Left of the "Training" and "Wish to Fight" sections of your strategy sheet is the Strategy section. The strategy section is divided into seven vertical sections (1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th On, and Desperate). The sections "1st" through "5th" represent your warrior's strategy in the first through fifth minutes of the duel respectively. The section labeled "6th On" represents your warrior's strategy from the beginning of the 6th minute to the conclusion of the duel. The "Desperation" section represents the strategy your warrior will switch to at any time during the duel that they become desperate due either to wounds or exhaustion. In each of these vertical sections, you must enter minute by minute strategy decisions regarding Offensive Effort, Activity Level, Kill Desire, Attack Location, Protect Location, Offensive Tactic, and Defensive Tactic. You can prepare your warrior to fight with a wide range of different strategies for any given length of combat.
The strategy section is the heart of the strategy sheet. Fill it out with care. Your choice of strategy should be influenced by your warrior's abilities, their fighting style, and often the type of opponent you believe you might face. The number of strategic considerations make this section of the strategy sheet the most subtle and the most intriguing. We strongly recommend you read about your warrior's fighting style in the Reference Section to get an idea of what sort of approach to try with each warrior.
Offensive Effort: For each minute you must select an offensive effort number between 1 and 10. This number represents how hard your warrior will try to initiate attacks. An Offensive Effort of 1 means that your warrior will exert very little effort trying to initiate attacks against their foe. An Offensive Effort of 10 represents constant and exhausting attempts to initiate and maintain attacks. The higher your warrior's Offensive Effort, the more their overall defenses will be reduced and the faster they will use up their endurance. When selecting an offensive effort for each minute keep in mind that "higher" is not necessarily equivalent with "better". Consider your warrior's fighting style when choosing their offensive effort; warriors with an offensively oriented fighting style will generally want to use a higher than average Offensive Effort, but the converse is true for defensively oriented warriors.
Activity Level: Activity Level is a measure of how active and mobile your warrior will be in combat. Some fighting styles require a lot of activity in order to be effective (for example, the Lunging attack) whereas others require stability and balance (for example, the Bashing attack). For each minute you must select an Activity Level between one (very stable and stationary) and ten (very active and mobile). Low activity levels may allow your warrior to occasionally snatch a moment's rest and recoup endurance, while high activity levels seldom allow resting. Low Activity Level is conducive to parrying whereas a high Activity Level makes it easier to dodge.
Kill Desire: Kill Desire is a measure of how hard your warrior will try to kill their opponent. A very high kill desire can cause a warrior to neglect their own defenses as they seek the killing blow. On the other hand, an extremely low kill desire may make a fighter tentative, causing them to allow attack opportunities to slip by. The strong tendency of the Arenamaster to intervene in duels before death of a participant means that scoring a kill often requires a more subtle blend of strategy than simply a high Kill Desire. You must select a Kill Desire between one and ten for each minute of the duel.
The three strategic dimensions listed above, offensive effort, activity level, and kill desire, offer a great range of variance for maximum diversity in fight planning. It is important to keep in mind that even slight variations in strategy can make a big difference in outcome. Experiment with combinations. Initially, the difference between a six Offensive Effort and a seven will not be obvious. As you play the game you will begin to gain insight into the subtleties of play and hit upon increasingly effective combinations for each of your warriors. If a strategy is not paying off for you in the arena, try a different one. When you find a combination that works for you, try to hone and refine that strategy to perfection.
Attack and Protect Locations: For each minute you must choose both an attack
location (the body location of your foe that you will try hardest to strike)
and a protect location (your body location that you spend the most effort
trying to defend).
You will note that the Protect Locations provide greater coverage than the Attack Locations. For example, while a warrior can defend both legs at once, they can select only one leg (either right or left) to attack.
Different fighting styles have a greater susceptibility to be struck in particular locations and a greater capacity to attack particular locations well. For example, warriors of the Slashing fighting style have a greater tendency to be struck in the arms, but are themselves more able to strike the arms of their opponent.
Striking a foe in particular locations will have different effects. For
example, a blow to the arm can cause a warrior to drop their weapon. A blow to
the legs may cause a warrior to fall to the ground. Head, chest, and abdomen
wounds are more deadly and have a greater likelihood of killing an opponent.
There are many considerations that may influence your choice of Attack and
Protect locations in each minute.