Saturday, November 15, 2008

Wargamer's Delight

Before I launch off into another RK story, I should say that I'm flying again on IL46. Not a lot and not online, but am enjoying the feel of the virtual wind beneath my wings and the clattering life and death experience of stalking german bombers in my russian fighter plane. Still not a great pilot, but am building a bit of technique up. Beats me how some of the pilots I've seen can be so good!

Back to RK.

One of the joys of this historical MMPORG is the sense of wheels within wheels, layers within layers, always something being beyond the horizon when one tries to understand how the world works. Some of this is in relation to the 'rules' of the coded game (which admin have let the players work out for themselves as a deliberate act of policy).

Much of this sense of 'a bigger world out there', which generates the immersive effect of the game over time, comes from the forum based structures the various players have created to regulate the community. From the Clans and Guilds and Robber Armies to trading emporiums, court and church hierarchies, to governmental structures from town councils to National Assemblies, these larger bodies add meaning to the simple day to day actions of so much that goes on. One of these large organisations is the Royal Scottish Army.

Put simply, Scotland's three counties each has a Regimental structure composed of town bands, each commanded by a Band Leader. The Regiment is commanded by a General, assisted by a Councillor. Together with the Field Marshall sitting on top of the structure, the Generals and Councillors form the RSA High Command. The High Command is answerable to the people through the Steward of Scotland, who spends most of his time in the (s)elected National Assembly.

Most of the soldiers, however, are hardly aware of these arrangements.

The guts of the RSA is its town 'band' structure. Each town maintains its own Band, commanded by a Band Leader. They tend to be subdivided into Groups, which are led by Patrol Leaders. Groups perform the daily work of patrolling, guarding, escorting as required.

Thus, Galloway Regiment has about 50 soldiers organised into five town bands of varying strength and ability, performing a range of tasks that requires steady communication and reliability amongst its members. At its peak we had nearly 100 soldiers, but since then there has been an attrition of leaders as well as troops, partly due the stresses of conflicting goals and ambitions, partly due the stresses of frustrating game system changes over the past three months.

Due various ingame (rebellion, going rogue, being sued) and outgame (loss of connection, lack of time) our Regiment has suffered the loss of its last few Generals over the period when we needed them most. This has contributed to a sense of leaderlessness, which is poison to an army.

So, I was asked to become the General of the Regiment, an honour and a privelege. After considering the additional demands on my time and the stresses I was about to subject myself to, I accepted the promotion.

This is a wargamer's delight. It's like all that theory of supply, logistics, training, command being added on top of the more typical 'military' things of maneuver, combat, deception, coded into a game with thousands of players each taking a little role in character, facing off in real time other groups similarly composed. It's getting close to the 'real thing' as far as admin and organisation go.

I'll be filling in on this blog some of the things I do as general in between the battles which hardly ever happen. It's the stuff between the battles that determine who wins them. So I find it all pretty exciting (in an RK, long term kind of way),

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