Royal Crest

Pacifist Warfare

In the true spirit of British fair play, ALFs conduct battle in accordance with simple rules, as set out below. They have come to be known by the suitably bombastic title of the Rules of Pacifist Warfare.

Pacifist warfare consists of battles. These engagements are akin to very loosely scripted plays, or war-games, in which the weapons do not inflict real injuries, but can kill (or blow up, maim, or cause flesh wounds) at a touch.

Battles can involve mass troop movements, skimishes, war-machines, enchantments and summonings, sieges and epic one-on-one duels. Everyone taking part should expect to be killed at least once.

The point is not to win (or lose). Battle is best looked at as an opportunity for both sides to show off. The style in which ALFs Imperial Army choose to take the field is theat of the late 19th Century British Redcoat, but other participants adopt such uniforms or costumes as they see fit: they may also adopt a military structure and character, or simply be a bestial rabble. Each side respects the other's wish to perform war-dances, services, sacrifices, or other curious manoeuvres, for the sake of the greater spectacle.

After the rounds of sacred rituals or profane abuse, battle is joined, there are usually sword fights, charges by cavalry (sheep, horses, goats, lawnmowers) or monsters constructed for the occasion: artillery barrages of flour bombs and porridge, duels, and melodramatic deaths. All combatants are revived by 'nurses', 'surgeons', 'witch doctors', 'good fairies' and others dispensing elixirs and jellybabies that bring them back to life. (The ALF's Nurses' Charter appears in another section.) Battles finish by mutual agreement that everyone is bored, worn out, or that a suitable climax has been reached. Sometimes it has been decided before the battle who will be the victor and who the vanquished. If not, both sides loudly proclaim victory, offer each other solace for their crushing defeat, and clean up the carnage-strewn field. This usually leads to socialising of some kind. ALF's Army know that ultimate victory will be theirs because they write the histories.


Image copyright © Phil Anderson 2003

Good sporting behaviour and gallantry recommend:

  • letting others play out their performances
  • not breaking or taking their flags or other props as souvenirs unless they agree.
  • not destroying their constructions unless it is agreed to beforehand as part of the battle story
  • not going out of your way to rub jelly into an opponent's dreadlocks.

Uniform or costumes are ideally either disposable or robust and easily cleaned. Battles tend to get messy, given the types of weapons used (see below).

It is a requirement upon all weapons and their users that they are not dangerous or not used in a dangerous way. The epic progression and artistic look of an ALF battle are interfered with if they have to be stopped while real sawbones attend to tone-lowering actual pain and suffering.

The standard weapons are:

  • Paper swords (see below)
  • Flour bombs
  • Yielding, elderly fruit and vegetables (soft enough to not hurt, i.e. no stonefruit, but not rotten enough to be nauseating)
  • Water bombs, water hoses, water pistols and other small arms
  • Sponge or foam swords, clubs, axes and pole-arms
  • Porridge
  • Devices for smoke and noise effects. (Anything used for these purposes should be able to be safely discharged in the hand, and should not be used as anti-personnel weapons).


ALFs use laminated cardboard covered in cloth or closed cell foam. Wooden or metal shields are considered too dangerous by many people. Shields are not to be used as weapons, they are meant to prevent your opponent hitting you.

Paper swords

  • Take 7 sheets of a standard-size newspaper, lay them out flat as possible
  • Roll diagonally, tight as possible, into a tube. Flatten one end, which will become the guard
  • Fold over the flattened end so that it curves towards the tube. Make sure the curve is large enough to comfortably accommodate your hand.
  • Sticky-tape the curved, flattened end to the rest of the tube, and wrap tape around the rest of the tube at about three points to make it keep its shape.

You then have a thing that should look roughly like a sabre or cutlass. Used as a foil (i.e. as a thrusting, pointed weapon), you are less likely to hurt your enemy than if you use it as a slashing weapon, or club. Keep your sword low; avoid the heads and especially the faces of your enemies.