EDMOND — E.C. Hafer Park turns into a battlefield Saturdays for a live-action combat game where participants attack each other with foam-padded weaponry and equipment. It's called Dagorhir.
Players 16 and older dress in period clothing to play the battle game, designed to challenge the mind and body and inspire the imagination where Tolkien's Middle Earth meets Dark Middle Earth.
“I think wearing the costume makes the whole experience better,” said Nathanael Nalley, an Oklahoma Christian University student who started playing the game three years ago.
Nalley, 24, admits he has always been a fan of medieval movies and books. So it wasn't hard for his friends to talk him into the local “realm” of a national group called Dagorhir, which describes itself as “a game, a sport, a martial art and a chance to live an adventure.”
The inspiration is the fantasy world of J.R.R. Tolkien.
“It is fun and exciting,” Nalley said. “It gets thrilling.”
Nalley, and most of the other participants, are fans of combat video games, but Nalley said he likes to be outdoors.
“There is something about being outdoors playing a sport,” he said.
Dagorhir battle games started in 1977 and have now spread through the United States, Canada, Britain, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Germany, Australia and Japan.
People have being playing the games for about six years in Edmond and between 20 and 50 people show up weekly for the competition.
Norman and Shawnee also have groups similar to the one in Edmond.
Interested in playing in Edmond? Show up between 1 and 4 p.m. on Saturdays at Hafer Park. There will be loaner weapons available to try out the sport, Nalley said.
Safety is addressed in The Dagorhir Manual of Arms. Players are required to sign waivers before the games begin.
“I don't get hurt very easily,” Nalley said. “Some people are reckless. One of my friends had a broken rib. We don't hit at the head or the neck, too many concussions.”
“It is a full contact sport, and there is an occasional broken finger.”