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Tips on organizing a perfect reenactment event

After a decade of experience in participating and organizing airsoft games and reenactment events I decided to put my thoughts to paper, or, realistically, on the screen. Given the fact that I am unlikely to organize any more events in the future - this passage will be a complete one and is unlikely to see any changes in future.


Setup

The idea and philosophy behind the game is the foundation for the good event. It is for the best to have a clear picture, at least in your head, of what you want to achieve. The type of game you are looking for, what people you want to attend, the basic timeline and the venue. Do not run for big numbers. The best games I have ever attended never had more than 50 participants.

reenactment event

Try not to overcomplicate things. If you are new to event organization, do not attempt to create a LOTR or GoT multiverse in your scenario. You can write a very detailed explanation, but 90% of attendees will be there to "run around and shoot at people". Just bare it in mind.

Scenario

As was mentioned in the previous paragraph, regarding the scenario - KISS. Keep it simple-stupid. At the same time, it is impossible to organize a perfect event with the simplistic scenario. And you will not enjoy it yourself. The key here is to have at least some people who are into the whole lore of the timeline that you are creating. You do not need too many of them - it is usually couple of people per side who can keep the game rolling. So, create a compelling and immersive storyline that adds excitement to the event. This could involve mission objectives, role-playing, or team-based scenarios - you know the options better than I do.

reenactment event

But make sure that key people have actually read your scenario and know what they are doing and where they have to lead their teams. And here is the trick to educate everyone else - have a mission briefing and force your key people hold briefings to their man. While most players won't read your posts on the web prior to the game, they are very likely to to be more switched on and listen to their game leaders during the event.


Bonus tip: Include a mix of objectives to keep players engaged. All these small skirmishes really appeal to some cohorts of the players. And this is where you can really show off some of your equipment or craftsmanship skills. I was once on a mission to rescue a pilot from a fallen helicopter. When I came over to the coordinates, well, the actual full size UH-1 was there.

reenactment event

Organization

The housekeeping part of the event is usually a mundane task, but it is a necessity nevertheless. It is great when you are not the only person who is taking care of the event - that way it is best to assign the most disciplined gut from your group to keep control of timings, informing, money collection and other tasks.

reenactment event

However, it is not unusual to be that guy yourself. In this case, you will have to practice some simple bookkeeping tasks. Overall, for all the events which I organized, I used to estimate the number of people attending and plan my spendings accordingly. I was never making the events for profit sake, but I also avoided loosing any money and paying out of my pocket.

After you have done the initial plan, just keep a simple spreadsheet with all the incomes and spendings - this way it is really hard to go wrong and end up doubling your bank loan at the end of a weekend airsoft game.


Weather

The good weather is something we always hope for when going outside. Even when its a two hour long walk in a park, we prefer it to be dry and sunny, not to mention a two day trip into the wilderness. But the nature has its own plan and we have no means to control it.

The big question is raised two days before the event, when the weather forecast is predicting something other than a perfect weekend for a family picnic. People see high winds, poring rain or snowstorm and some immediately decide to skip the game.

reenactment event

That, in my opinion, is both poor spirit and wrong choice. Of course, depending on the geography of the venue and other practical factors it might be close to impossible to actually get to the place. But in every other case - do not hesitate to follow the plan and execute the event. The rule here is simple - the worser the conditions, the more memorable they will be. I have organized dozens and attended hundreds of events, but I can only clearly remember the ones when it was like -20 degrees Celsius or when we had to live under the rain for two days straight. People cherish these memories - give them the opportunity to get them.


People

Speaking of people - they are, of course, the most important part of any event. And actually sharing poor conditions with other players generates the bond between you - these guys can later become the core of your team.

reenactment event

Having right people on the event is key to the success. The question is how to get the right people and it is not a simple one to answer. Overall, it will take time and a good number of events to come up with the right crowd. And do not get fooled - even the "right" people get board after years of events and retire from the hobby after some time.

But, this is just the simple reality of life and you have to accept it. This will happen in any and every community. The goal is, just like with anything else, to retain the community and to have a constant inflow of fresh members. To do this, you will have to apply some marketing skills, but this is a topic for a separate article.

Food

Over the years the organizational efforts of my team have narrowed down a lot. We stopped running after big numbers, we wouldn't care for a complicated multilevel scenario. What we did enjoy a lot is cooking and eating outside the city walls. Essentially, out reenactment games ended up being a picnic, or, as we politely called it - "gastro-military tourism". Just remember - a good meal can take you a long way!

reenactment event

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