Nerd Wars: Cedar City group finds fun in Amtgard battle; STGnews videocast

Saturday morning Amtgard battle in Main Street Park, Cedar City, Utah, Summer 2013 | Photo by Michael Flynn, St. George News

CEDAR CITY – Long ago, on a continent far, far, away, medieval armies clashed on muddy battlefields, and fierce warriors fought with sword and shield to a bloody end. This is not a story about those guys. This is a story about Amtgard, a battle game where self-professed nerds dress like warriors, assassins, archers, and even wizards, harmlessly pummeling each other for hours with foam cushioned weapons, on a sunny afternoon.

When asked to describe what battle gaming is, many of the people who had gathered at Main Street Park in Cedar City one Saturday this Summer said it was like a live-action game of chess where the players are the chess pieces.

The battle game the Cedar City group plays, called Amtgard, is a medieval role-playing strategy game. The players fashion their own foam-cushioned weapons, and they make their own costumes and armor.

Troy McSpadden said their group calls itself Dragonspyre, and that they formed in 1998. They meet every Saturday morning at 10 a.m. to play Amtgard, and it isn’t just about winning the game. Many of the participants  exercise and socialize out in the fresh air and sunshine.

“My favorite thing about Amtgard is the comraderie,” McSpadden said. “I’m there with people who also enjoy doing this sort of thing. We’re all out there having a good time.”

(story continues below)

Videocast by Michael Flynn, St. George News

 The rules for Amtgard are available online. He encourages those who are interested in joining to first look over the basic rules of the game, McSpadden said. All participants are expected to sign a waiver, and those under the age of 18 are required to have a parent or legal guardian sign for them.

Amtgard is a family-oriented activity, McSpadden said. “Minimum combat age is 14,” he said.  “We encourage young players because they are the future of the game.”

Interest in battle sports and other live-action role playing games has been growing recently. “There’s a lot more interest now,” McSpadden said. He attributed the growing popularity to be a result of a broader acceptance of nerd culture within the mainstream.

“It’s suddenly cool to be a nerd,” he said. “Gaming culture is a lot more accepted now too.”

Event details

  • When: Every Saturday afternoon from 10 a.m. usually until 3 or 4 p.m.
  • Where: Main Street Park in Cedar City at 200 North Main Street
  • Cost: Free

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  • Matthew Sevald November 9, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    Sir Sasquatch, You guys in Cedar switched to Amtgard???????? WTF! Come back to Belegarth where we’re full contact in action and attitude and heavier weapons!

    You’re always welcome to raid us Tuesday at 7pm in Nisson Park in Washington. We have since moved from Wednesdays. We’ll even let you use your ultra light weapons, but we’ll be hitting full contact.
    We’ll come up there if we can play by big boy rules! Lots of love from your neighbors to the south


  • Dyane McSpadden November 13, 2013 at 11:39 am

    Sir Sasquatch still plays Belegarth to the best of my knowledge, we are not a former Bel group, we started out playing Amtgard in ’98, took a break in ’04 & came back in ’12.. always Amtgard. Sir Sasquatch started out with us in ’98, quit, went to Bel.. came back to us in ’12 & quit again. I believe you can come & play with their 2-3 players every Friday still.

  • Phillip Castanon November 13, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    BTW, im the guy with the shaved head and the face paint. And correction, I am NOT erin mcspadden. But that’s okay.

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