Previous page  The Kingdom of An Tir


January, A.S. XXXIII Edition


By Richard Bullock le Tigre


This January A.S. XXXIII revision of the Kingdom of An Tir Book of Boffer is the result of a number of changes made to both the way children’s Boffer contests are conducted throughout the Kingdom and to a number of the rules regarding Boffer itself.

The rules for Boffer contests are now maintained by the Kingdom Marshallate, allowing Pied Piper to do what they do best, organize activities and tournaments for the children and to allow the marshals to do what they do best, maintain safety and continuity in children’s Boffer contests.

This edition of the An Tir Book of Boffer would not have been possible without the efforts of those persons and groups who assisted in laying down the groundwork and the rules for the first edition. People involved include HLS Little Bear, Master Baron Siegfried the Immane, James Torgelson, Explorer Post 814, The Armourer's Guild of An Tir, Mike Wilson, Students of Snohomish Freshman Campus, Lady Kat Atte Crouch, HLS Katrine Garnet, Master Wilhelm the Far Traveler, and Olaf Bjarnarson (and computer).

My thanks to all that have supported boffer as it has evolved in the Kingdom.


Yours in Service,

Richard Bullock le Tigre, Yeoman





A word from the Kingdom Deputy for Whalebone and Boffer

The purpose of this handbook is to provide safe guidelines for Whalebone and Boffer activities and contests. I am deeply indebted to Yeoman Richard Bullock le Tigre and Master Baron Siegfried the Immane for their efforts in

writing this edition. To everyone who contributed and provided input, my profound thanks.

Our youth are our greatest resource. Helping them participate in SCA related activities should be our number one priority. Every effort should be made to educate parents and make them comfortable with their child's

participation in Whalebone and Boffer Activities. Parental participation is crucial to its success.

Finally, the Kingdom of An Tir Book of Whalebone and Boffer continues to evolve. Your input is welcome. Please feel free to communicate your comments and suggestions to me directly. I can be reached at (360) 793-8862 or My mailing address is Deborah Brown, 904 Pine St, Sultan WA 98294.


Yours in Service to An Tir,

Viscountess Callista Balgaire




"Whalebone and Boffer contests teach respect for yourself and others. Whalebone and boffer teaches sportsmanship, discipline, and self control, but above all, it teaches chivalry."

–Olaf Bjarnarson, First Edition Book of Whalebone And Boffer

Part I

Marshallate Structure


A - Certified Senior Boffer Marshal (18 + years old):

  1. Train other Boffer Marshals.
  2. Inspect equipment prior to the opening of the lists.
  3. Train contestants, if applicable.
  4. Assist or authorize contestants.
  5. Settle disputes over equipment or contests.
  6. Possess a current copy of the An Tir Boffer Book of Contests.
  7. A senior Boffer Marshal shall take an active part in training new Boffer Marshals, and should be appealed to when there is a question about required equipment or a new boffer (before it is appealed to the Boffer Marshal in Charge or his/her representative for the contest). Senior Boffer Marshals are encouraged to compete and/or learn as much as they can about boffer contests and equipment.


B - Certified Junior Boffer Marshal (15 + years old):

  1. Assist in the training of Boffer Marshals and contestants (as required).
  2. Assist in equipment inspections.
  3. Assist as a field Boffer Marshal.


C - Certified Apprentice Boffer Marshal (12 + years old):

  1. An apprentice Boffer Marshal is anyone who has exhibited an interest in being a Boffer Marshal; all Boffer Marshals must start at this level first to gain the skills to advance.




  1. A Boffer Marshal's job is to see that no one is hurt or injured in the contest and that all the safety rules are obeyed. If there is a violation of the Rules of the Lists, equipment regulations or other principles covered under Duties of a Boffer Marshal or the sections on Boffer Marshal of Contests and Enforcing the Rules, the Boffer Marshal should file a report to the King's designated representative.
  2. The Boffer Marshal must be prepared to act upon his/her own initiative and judgment. He/she must be able to fulfill his/her duties, acting with neither fear nor favor, to insure the following:
  1. Rules of the Lists are obeyed
  2. Field safety is maintained
  3. Proper equipment is used
  4. Contests are fairly and properly conducted
  1. A Boffer Marshal should be thoroughly familiar with the Rules of the Lists and Kingdom standards.
  2. The Boffer Marshal must be certain the contestants know that all rules pertaining to boffer and that they understand and agree to abide by them. This can be easily accomplished by having a brief meeting with all the Boffer contestants BEFORE the contests start.
  3. If a contestant repeatedly appears to disregard blows or to disobey the rules of HONOR and SAFETY, the Boffer Marshal should stop the contest and select a senior Boffer Marshal to assist. The Boffer Marshal should point out to the contestant the appearance that he/she is giving to those who are watching the contest before the Boffer Marshal allows the contest to resume. This often eliminates further infractions. There may also be additional observers for any contest if either contestant requests it.
  4. A Boffer Marshal should be prepared to stop a contest at any point under the following circumstances:
  1. An infraction of the rules
  2. Danger to either of the contestants or the spectators
  3. When one of the contestants has called for a "Hold"
  4. When one of the non-combantants on the field call for a "Hold"
  1. Boffer Marshals shall act in a crowd control capacity at such times as an injury does occur on the field. No one other than contestants and Boffer Marshals are allowed to be inside the eric during a contest.
  2. The Boffer Marshal is responsible to see that the eric is safe and free from debris (equipment, rocks, etc.) so as not impede the contestant's footing.
  3. NOTE: The bolded following is taken from the An Tir Book of Combat and is applicable to Boffer marshalling as well.

  4. During Contests, all marshals shall carry onto the field of combat a Marshaling pole that is spirally marked yellow and black at each end for 1.5 feet (45mm). The spiral mark is to indicate to the Fighter that the pole belongs to the Marshal. The length of pole should allow the Marshal to comfortably direct the combatant without exposing the Marshal to being struck by the combatant’s weapon. No marshal shall carry any pole on the field that has sharp or jagged edges (i.e. walking staffs, tree limbs, etc.).
  5. No person may wear any real weapon (live steel) onto the field while participating in combat or present during combat. A small folding knife is permitted.


Section 3 - FAIR WITNESS

  1. As a Boffer Marshal, you are a witness to what is going on, not a judge and jury. You may only offer your opinion of legal blows, if you are asked to do so. You may stop a fight and disqualify a contestant if there is an infraction of the rules, such as an excessive or illegal blow.

  3. How to Watch a Contest
  1. In order to be a fair witness, you need as clear a view as possible. This means being close to the contest.
  2. You need to strike a balance between getting closer to see better and staying back out of range of the blows yourself. Just what the appropriate distance is for you will depend on your level of experience. Also bear in mind, many contestants resent having a Boffer Marshal hovering just within their peripheral vision. They find it distracting. In general, between one and two staff lengths (6 to 12 feet) should be appropriate in most contests. Try to keep moving so that the contestants are roughly centered between you and the other Boffer Marshal(s).


  1. To begin a contest, the contestants are called to the eric (contests should only take place in an eric). Proper introductions by the Herald and appropriate salutes by the contestants are made. After checking the readiness of the contestants, the Boffer Marshal will call "Lay On!"
  2. Keep an eye on the audience. Boffer contests are spectator oriented. Your part of the show is to keep things moving and avoid blocking the view from the sidelines more than necessary. This means fast pre-contest checks and announcements, a minimum of holds and discussions during the contest, and a strenuous effort to stay out of the way and keep moving. (If it's cold, wear several layers of clothing rather than a cape and move even more.



  1. The primary consideration is safety. If you, as a Boffer Marshal, do not believe that the boffer or equipment is safe (i.e., you would not be willing to use it on or against yourself), do not let it be used on the field. In all cases, if there is a dispute, refer the matter to a certified senior Boffer Marshal or the appropriate authority. Until it has been approved on a senior level, boffer may not be used regardless of whether it meets all other requirements.
  2. Personal Equipment Inspection (see II:Section 4:A)
  1. Groin. ASK the contestant if they are wearing the appropriate protection. Do not hit someone to check!
  2. Helmet. Head and eyes must be covered. Check for any cracks in the helmet, broken snaps, loose face guards. Be sure that the helmet fits the contestant properly.
  3. Gloves. Hands should be covered.
  4. Knees. The kneecap itself will be covered. If the combatant is using athletic kneepads with no hard foam or plastic on them, recommend to the combatant that they upgrade.
  5. Footwear. Foot needs to be covered and the shoe firmly attached to the foot. Combatant should not be able to flick his/her shoes off their feet.
  6. Overall, check for the safety of the personal equipment being used. If you, as a marshal, do not feel comfortable with a combatant’s protection, let the combatant know what they would need to do to play safe.


  1. New or Repaired Boffer Inspection (see II:Section 5:A)
  1. Check to make sure any attached PVC fittings are secure.
  2. Check for proper capping/plugging on the ends of the guards and pommels.
  3. Check for proper padding on any striking surfaces and for proper continuation of padding off the ends, butts, and tips of the boffer.
  4. Ask the combatant if the PVC has been fiber-taped. The joints of fittings glued? What schedule is the PVC?
  5. Check for the weight of the boffer. Does the weight fit the size? Is there a changing or unusual balance point? (see II:Section 5:A:6)
  6. If there are any questions regarding the construction method of a boffer, ASK the combatant if you may slice open the boffer to have a closer look. Only do this if the boffer, AS IT IS, will not pass inspection. When opening the boffer, cut as little as possible.
  1. Ongoing Boffer Inspection
  1. Check for padding breakdown
  2. Check to make sure any attached PVC fittings are secure
  3. Flex the boffer slightly. Check for any broken or torn foam.






  1. Minor's Authorization
  1. The parents or guardians of the minor should witness contests, discuss how it relates to their child's participation with a Certified Senior Boffer Marshal, the local College of Pages Officer, or appropriate authority. They must ensure that the "Minor’s Consent to Participate and Hold Harmless" form has been completed. This is the same form that should have been filled out and required for entry to the event if the minor is not a (blue-card) member of the SCA, Inc. If the minor is a (blue-card) member of the SCA, Inc., they and their parents/guardians have already completed the appropriate waiver forms on the membership application. Event as used in this context includes, without limitation, boffer practices and demos sponsored by the SCA, Inc.
  2. At any event in which the minor is involved in "Boffer Contest related activities", he/she must either have a parent or guardian present or must be in possession of a properly completed "Medical Authorization for Minors". It is HIGHLY recommended that the contestant give the Marshallate/Lists at the event have a copy of this form as well. Event as used in this context includes, without limitation, boffer practices and demos sponsored by the SCA, Inc.
  3. Some areas (i.e. Canada) may require additional forms/waivers. Contact the local seneschal or appropriate representatives of the area in which the boffer event will be taking place in advance.
  4. It must be reasonably certain to a Senior Boffer Marshal that the required parental/guardian signatures on the required forms are actually those of the legal parents and/or legal guardians of the minor in question. If a reasonable doubt exists, the Senior Boffer Marshal should make every reasonable attempt to contact the parent/guardian prior to allowing the contestant to compete in the contest.
  5. In Summary:

To participate in Boffer combat a minor needs:

i) Either SCA, Inc. membership OR the "Minor’s Consent Form"

ii) If the parent/guardian of the minor is not on site, a "Medical Authorization for Minors form"

iii) Any additional waivers/forms that a local area requires


  1. Boffer Marshal's Authorization
  1. The Boffer Marshal must have a good working knowledge of the Rules of the Lists and the Kingdom Conventions evidenced by passing a written and/or oral test.
  2. The Boffer Marshal must have a good working knowledge of boffer weapons standards. The Boffer Marshal must be willing and able to enforce the Rules of the Lists and the Equipment and Weapon standards for boffer contests.
  3. Senior Boffer Marshals should have the appropriate waiver/authorization forms available.




Section 6 – AUTHORIZATION Cont.

  1. Contestant's Authorization
  1. The contestant must be familiar with the rules of the lists.
  2. The contestant must be safe to themselves and their opponents.
  3. The contestant must demonstrate competence with their equipment.
  4. A Senior Boffer Marshal must calibrate the contestant. This means the contestant should understand what kind of blows are too hard, (i.e., the contestant is struck hard enough so they know what too hard feels like).
  5. The contestant shall also demonstrate the various blows, identifying the blows that must be counted and illegal blows.
  6. The contestant should pass an oral examination demonstrating their Knowledge of boffer.
  7. The contestant must have the required waiver (s) on their person at all times.
  8. A red boffer authorization card is proof of authorization.






  1. The one constant that must remain in all boffer contests is Chivalry. Chivalry is a code of honor. It is honoring an opponent, honoring those in command, and honoring those for whom a contest is fought. Chivalry is respecting the rules of the contest and the word of the Boffer Marshals. It is acknowledging blows and putting the welfare of others before oneself. Chivalry and honor come before winning. Without Chivalry, the most successful contestant is nothing.


  1. A person must be at least four (4) years of age to participate in a boffer contest. Individuals who have reached their twelfth birthday (12) are welcome to participate in boffer related activities, but will not be allowed to compete.
  2. Contestants and parent/guardians will recognize the possibility of injury to themselves.
  3. No person shall participate in boffer-related activities unless they have been properly authorized under Kingdom procedures and have the appropriate waivers and authorization cards.
  4. Each fighter shall maintain control over his or her temper at all times.
  5. All contestants must respect and obey the word of the Boffer Marshals.
  6. Boffer is a game of touch. A hit that is too hard will result in disqualification and forfeiture of the match, at the Boffer Marshal’s discretion. The Boffer Marshals may give one warning, only.
  7. It is the duty of the receiver to acknowledge the location of the blow. Failure to do this is considered dishonorable. Remember people are watching your sense of chivalry.
  8. All contestants shall adhere to the appropriate equipment and boffer standards of An Tir.
  9. A certified Senior Boffer Marshal must check every boffer before it may be used in a boffer contest.





  1. Four Phrases: There are four phrases that a contestant must learn and obey:
  1. HOLD -- means STOP immediately; contestants should drop to one knee, and place their boffers on the ground. The word "HOLD" is called if the Boffer Marshal sees anything out place. A contestant may also call "HOLD". This should only be done for good cause, e.g. equipment failure or if they see a small child or some object enter the eric. Never as a tactic.
  2. CENTER -- used as a call by the Boffer Marshals to tell the contestants that they are getting too close to the edge of the eric. The contestants continue, working their way back (to the center).
  3. ON GUARD -- called by the Boffer Marshals and means "get ready to resume the contest."
  4. LAY ON -- called by the Boffer Marshals and means, "start the contest."
  1. Illegal Actions: The following actions are illegal and will result in a forfeiture of the match by the striking contestant. A Boffer Marshal reserves the right to determine a blow excessive after at least one warning is given.
  1. Thrusting.
  2. Intentional blow to the opponents groin.
  3. Intentional blow to the opponents head or neck.
  4. Use of excessive force.
  1. Blows that do not count: The following blows are not counted as a death or a removal of a limb.
  1. The head and neck.
  2. The wrist and hand.
  3. The knee and below.
  4. The groin.
  1. Blows which must be counted: The following blows have the listed effects.
  1. A blow to the arm results in removal of that arm. If the contestant wishes to continue the contest, they must discontinue using the lost arm, placing it behind their body (so it does not serve as a shield).
  2. A blow to the leg results in removal of that leg. The contestant may then yield or go to their knees.
  3. Any blow to the body or torso (Front, side or back) is an automatic death.
  4. A second blow to a taken arm counts as a torso shot and is therefore a death.
  5. Disqualification is a death.


  1. Winning the Contest The contest is won when the opposing contestant has been killed.




  1. REQUIRED Personal Equipment
  1. Groin protection for males ages 10 and 11.
  2. Helmet (street hockey, football, motorcycle or equivalent) NO BICYCLE HELMETS!
  3. Face protection to protect eyes and nose areas attached to helmet.
  4. Hand and Wrist Protection. Leather gloves equivalent to batting gloves, golf gloves, or garden/work gloves. Both hands will be covered.
  5. Knee Protection. Kneepads equivalent to those used for skating, bicycling, or gardening.
  6. Footwear. Some form of footwear that covers the top, bottom, and sides must protect the feet.


  1. RECOMMENDED Personal Equipment
  1. Body and shoulder protection (heavy shirt or tunic, padded gambeson).
  2. Leg and arm/elbow protection (long sleeves, heavy pants, roller-skating elbow pads).
  3. Footwear that provides good ankle support and traction.



Section 5 – BOFFERS

  1. Boffer Construction
  1. Boffer handles will be made from schedule 40, 3/4-inch PVC pipe. No more than 6 inches of PVC will be allowed as part of a boffer.
  2. The blade of the boffer shall consist of closed cell foam capable of progressive give. (PVC Pipe Insulation)
  3. The boffer will be able to be bent back on itself with a minimum of pressure. This is in the event of an accidental thrust by a combatant.
  4. The PVC handle of the boffer may extend into the blade no more than 15% of the total blade length. (For example, a boffer with a total blade length of 15 inches may have the handle protrude into the blade by 2 ¼ inches)
  5. All places on the boffer which have potential for striking an opponent must be properly padded with no bald spots or holes.
  6. The PVC portions of the boffer will remain hollow. Filling PVC portions with liquids or solids is prohibited!
  7. All open ends of PVC on boffers must be capped (Standard Rounded PCV Caps) or plugged & glued.
  8. All ends, butts, and tips of the PVC will be padded with a minimum of 1 inch of compressible foam.
  9. (i.e. The foam continues at least an inch past the end of the PVC)

  10. All PCV must be covered with fiberglass strapping tape, so that if the pipe shatters, no one is injured.
  11. Once a boffer is broken, it is illegal and may not be used. A repaired boffer must be re-inspected by a Certified Senior Boffer Marshal before it can be used again in a contest.
  12. When covering the padded portions of the boffer with duct tape, they cannot be wrapped so tightly as to greatly decrease the compression of the foam.
  13. All padded portions of the boffer must be covered with at least 1 layer of duct tape. Boffer blade cutting edges must be clearly indicated by a contrasting colored tape.
  14. Hand protection may be included on the boffer. This may take the form of, but is not limited to:

i) Crossguards & Quillions

  1. ii) Baskets
  2. Keep in mind that safety is of the foremost concern.
  1. The maximum boffer length is equal to the distance from the contestant’s navel to the ground, including the handle.
  2. No steel, wood (including rattan), or fiberglass is allowed on any boffer. Fiberglass strapping tape is allowed for interior reinforcement (not on the exterior of the boffer).
  3. While creativity in boffer making is not discouraged, fighters should limit themselves to the bounds of historical accuracy.
  1. Banned Weapons
  1. Flails are banned by the Society Marshal and the Kingdom of An Tir and are therefore banned in boffer contests.



Section 6 – Shields

  1. At this time, shields in boffer combat are still experimental. Any contestant using a shield in boffer contests should check with his/her opponent before the contest regarding any concerns their opponent might have. This may result in their opponent asking the contestant to set aside the shield for this contest.
  2. Each shield must be checked and approved by a Senior Boffer Marshal before it may by used in a boffer contest.
  3. Shields must be constructed out of non-rigid material such as foam. Edges must be padded and taped, but not so as to interfere with the compression of the foam
  4. Dimensions
  1. Heater Shield: Length not to exceed the measurement from "chin to crotch". Width not to exceed the measurement from shoulder to shoulder.
  2. Round Shield: Diameter not to exceed the measurement from elbow to elbow when hands are placed "fist to fist".
  1. Shields are not to be used as an "offensive weapon". The shield can only come in contact with the opponent’s Boffer. (I.e. Contestants are not to push or "punch" their opponent with the shield. Using the shield to "hook" their opponents Boffer or Shield is also not allowed.





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