The vision behind the event

Because we want to offer a fun and challenging experience for all HEMA practitioners – both scholars and fighters – we decided to try out a new and less-traditional event format that includes activities such as a dueling game and a HEMA knowledge quiz, apart from the traditional workshops and lectures that will be held by renowned HEMA instructors; 

We want everyone to get the chance to win something so points earned in the event activities will be exchanged for “prize boxes” containing various HEMA products, vouchers and other gifts offered by the event sponsors. The full list of prizes will be available during the event.

Some tweaks and adjustments to the dueling rules and event structure might still occur before the event.


Activities that offer points: winning matches in the dueling game, providing correct answers in the HEMA knowledge quiz and participating to the workshops, also bonus points may be awarded by instructors during the workshops.

Every player will receive a journal in which they will register event points earned from all activities as well as all duel outcomes (wins, losses, refused matches, forfeits, disqualifications etc.) and match score points for rankings which will be centralized by the Game Masters according to the players’ journals, so please DON’T LOSE THEM. See more about rankings in the “Rankings” chapter.

Each player who enters the dueling game receives at the beginning of the event 11 points.


2 hour time slots will be dedicated to workshops and 5 such time slots will be scheduled so workshops will run in parallel. We recommend no more than 20 participants per workshop; most of the workshops will be held twice, some of them will have two parts, taking up two time slots, either for basic and advanced concepts or covering more subjects that require the split. We recommend that beginner students only attend the basic classes.

Each workshop is BYOW – bring your own weapon, a very limited number of loaner weapons might be available.

Participating in each workshop (time slot) will award 5 points. Instructors may also award bonus points, according to their professional judgement for good performance, interesting questions etc. but no more than 3 points to each person (in a single time slot).

Game Mechanics

“The Challenge” is an open, mixed-weapon dueling game which allows the participants to develop their own strategy, plan matches at their own convenience and judge other players’ matches. The game starts on Friday, after the event opening and ends on Sunday afternoon. It relies mainly on fair-play, honesty, cooperation and the willingness to have a good time

Players will challenge each other to duels and rankings will be made for 4 main weapons: longsword, sidesword/arming sword, rapier and saber, as well as an additional mixed-weapon ranking. If the minimum number of participants is met in each ranking, the top players (by considering won duels & match score points) will be selected in order to compete against each other in the final duels on Sunday, for fame and glory and a symbolic prize.

Detailed rule-sets for conducting duels and scoring with each weapon are published in annex “Weapon Dueling Guidelines

Knowledge Quiz

“The HEMA Quiz” will be held on Saturday evening, location and rules will be announced soon. Expect HEMA general knowledge questions, some weird and funny stuff and hopefully the opportunity to learn something new. Points will be awarded according to the number of correct questions.

Recording results and points

It is the duty of each player to report their progress according to their game journal to the game masters at least once per day in order to create the rankings. See more details about registering duel outcomes in the Weapon Dueling Guidelines”. Example of Journal: