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Jugger California rollin

Hello, fellow Juggers! We’re the co-instigators of Jugger California, and we’re overjoyed to have this opportunity to introduce our colorful group to the Jugger-verse.

How did we get started?
We were introduced to Jugger by Pink Pain back in 2009---Valkyrie was on an academic exchange in Darmstadt for a few months, and saw some people doing weird stuff in a field. Later in the summer, Evan came to visit and got hooked, as well.

Five years later, we finally decided to make two sets of pompfen. We didn’t really have much to go on: some old Australian rules we’d found online plus some German pompfen specs, all referring to mythical materials like “20 mm PVC” that had to be translated into Imperial measurements. In true Berkeley fashion, we decided to break with post-apocalyptic tradition and go for bright neon colors:

Soon thereafter, we had our first game! With just seven attendees, we had enough for a stone counter and two teams of three.

What rules do we play by?
As one of the more recently formed groups out there, we introduce a lot of new players to the game. For us, the goal is to get newcomers playing within 5 minutes! Our quick explanation goes something like this:
  1. overall objective: skull in opposite goal;
  2. combat 101: 5 stones for a hit, head is 5 stone penalty, hands on sticks don’t count;
  3. combat 102: doubles, pins, 8 stones for a chain hit, chains can’t pin, chain hands aren’t protected, 2-hand vs. 1-hand weapons;
  4. qwik/skull movement: qwiks drop it when hit or throw it just before, sticks can bat it, qwiks can wrestle each other
  5. any questions?

...and that’s it. As players keep coming back, we gradually explain some of the nuances: out-of-bounds penalties, chain live vs. dead, no Florentine/Q-tip double pins, etc.

For our regular practices, we don’t keep score or track 100 stone halves---we just play until we’re Juggered out! This may change as more teams pop up around the Bay Area (hello, San Francisco!) but for now it suits our “get as many people playing Jugger as possible” approach :-)


In the 21 months since the fateful day (OK, two weekends) that we built our pompfen, we started an on-campus group at the University of California, Berkeley (called the Ursae Majoris), competed in our first tournament (the 2015 Mile High International in Denver), brought Jugger twice to each of two games/art festivals in the Bay Area (Come Out & Play Festival, and Figment), and hosted our first local game day (featuring the Riot, the Ursae Majoris, and San Francisco’s Juggernauts)...and with rumors of at least two more groups possibly starting later this year, we’re on track to become the next big Jugger hub in America.

We’re also a very creative group! Those of you who stuck it out to the rainy end at MHI 2015 will remember the Blood of Heroes (a beety, bright red ale), which several of our players helped brew. We have the infamous peace-symbol shirts, Jugger weapon cookie cutters, Photoshopped event images for our special sessions (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas), a featured Instructable about our weapon construction, and some special surprises for our first international tournament appearance later this year. ;-)

The 2015 MHI was a pivotal moment for our group (thanks to the Colorado Jugger League for organizing!). We came back with heaps of tips on pompfen construction, training exercises/games, and in-game strategy---many thanks in particular to the Dropbears and Wild Geese for picking apart our gameplay and making some excellent suggestions for improvement!

For the future: we’d love to see a group in the South Bay, as several of our players currently take the hour-long drive up to play with us. We’re planning a trip to the Swedish tournament this year, as well as the 2017 tournament in Australia. Play-wise, we’re slowly incorporating more and more of the training games we learned at 2015 MHI, while keeping the bulk of our practices centered around playing the game itself.

Stuart Shaw on upcoming Jugger TTG

Stuart, creator of the upcoming Jugger TTG soon coming live on Kickstarter (facebook link), was so kind to tell us a bit about himself.

Stuart ShawHow did you get the idea of a Jugger TTG?
I have been designing my own skirmish style game system for the last 20 years or so. Initially I was hoping for a more medieval / fantasy battle style game but as it progressed it showed that it was more suited to a smaller scale skirmish type of game. When I started playing Jugger I wanted to learn how to win. It was really clear to me that, even though I maybe ok in the duelling I had to learn the team tactics and strategy.
So I created a miniature Jugger field and made some player tokens so that I could start forming strategies.
It was then that the spark of inspiration hit and I started to blend my game system with Jugger!! I showed it to the other Juggers here in Australia and they loved it but it was still very rough and needed lots of work. But all the Juggers got in behind it and helped make it a reality.

Does the scale the testing and participation of the Jugger community surprise you, did you hope for it, and is it according to your expectations?
I have been totally amazed at the Jugger community. I don't think I have ever encountered before a community that have been so passionate and enthusiastic about their favorite sport and hobby. I was expecting that it would take a year to prepare, but with the Juggers involved Jugger TTG is ready to launch in under 6 months!

Since when do you play Jugger?
I have been playing Jugger since 2014. I wanted to play to practice my Arnis skills, so I was intent on becoming a dual short specialist. But an injury meant that I had to keep with a double handed pompfen. When I am duelling 1 on 1 I like to use the q-tip ... but when playing I prefer the long sword. As I have discovered recently I also am a good qwik because the Australian rules have a strong wrestling component to start a point.

Do you have a team, team name?
We are the Highland Dragons ;-)

Did Tai Chi somehow help you in Jugger, parallels etc
Tai Chi has the Jian sword form, so yes it has helped. But I have also trained in Arnis which has also helped. Add to that all the other weapons training I have done as well including Wushu staff.

Do you plan to take part in tournaments, and do you plan to travel with your TTG abroad?
Absolutely! If the Kickstarter campaign goes well we plan to visit all the Jugger over the world and make new editions and expansions! Maybe a Swedish expansion ;-)

Where to meet you or folks with test-playing boxes (of the finished game) abroad?
As mentioned, we plan to visit the Juggers personally. If all goes well we hope to be in Ireland for their tournament and for the DM as well.

Plans for the future in Jugger?
I would like Jugger to become a household name in the world of Jugger and also a highly recognized and loved game for tabletop gamers across the world. What we have on the planning table is to do 2 releases of new players every year based on the current top players and tournament winners across the world.
Somewhere down the line I would like to have good resin miniatures of the main heroes and maybe even look at a Jugger digital game for ios or pc.
We can hope and dream yes?

Thanks Stuart!

... try the game on Tabletopia now

"I am Jugger" documentary crowdfunding

"I am Jugger" is the upcoming documentary prepared by Alejandro Asensi Barbera. He currently raises funds through IndieGoGo to realize this quite impressive sounding project, which should become very international:

I am Jugger follows Jugger players all around the world and will share the lives of these young athletes; their impressions and styles of play, capturing the passion they feel for this sport and show the differences to other major sports and the activity in different countries like Spain, Germany, Ireland and United States. We travel with a select group of jugger players to the World Tournament in Berlin, where they will try to win the ultimate prize in this relatively unknown sport.

We will see different explanations of the rules, styles and strategies used by different teams, and follow them as they train and prepare for games together.

(Just a word of warning, IndieGoGo seems to think that eating processor time through shiny app overload is a good idea).

Greetings from Transylvania to all juggers!

(I am indeed writing from the already stereotypic vampire-land; Of course do not imagine us playing Jugger near some creepy castle in the mist :-) )

This intends to be a very late report on the beginnings of Jugger in Romania. Here is how it all happened. Once upon a time a lonely fighter of these lands had an adventurous journey full of threats through the unknown. Finally he arrived to the land of the fierce Germans. He learned from them a unique and magnificent art of fighting which they called Jugger. He was so impressed that - as soon as he arrived home - he gathered the most trusted ones from his order and shared his experience with them. All of them being brave - and intelligent of course - took his words seriously and agreed that starting to practice Jugger is the only right course of action. So they did.

I could write of course that in 2012 a young fellow from my town (Tirgu Mures, in German: Neumarkt) attended a youth camp in Marienberg and behold, they played Jugger in there. Arriving home, he and his friends started playing. At first they used PVC pipes with a single layer of insulation and no proper padding at the ends. About a year later, however, after discovering the English translation of Uhu’s book, proper pompfe were crafted, with considerable advice of a couple of guys through the international jugger forum. As time passed, new players joined, boys and girls alike, most of them being between 14 and 20 years old (although now we have 20+ members, including myself, ancient 44-year old father of four team-members...).
We are playing according to German/Berlin rules, with very few differences. We also make our pompfe according to their way. We call ourselves „Second Cubs” and our coat of arms derives from our city’s old coat of arm (armoured hand holding a sword with a bear's head and a crown on it), with slight modifications, including the switching of the role of the human with the bear’s. :-)

<Image: Coat of arms>

Until now - as far as we know - we were the only team in the country, so we did not participate in any kind of tournament. (Of course one day we might visit tournaments in Germany...) Interesting enough, we recently met a friend from a city nearby, Cluj (Klausenburg) willing to establish a team. He saw Jugger on the net but had no idea that we are playing it. We just had our first common Jugger-day today. (Photo taken there.) I really hope this marks the beginning of a real growth of Jugger in Romania.

<Image: Juggers in Klausenburg>

Till then, we are playing regularly – weekly – and enjoying it a lot...

Uhus Jugger Tutorials started

UhuAfter reading questions where one could find tips how to play the shield I decided to do a little tutorial series myself. So now I can proudly present the first issue of Uhus Jugger Tutorials: Basics of Pompfen making. Because before you can play the shield, you mostly will have to make one ... Part 1:

  1. Introduction – some words on the background.
  2. Basics of Pompfen making – just some general thoughts on the materials used to make Jugger spars.
  3. The Shield – two different designs, strap and wooden grip, and basics about how a shield is made.
Part 2:
  1. Introduction.
  2. Basics of playing the Jugger shield: Stance.
  3. Holding the shield.
  4. Holding the short sword.
Oh and sorry for my English folks, I am quite focused on Swedish at the moment – I nevertheless hope you enjoy the videos!

Complete playlist, all parts including shield fighting basics.

Jugger rules revision: Take it easy!

Since the German Jugger rules will soon undergo a revision and rule changes voting, I would like to offer some basic thoughts on the sport and its rules.
Sorry in German, due to lack of time for translation. Many projects currently at hand.

Jugger - Regelwerk: Ein Kommentar Anläßlich einer wohl anstehenden neuen Abstimmung über und der Überarbeitung des Juggerregelwerks habe ich meinen Kommentar zum Juggerregelwerk um eine Sektion ergänzt. Grund sind die immer wieder auftretenden Diskussionen um Regelveränderungen zu kleinen, oft in der Praxis reichlich irrelevanten Fragen (Beispiel Spielfeldbegrenzungen: ob ein Fuß 20 cm weiter vorne, nämlich auf der breiten Kreidelinie, oder nur dahinter stehen darf, ist für die Schnelligkeit der allermeisten Teams wohl eher gleichgültig).

Hier ist der Abschnitt:

Item. Vom Geist des Jugger

Weniger Normen bedingen eine höhere sportliche Herausforderung.

Jugger leitet sich von einem Endzeit-Film ab. Läufer müssen sich auf die unterschiedlichsten Schädel, alle Spieler auf die verschiedensten Feldlinien – hier präzise mit der Markiermaschine gezogen, dort verwackelt mit Mehl oder Flatterband – jedesmal neu Einstellen: Der mangelnde Standard ist hier kein Mangel, sondern eine willkommene Herausforderung an Flexbilität und sportliches vermögen der Spieler.
Dies kann der Schlüssel zur Lesart der Regeln sein, um den einzigartigen und offenen, gleichwohl sportlich fordernden Charakter des Jugger zu erhalten.

Mehr Eigenverantwortung bedingt höhere Fitness.

Selten führt eine stärkere Kontrolle zu einer höheren Bereitwilligkeit, fair zu spielen, und selten führt sie zu einer bessern Stimmung – und die Stimmung ist im Jugger keine Worthülse, sondern ein wichtiges Charakteristikum dieses Sports. Wo anderswo Mannschaften für ein Turnierspiel zusammentreffen und danach heim fahren, ohne mit einander gesprochen zu haben, wird im Jugger nach einem Turniertag gefeiert, man
sitzt zusammen und tauscht sich aus. Man lebt das Ideal des Sports an sich. Zudem ist ein Juggerspiel schwer zu überschauen (siehe 5. Die Schiedsrichter).

Der Schlüssel liegt also darin, eine Balance zwischen Kontrolle (Pompfencheck, Schiedsrichterzahl und -eingreifen) und Freiheit (eben: persönlicher Verantwortung) zu finden. Persönliche Verantwortung und Fairness läßt sich eben nicht durch Repression erzwingen, stattdessen verführt letztere zum Abladen der Verantwortung auf Dritte (»Der Schiedsrichter ist schuld / hat es nicht gesehen«), zur Suche nach Lücken und Regelfuchsereien, was wiederum zu mehr Regeln und höherer Repression führt.

Ich denke, wir brauchen keinen Rüstungswettlauf im Jugger. Locker bleiben!

Verständigkeit bietet eine Lösung für Randfragen.

Im Forum werden gerne Grenzgebiete und oft Eventualitäten diskutiert: Es könnte doch eine die Kette so führen, es könnte doch einer seine Langpompfe so bauen, es wäre doch möglich, sich durch die Fußspitze auf der Linie einen Vorteil beim Anlaufen zu verschaffen.

Anstelle zu versuchen, jede nur mögliche Regeldehnung abzudecken, bietet sich hier doch eine ganz einfache Lösung an.

Wir haben den Anspruch an uns, vernünftige und verständige Menschen zu sein. Wir spielen kein Zuckerpüppchenfußball, bei dem sei es der dramatischste Fall oder das lauteste Aufheulen nach einem Streicheln mit der Fußspitze am Knie einen Vorteil erjammert, sei es ein gerade wegsehender Schiedrichter dem feigen Spieler eine Gelegenheit zur Körperverletzung verschafft.

W i r     s i n d     J u g g e r.

Deswegen können sich zwei Teams beim Auftauchen von Grenzfragen im Spiel zusammensetzen und sich verdammt noch eins einigen. Ist eine grenzwertige Spielweise für das eine Team gar nicht hinnehmbar, dann verzichtet das andere Team darauf. Fertig.

In diesem Sinne! Bleibt locker. Habt Spaß. Gewinnt euer Spiel.

Uhus Regelkommentar kann hier als PDF geladen werden.

Jugger videos around the world

A clip about team Verracos / Universidad de Murcia

Nice recruitment video from Australia

And the great folks from the Wasteland -- really close to the movie

Also, Linus has done an excellent piece again: