I’ve been thinking about shields in BW. They are mechanically very powerful (at least with Shield Training), adding a significant amount of dice to your defense, but in the implied setting it seems like they shouldn’t be that commonly used. At least not according to my knowledge of medieval combat.
The first sign is that BW has plate armor. That type of armor was so good that the need for a shield was reduced well below the point of the advantage of using two-handed weapons. You’d mainly expect a knight in plate armor to use a shield while mounted.
Since the armor indicates the late medieval era the term longsword should therefor refer to a sword that you’d primarily use two-handed, and it would have a large crossguard as you would parry with the sword rather than with a shield. George Silver said that a two-handed sword was superior to sword and shield in single combat (and a polearm would be even better).
Armor in BW is good enough to simulate the protection mentioned above (at least below VA 2), but since a shield will add a significant amount of dice to your defense test the shield becomes an absolute must for any warrior with access to training. In Bloody Versus the dice outweigh the advantage for a larger weapon, and in Fight it gives you access to a vastly superior action (Block & Strike).
Has anyone else had this thought and come up with a balance that makes the system not favor shields so strongly over two-handed weapons? Removing Shield Training is one option, but it doesn’t feel like a very fun solution and it would have to include removing Two-Fisted Fighting Training as well.
Another option could be to give some bonus for wielding a weapon two-handed and allow Block & Strike in form of parry and riposte. It would also require Training, either a new or baked into another, to separate the highly trained from the amateurs bashing away. It would perhaps not solve the issue that shields are better in the game than the equivalent historical period suggests they should be, but it would at least create more options that aren’t mechanically inferior.
Or am I just completely wrong and have forgotten something vital in the rules?