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Old March 27th, 2013, 13:08   #16
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Oh for sure, my post was in response to Flatlander and to support yours.
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Old March 27th, 2013, 14:14   #17
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Originally Posted by scottyfox View Post
If I may interject with a little real world that might be helpful (And I will refrain from quoting Charge of the Light Brigade, bonus points if you have any idea what I'm talking about).

The highest level of command simulated in MilSim is the operational level, obviously we don't get into the strategic, that's up to game control (the why and how of organizing forces that will be employed at the operational level, read Clausewitz).

The principles of command and leadership articulated in CAF doctine discourage "big picture" thinking at the squad level and actually discourage the "strategic corporal". The squad level's purvue is simply fire and movement, using those two concepts to achieve the commander's intent. While it may be fine to give the squad level context for why it will deliver an effect, the chain of command expressly forbids any sort of thinking of operational "whys" at the tactical level. It is the responsibility of the squad leader to deliver on the commander's intent without question and perhaps even without context.
TLR, sometimes at the tactical level, you are not given the big picture, nor should you necessarily be.

Now this is the way that a professional military is meant to work.

Unit discipline and a commander's competence are sometimes in question in airsoft. So obviously your mileage will vary.

But a great topic of discussion nonetheless.
I completely agree with you. When real lives are on the line, you want your chain of command to be tight and orders followed through with little deviation and reasoning. I would assume the grunts on the front lines are happy to make it home alive from their mission and don't give 2 shits about the big picture details.

However we are grown men playing dressup and shooting each other with toy guns. A bad decision or not following orders doesn't result in someone dying. The focus should be on having fun, not winning. I play together with some of the most experienced players and game hosts from Edmonton and Calgary and I think we'd all agree that being simply told to "go take that building" with no explanation and big picture really sucks (this was the norm at Irene). It might as well be skirmish and playing capture the flag; feels exactly the same for the grunts pulling the trigger.

I'm saying that if you can give the grunts at the squad level the information to allow them to make some of their own minor judgement calls, or at least let them rationalize WHY they are doing something, it helps feed the satisfaction of accomplishing something. Me and my guys in particular, we're all experienced players and are not satisfied with simply shooting other nerds. We've all had the feeling of taking objectives and racking up kill counts. The satisfaction now has to come from making our own decisions that affect the outcome of our day.

There are also countless times where the chain of command breaks down and information isn't passed down; subsequently you have many situations where props/actors are encountered and everyone looks at each other and says "what the hell do we do with these? What are they for? No time to radio our useless commander and wait 20mins for a terrible response, let's move on". Then you look back on the AAR and go "ahhhh, that's what that was all about. Well shit".


I agree that not all details should be devulged pre-game and that surprises in game are great. I'm just saying that the majority of people will go back to work Monday morning and be told what to do by their bosses and don't necessarily want to spend their weekend being told by some stranger what to do with no explanation as to why.

Another way to look at things is I work for an extremely large engineering firm (40,000+ employees world wide). They do employee surveys every year and then upper management delivers the findings for your specific country/region. There's a common theme of employee job satisfaction is tied directly into the company engagement...meaning we want to know what the company is doing and how we contribute and fit into the business plan. We want to feel important, not just a mindless drone behind a desk. I would say most company's would get similar results and I firmly believe this applies directly to airsoft.
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Old March 27th, 2013, 14:22   #18
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I think that many of the noted command structure failures often relate to game organizing problems. Not in a free for all drop in skirmish perhaps but anything with a hint of multiple objectives.

The last strategy based game I was at had a command structure and the game fell to pieces after the first objectives were reached. As has been said no plan survives contact with the enemy. So instead of the 3 sided battle with booby traps and other various surprises it became “ you guys go on the top of the hill, you other guys charge the hill again and again”.

It appears that some people build these scenarios like they were writing a book, each character has a role to play and things they must do as the day passes by. The problem is that the script is not flexible and as soon as real people plug in they utterly diverge from it.

If you build and play a scenario repeatedly you can rub the rough spots off but you can also wind up boring the players as it becomes stale. Also if a script tilts towards one side with a detailed scenario and the other side just gets told to wait in the woods till they see someone you know the guys with no objective are going to wander off and start making mischief.

I have a plan this spring for a day’s game. Once again, it’ll be a game with particular objectives and a back story. I am going to only hand out one objective at a time.

So instead of “Go to the woods, set up and secure a base, send out patrols, find the down aircraft and rescue the pilot, engage the rebel patrols, capture the rebel leader, find the dirty suitcase bomb, kill the bomb maker, recover the intel, rescue the princess, escort her to your base, call for an extraction, fight your way to your alternate, and so on” they will be told to got setup a secure base and that’s all. Once they do that they learn the next objective, and so on.

That way no one jumps the line, and also if things get offside you can jump to page six and not leave anyone wondering why they didn’t have to defuse the dirty bomb or whatever key objective you mentioned at the start that just vanishes in game. The teams just shift to an objective that suits the current gameplay. It will play out like a series of small skirmishes vs. a complex scenario. Then at the end of the day when you look back the entire picture will develop.
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Old March 27th, 2013, 14:53   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danke View Post

I have a plan this spring for a day’s game. Once again, it’ll be a game with particular objectives and a back story. I am going to only hand out one objective at a time.

So instead of “Go to the woods, set up and secure a base, send out patrols, find the down aircraft and rescue the pilot, engage the rebel patrols, capture the rebel leader, find the dirty suitcase bomb, kill the bomb maker, recover the intel, rescue the princess, escort her to your base, call for an extraction, fight your way to your alternate, and so on” they will be told to got setup a secure base and that’s all. Once they do that they learn the next objective, and so on.

.
This is exactly what I am talking about when I mentioned "mission based" objectives. And placing Game control at the top of the chain of command

Often this is how I approach games when I am running them..

1st objective, Recce location for base. once that is achieved.. then we move on from there.

and it has the effect you indicated, it keeps everyone on task and keeps things from flying apart.

Also the " what the fuck is that" effect of finding something that looks important but you have no idea why is eliminated when all props or physical objectives are composed of either Lives in the form of more kill cards or Ammo. Everyone knows what they are useful for.
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Old March 27th, 2013, 15:24   #20
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Thanks for all the info guys and keep the tips coming. As someone very new to organizing games (a whopping three under my belt so far) its good to hear I'm doing something right, lol. This thread has given m some fresh ideas to run better games in the future as well.

+1 to all.

I definitely agree about player participation. First game I had there was one player asking a lot of questions on the radio I thought (at the time) weren't overly important. When I thought about it afterwards I realized they were important to the player's gameplay experience (I addressed the concerns at the time of course) and it truly made for a better game. The games after that I got a bit nervous when fewer questions and comments were made and poured over forums looking for AAR's to see how I did, lol.
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Old March 27th, 2013, 15:43   #21
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Background information:

Often when I post a game, I will post background information , or a back story to establish context for the game. This can go a long way to helping players see where they fit in the larger picture.

I will often spend hours writing the story, and post it bit by bit as the game approaches. This keeps people coming back to the game thread and increases the chance that the players will know what is supposed to happen on game day.

I will often seed the story with key intelligence that will really help on game day if you pay attention and remember.

Case in point at Hotbox I had written a detailed narrative introducing the key players and Factions. The narrative was riddled with clues and hints that would have very real game day effects of they were paid attention to.

Hotbox had a game in game element .. there was a "seal team" deployed for a very specific mission that was to be an In and Out operation. The codeword that would identify them as friendly had been written in to the narrative. On game day one of the Faction leaders remembered the Codeword and the story and used it at exactly the right moment.. Instead of a firefight there was a very cool role play opportunity, and the "Seal team" was able to achieve it's mission without firing a shot. A perfect outcome.

When stuff like this works.. it is really satisfying as a game host.

On another note re Hotbox, I actually had 2 game in game elements going in that game.. There was a another unit deployed, they were there doing mostly night ops training but had freedom to interact with the game as they saw fit.. They ended up linking up with the "SEAL Team" and causing some mayhem before fading back into the night.
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Old March 27th, 2013, 16:16   #22
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good post, thanks
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Old March 27th, 2013, 16:34   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Danke View Post
...So instead of “Go to the woods, set up and secure a base, send out patrols, find the down aircraft and rescue the pilot, engage the rebel patrols, capture the rebel leader, find the dirty suitcase bomb, kill the bomb maker, recover the intel, rescue the princess, escort her to your base, call for an extraction, fight your way to your alternate, and so on” they will be told to got setup a secure base and that’s all. Once they do that they learn the next objective, and so on.

.....
That's a great way to do things, IMO....and as said, if things go off script along the way you can adapt without people saying, "Well at the end we were supposed to extract at the plane, that's what you said....why did everyone else go to the old base at the last minute!?!?"

In regards of "knowing what's going on"...the want vs. need thing has been around as long as there's been a chain of command (business/mil/anything...). Everyone at some level wants to know the why and what's next, even if they don't need to know. Sometimes it's helpful...sometimes it's pointless...sometimes it's a real hinderance on keeping focus.

I think that it's up to the command structure to dole out what information they see fit. Doing so appropriately keeps people engaged while remaining on focus. It can certainly make their efforts seem valued and contributing to the whole (which is emotionally important to many).

One way to do that is to recap what's happened so far and to related how others' actions/efforts have enable this/that/other as a result. At a long overnight game we had a large number of guys sitting in fox holes all night, pairs of guys rotating through rest/guard/training duties. Word trickled down command that there was a DMZ enforced and that neither force were permitted to cross it for a certain period throughout the evening (safety being one reason). But to stiffle some of the "WTF is this!?!? I didn't sign up to sit around all night", "WTF is going on", etc...it didn't take much to do the rounds once in a while to check in on how eveyone was doing and relay tidbits. Starting out with, "How are you guys holding up? Need anything?" then "here's what's going on so far....."............"We have a recce group behind their lines looking of this/that"..."our advance group ran into a bunch of them by the bridge...they seem to be patrolling but not crossing into our area"..."our whole flank is secure because those guys have it locked down tight"...etc... Just that little bit went a long, long way with the guys...kept them on mission/engaged a bit more/valued... Didn't take long for a "Psst...message...." system to get going and it helped everyone make it through a very long and otherwise potentially very boring night.
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Old April 3rd, 2013, 18:02   #24
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Time appreciation

If there is one thing that is often overlooked in "milsim" games, it's a tight control over time.


Co-ordination of operations is a key element of success. Various groups engaged in tasks on a field can only co-ordinate if they are following a common time appreciation plan.

If you polled all the players at any one game and asked then , do you have a watch? I expect most of them would say, yes, but then pull out their phone.

A phone is not a watch. One of the key peices of kit that every Milsim player needs is s a reliable , night viewable wrist watch.

The single greatest error that can be made by a commander at any level is to issue orders that are not time closed. What I man by Time closed is that there is a discrete amount of time allotted to the completion of the mission. Once the time is elapsed the mission has either been successful or failed.

Some orders can be "open" such as "hold this hill until you are relieved" but even the open order has some element of defined conclusion.

The Milsim Commander needs to become adept at issuing orders, that are clear, and time sensitive. And the commander needs to be able to plot the progress of various missions on the Mission board, and tie this to the map.

I've made many errors in issuing orders, not placing time limits on Missions result in missions that never end, you can loose control of entire elements and see them disengage from your chain of command by not limiting the duration of Missions.

As a sub unit commander, you need to be sensitive to the time demands of your commander. these demands will inform how stealthy your approach can be, how much time can be spent conducting recces of objectives, it can even define who you take and how people are kitted out for the mission. It will define the route in and out. All of these elements are derived from the time element of the Mission parameters.

As a player or individual member of the unit, you need to know how much time is allotted to the mission, as this will define you conduct. if you step off without knowing what the Mission is and how much time there is to achieve it you are working counter to that mission.

This is how you do a time appreciation.

Start with the time that the mission is to end. place this on the right side of your paper. then mark on the left side what time it is now.

List above in the middle the total time available from now to the mission end time.

next list all the elements of the mission in a list on the left side of the page.( don't forget the time you estimate it will take to do the planning you are doing now, it is a mission task as well.
assign an estimated time to conclude each element. Make sure you are generous with your time allotted. Now total that time

compare this time with the total time available. If the Mission time is less than the total time you are in good shape and may be able to fit in some forced rest for your guys or a meal.

if the total time estimated is greater than the Mission time available , then you have to reassess some elements of your mission, this is where some of the decisions regarding the elements listed above come in. maybe you need to change your route, maybe you need to take more people because you won't have the time to be stealthy so you will need scouts and security while on the move.

stepping off on a mission without doing a time appreciation is very likely to result in Mission failure, sometimes completing a task too soon is worse than completing it too late.
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Old April 8th, 2013, 18:31   #25
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Operational Pace

Pacing players is another key factor in increasing the immersion in Milsims

to set and maintain an appropriate operational Pace takes a strong chain of command and players willing to place themselves subject to it.

For a short "day game" pacing is not much of an issue but once you get outside 6-8 hours players are going to need some down time.

The key is to combine your Mission based taskings, with your time appreciation and create and exploit the gaps in the Schedule to put in place time for players to eat, rest and tech their guns.

nothing kills a game faster than a "lunch break" in which the field empties out, players drop their gear.. and then try to summon the motivation to return to the game after the break. Off field breaks are to be avoided at all costs.

On field breaks must be Scheduled, if you have seen to it that the group is organized then it is not much of an issue to rotate the various groups from operational tasking to "dinner" to forced rest.

Anyone leaving the field should report that fact to their commander, and up the chain to game control.
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Old April 17th, 2013, 17:27   #26
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Disputes

Dealing with Disputes:

when you get a bunch of 18-35 year old males together to play a game there are going to be disputes.

All disputes center around a very few basic themes

1. "cheating" .. people "not calling hits" is number 1 and it is also the one you are not likely to be able to eliminate. It is actually a very rare player indeed that will outright cheat and willfully ignore hits, but for certain they are out there, and need to be dealt with.

alleging cheating is much harder than proving it.

Loosing players or teams will look for excuses as to why they suck so much, number 1 is "the other guys were cheating"

Someone claiming someone was cheating is not evidence of Cheating. Only multiple eye witness accounts can be trusted. If all the witnesses are from one group or team .. you must have corroboration from another source before moving forward with sanctions.

In almost every case in which someone claims someone else was "cheating" they are not able to identify the person and in fact probably could not pick them out of a line up. This is not an example of "cheating" but it certainly is an example of poor sportsmanship and whining. Whiners must be publicly shamed and called out as whiners or they will spread their poison which will blossom in the AAR as accusations of wholesale cheating by "everyone" who was not them.

There is an interesting correlation between whiners and quitters. Quitters often whine and whiners often quit. They don't want to seem weak so they will Whine about the other players and then quit the game. Every game is better off without whiners and quitters, if they can be identified early in the game they can often be induced to quit even earlier than they would and leave, improving the game for everyone.

There is another interesting Correlation, Whiners and quitters often hang out in the spawn. As a game host I will very often visit the spawns of each faction to see who is hanging out there. a simple question such as " hows it going?" will often illicit the "they are cheating" response from the whiners and quitters hiding out in the spawn.

Follow this up with , If they are cheating why was I not informed? Who is cheating? I take this very seriously please take me and show me who was cheating, I will thrown them out of the game right now!"

This is often followed up with statements like, "oh I don't know, some guy, one of my guys told me he was cheating like crazy, shrugging hits"

I follow this up with , "really? which one of your guys, let go talk to him so I can get to the bottom of this right now!" I won't tolerate cheaters.

Which often followed on with "oh I'm not sure what guy.. but you know .. they are cheating"

Which is followed on with me saying, You know what, making unsubstantiated allegations of cheating with no evidence sounds a lot like you are nothing but a lazy whiner who would rather sit around in the spawn all day and complain about why you suck at this game by blaming others, who you can't even name. maybe you should assess whether you have anything constructive to add to this game, and if you don't, you are free to leave any time."

This always works best if done in front of a few other guys who up to that point may have been listening to this guy, but in that moment realize that they have been in the presence of a whiner. The spawn normally clears out and people get back into the game. often so does the whiner, sometimes they do leave. Which is a good outcome either way.

In evidence of actual cheating the ONLY response is immediate ejection from the game, no warnings, no refund.

Do not tolerate players calling other's hits, i know a number of players that get more kills shouting at people to take non existent hits than they do actually hitting people. This is in a word shameful. Calling another man's hit is tantamount to calling him a cheater and a liar. In another time this could get you killed, today, it just marks you as a ass.

The number 2 dispute has to do with Rules interpretation.

If you as game host have put in place rules that can be interpreted differently, this is your fault. Simple clear rules make for few disputes. If there is a unclear rule, clear it up and then make sure the clarification gets out to everyone even if this means you personally walking from player to player all over the field and clarifying the rule.

Medic rules cause far more trouble than they are worth, avoid "medic" rules that involve counting, or touching. The only medic rule that should be used is the medic must Physically tie on a bandage to the wounded player. This uses real object and real acts, it's not open to interpretation.

The 3rd most common dispute is people complaining about being "shot too much" or "Shot in the face" These are not legitimate complaints Complaining about getting shot at an airsoft game is like complaining about getting wet at a swim meet. Often the issue is the complainant choose to wear minimal protective equipment, no one gets to complain about the outcome of their own choices. Shut it down.
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Old April 17th, 2013, 19:50   #27
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excellent post

The post above should be foremost in all game organizer's minds. We have the adopted the - did you see your bb's hit him, then shoot him in the legs he still did not call a hit. Get up walk over id him see an admin.

The reporting player is admin'd back in play the offending player is dealt with. If you as a player can not do those 2 things shut up about cheating. I will toss a whiner as fast as a cheater, both drag down everyone.


ditto on the rules I have always preferred bandages to counts, a clear simple way to get a player back in the game.

I will add one point have a way to get the teams into static positions if things start going sideways. Observation is a legitimate task and it will give you a breather to sort things out. Worse case have them drop back to pre-established positions or their primary base.

Then get yourself or the situation sorted out and get the teams moving again.
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Old April 17th, 2013, 20:30   #28
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Thank you very much for bothering doing this.

This actually filled gaps to a few questions I've been asking myself for a while.
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Old May 9th, 2013, 19:38   #29
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Why MERCY ruins games

The whole concept of offering "Mercy" is laudable, it's based on the desire to not hurt your fellow player. In practice it is often improperly used and leads more often than not to hard feelings and a bitter taste in the mouth.

Minimum engagement distances are designed to reduce the chance of injury by being hit with a BB, as guns have been getting hotter and hotter in their stock form defining and enforcing minimum engagement distances has become a problem for many hosts.

The most common "mercy" rule is "no engagement within 10 feet" Players running high velocity Sniper set ups may have a minimum engagement distance of 50 feet or more, depending on their setup, and just how hot they are shooting.
Essentially what this means it you can't shoot someone who is inside your Minimum Engagement Distance MED.

I'm not against MED for high velocity set ups, close shots can cause real injury, and should be avoided. On the other hand, people experienced enough to run high velocity set ups ( and keep them running) are generally good enough to direct their shot to hit the gear of their target and avoid shots to the soft bits.

When I started TTAC3 back in 2005, I abolished "mercy" in my facility, and I took a lot of heat because of it. I was accused of "disregarding long standing safety rules" and promoting " a culture of violence" ( no shit this was said )

Up to that point most CQB games were little more than foolish rounds of "mercy tag" with players jumping around corners shouting mercy at each other. People who came to play at TTAC3 got a very different experience, there are no MED rules, and no mercy, shots happen at contact distances, just like the real world, and you get a very intense experience from this type of situation.

Today, No Mercy is common at games, most people have come to understand that the only way to prove that you took someone out is to shoot them. In surprise face to face encounters it is not at all uncommon for people to miss one another standing less than 10 feet away. Better training and better skilled players can take out lesser players at these distances.

"airsoft" is a contact "sport" when you grab a gun and head to the field you agree to be shot. It is unreasonable to put a condition on that agreement, such as "I agree to be shot, but not from too close" All you do here is set up potential conflicts and altercations.

That being said, we have to be respectful of our companions, and enforce the "golden rule" of "Do unto others as you would have them do to you" so if you have a player dead to rights , and they have no idea you are there, and you are very close to them, there is nothing wring with showing "mercy" and killing them with a word. In this situation I prefer to say something like. "don't move, or I shoot you" and attempt to capture them. but if they make a hostile move they get shot.

As a final note, if "mercy Rules" are in play, you have to understand that it is not possible to "mercy" someone who knows you are there. For example, you can not enter a room and shout Mercy and not expect to get lit up.

Mercy can only be applied to situations in which your target has no idea you are there and you have a clear unobstructed shot on them. Otherwise you are not in a position to offer Mercy.
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Old May 13th, 2013, 18:34   #30
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Mercy

We run no MED field as well and the only allowable mercy is contact, tap with a rubber knife, hand or your weapon. NOTE the word tap, just enough that they know they have been mercied along with the attacker saying mercy.

It is really a silent kill, the hit player acknowledges with a nod and nothing else.

And it is a single player you can mercy buddy for bragging rights between you him but if he has a buddy with him you are automatically hit.

We get almost no mercies except for the players new to more tactical days who try to run solo, the occasion scout or observation guy gets mercied but it rare.
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