So this is a Warhammer blog but only cause I play WAR more than I LARP. If I could reverse that easily I would.
Anyway, here is some shield advice from the old version of this message baord. Now I thought it was worth saving (good thing I did since the old forum is gone I think) but I’m not convinced this is the only way to go -this one advises you to move your arm to block with your shield but I’ve also heard that you keep your shield close to your body and turn your body to block.
Like you said, there are many, many different types of shields. Alliance safety rules even allow certain shield designs that would never have worked historically or in any “real” fantasy world (the cut corner neck tuck shields very popular in the north east).
Personally, I prefer a coffin. I’m not a small guy and that shape gives me some upper leg protection while still being wide enough up top to protect both shoulders with some movement (more or less). I find that a down slant arm works for me by partially denying lower-body targets without an opponent telgraphing.
But, that’s not what I’d recomend. The difference between a person that has a shield and a person that knows how to use that shield is huge. Anyone can hug a shield against thier chest and simply deny their opponent a large target. Moving your shield and figuring out the line(s) of attack that your opponent is likely to use and interposing your shield takes timing and practice. To get this timing and pattern down, start with a rounder, probably a little under max size, with a center half grip (ie- as much space past your knuckles as is past your elbow on the other side). Get in the habit of twisting your arm, both at the elbow, houlder, and especially the wrist, to deny and intercept.
Once you’ve got it with a symetrical, evenly spaced rounder, consider what areas you aren’t protecting well. If its your legs, try a teardrop or a kite/coffin. If its your shoulders, try a heater or a “Dorito” type triangle.
Also consider which arm position works best for you (a great reason to start with a rounder, just about all the standard arm positions work well). If you prefer straight across the body (horizontal), heaters and rectangles work well. If you prefer a low-high (extend your pointer finger, if it’s pointing at your face, that’s this grip), try a teardrop or a oval. If you prefer high-low arm extended- triangles or kites might work better.
So its a question of compromise between what arm position is comfortable and effective and where you know you need a little extra help protecting. Round shields are the nuetral shiled- they work for just about everyone with just about every style, but rarely as well as a shield specifically designed for the person’s typical grip, stance, and style. They make a great starting point though.