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:
- overall objective: skull in opposite goal;
- combat 101: 5 stones for a hit, head is 5 stone penalty, hands on sticks don’t count;
- 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;
- qwik/skull movement: qwiks drop it when hit or throw it just before, sticks can bat it, qwiks can wrestle each other
- 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.