The Sword Tag Club prepares students for battle.
Every Saturday at noon, the Sword Tag Club meets up the Bagley Nature Area and prepare for battle.
“We get foam swords and fight each other,” the president of the club Chuck Hartman said.
The Sword Tag Club began after Adrian Quilling, the founding member, played with a sword tag group in Hudson, Wisconsin, and thought it would be a cool idea to bring sword tag to Duluth.
Their meeting typically runs from noon to four, but they can go longer or shorter, depending on the weather.
“Two weeks ago when it was really nice,” Hartman said, “we were out there for probably six hours, just having these really big, drawn out battles.”
Hartman said that a lot of people think that they are live action role playing, LARP.
“LARPing has magic and health points and experience and leveling,” Hartman said. “In sword tag, there’s none of that.”
The battles consist of different game modes that they play, like free-for-all, capture the flag, search and destroy, and a boss battle. Free-for-all, where every player fights against others and capture the flag plays exactly like it sounds. While search and destroy and boss battles are played a bit differently.
Search and destroy requires players to get into pairs and then go fight other groups. When someone is “killed,” they join the group that killed them and eventually it becomes two large teams wandering through the woods trying to hunt each other down.
Boss battles are a little more complicated. There are two teams, one is the “players” while the other consists of a boss and his minions. Hartman calls the game mode a “classic video game setup,” where the objective, two flags, are placed in the boss room and the players have to retrieve the flags to win.
Each player gets three lives, represented by rubber bands that they put on their left arm, which is where the heart is located. The boss, however, gets five lives while the minions get an unlimited amount of lives.
The players can also win by taking out all five lives of the boss, as well as taking both flags to their designated safe zone. The boss cannot move out of the boss room until one of the flags has been captured, while the minions can roam free as they please.
Hartman describes the combat as “simple combat.”
“If you get hit in the arm,” Hartman said, “that arm is now lost for the rest of the game unless you are revived. You put your arm behind your back to signal that it’s lost.”
If someone loses both of their arms, then they are considered “dead.” There are no headshots, but getting hit in the back and in the chest and torso area are fatal blows.
Getting hit in the leg requires that the player walk gingerly and are not able to apply weight to the leg. However, you do not die if you lose both your legs The player now has to walk on their knees or squat depending on the weather.
For weapons crafting, there are specific regulations that each player must abide by. For instance, no sword can be longer than 50 inches from hilt to tip, which is considered in-standard. Anything longer than 50 inches is out-of-standard and can only be used on special occurrences or during a boss battle because both bosses and minions can use out-of-standard weapons.
Sophomore Noah Hitchen, an officer in the club, thinks that weapons crafting is a great way to express themselves.
“You can design your weapon however you want,” Hitchen said, “and you can fight however you want.”
Although it might seem tricky to get started with building a weapon, Hartman believes that it is quite simple.
“You get a long thing of PVC piping or wood dowel,” Hartman said, “and you put foam and duct tape on it and that’s basically all you need to do.”
To Hitchen and Hartman, the Sword Tag Club feels more like family than it does a club. A lot of the people within the club hang out outside of the club. They go out to eat with each other, talk about life, and sometimes go to Adventure Zone and play laser tag.
“It’s a very tight knit community always open to more people,” Hitchen said.
The Sword Tag Club meets all year round, including winter and anyone is welcome to come anytime.
“If you’re free and not doing anything Saturdays,” Hartman said, “I think it’s a good way to spend your time.”