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The Wizard's Desk

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Camp Leadership: The General

This is part of a blog series on Camp Leadership


The General

Short Description: They command the army and oversee camp war strategy. They train the army, using feedback from refs and other Generals to enable learning and foster a safety mindset. Their role is also logistical--they must inform Camp Refs of battle plans and war moves.


Skills needed: Strategic mindset. Social organization. Communication.


Contest Responsibilities:

  • Lead and Organize the player army

  • Exchange feedback with other Generals

  • Lead training sessions

    • This generates great roleplay, but also allows the army to practice battle tactics, field command, formations and allows you to develop a camp wide set of voice commands. Trial and error, as well as practice, can turn just a few well placed words on the battle field into a deadly set of maneuvers.  

  • Tactical leads (in field)

  • Organize lieutenants


Opportunity Spaces & Domains:

  • Army structure

    • What's your army called? How is it organized? Take into account how most fighters are part of smaller groups and find terms that suit a camp wide organizational structure. Do you have captains of ship crews? Or Sergeants? Or Blood hunters in charge of packs? Talk to the small group leaders and other fighters and set about forming the larger structure. 

  • Tactics, battle commands, formations

  • Camp tournaments


OOG Dangers:

  • Forcing players to participate

  • Gunning for the win (aggression)


Details:

  • The General is a main stakeholder of the camp’s combat culture. While the Referees can act as a backstop for unsafe behavior, the safety and fairness mindsets must be in place at the camp level, and you play a major role in deploying it. 

    • Other camps will see your efforts to create safety and fairness, and gain trust in your army. And when there is mutual trust, we can play together better. Our encounters can be more intense and exciting.

  • The General organizes and manages the camp army. You should appoint one or more officers (often called lieutenants) to assist you. The camp army should be a formal group that players enlist in, rather than forming attack forces from whomever happens to be around at the time.

    • Being in the camp army isn’t a full time commitment. But once enlisted, soldiers should priortize attending General-led trainings and drills, and show up to fight in most battles. Enlisted soldiers should be given an advanced heads-up about when they need to be at-ready or be available for camp defense.

    • The camp army is frequently organized into Units led by their own Sergeant (insert camp-specific term here). Existing player teams make great units, and the General can form new units from people that are not on a team. Make sure units train together!


  • At the morning camp briefing (led by the camp council), the General should communicate the war schedule for the day, even if all the details haven’t manifested yet. (“Let’s be ready to attack another camp at 5pm--muster here at 4:30 for details.”)


  • Your job is not just organizing and commanding, but also training and motivating the army of your camp. The Camp Champion should be involved with this too (and often leads motivational efforts), modeling theatrics and good combat attitude/mindset.

    • Before the camp army makes its first attack, your army must complete a safety & theatrical combat orientation. Enlist your camp’s Champion for help. Go over the rules in detail, both for combat, and for the war game. Practice combat, give space for people to calibrate to their opponents. Make sure you have a chance to observe your camp’s fighting technique and proactively talk to people that are getting too intense or taking it too seriously. Practice using oh mother to help each other calibrate heavy hits.

      • During these duels, make sure everybody tries saying oh mother at least once! Calibration will work smoother on the field if they’ve practiced it.

    • Any time you're about to march from the gate with your army, begin with a pre-battle briefing. These can include safety pointers, game rule information, and tips for theatrical combat. Include feedback from referees, other Generals, and your own observations.

      • Speeches and motivational roleplay given before a battle will help it feel like a story, not just a combat exercise.

    • Drills are an opportunity to practice command structure and tactical maneuvers. Give your camp some field experience making formations, responding to orders, communicating info upwards, and fighting alongside each other.


  • After Battle, the Generals play a critical safety role - they help the camp collectively learn from their combat experience. The Generals should actively seek out constructive feedback, especially from the other Generals! 

    • Despite being rivals, after each battle, the Generals should meet for a neutral conversation about how the battle went, sharing information that would help make things more fun or safe. (To make this smoother, pre-agree on a meeting place for these chats.) If a camp is developing a reputation for not taking their hits, or swinging too hard, or you just want to praise certain elements of the camp’s performance, this information can be communicated between Generals and included in future pre-battle briefings.

    • After a battle, referees may ask you to discuss a specific safety topic with your group before you may initiate other war actions. The pre-battle briefing is a good place for these issues and safety reminders, but major issues may need a drill or practice session to make sure everybody gets it.

    • After a loss, the camp mood can get dark. The General and Champion can channel this energy in productive, positive ways. This is a great time for reflecting on what went well, learning from mistakes, and making new plans.


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