BTW I met SHWELL over at the Russian CRC. At the time I was pretty wiped out from running around the AO. Wish I could have met up with you guys again later.
Having been to two other MGP National Level Events, I was somewhat disappointed in this one. For this I left 3 stars. Overall though I really did have a good time and so did my fellow Russian FIST members. By the second day, I started talking with other players (from the tan side and green side) and started building my AAR and suggestions. First, I'll list the pros an cons:
2. Amount of staff
3. General good sportsmanship from tan side
1. Lack of organization and preparation
2. Inconsistency in rules and lack of knowledge of the scenario by MGP staff
3. Lack of communication amongst command structure
4. Player briefs/debriefs?
5. Bad sportsmanship
6. CRC and respawn carts
We loved the facility. There really isn't much more to say here. It was as expected and/or greater than expected. Great pick MGP.
Amount of staff
The amount of staff on the field was impressive and I felt MGP got this part correct. Efficient utilization of the staff and knowledge is a different story but it was good to see a staff member present at every major firefight we were in.
Tan, for the amount of crap you guys went through on the second day, all that I can say is that you guys rock. The FIST team and about two other squads had a group from Colorado held up in the city about mid-second day. You guys gave us a great firefight and I appreciate you not having a sour taste in your mouth due to everything that was going on. I noticed that a lot of tan had left by the second day and this made me feel really bad for the tan players and really everyone overall. It sucks not having anyone to shoot at :)
Inconsistency in rules and lack of knowledge of the scenario by MGP staff
This really bugged me. It seemed that the staff had it within their power to manipulate the ruleset. This is a good thing for game play/scenario based rules but isn't good for essential core rules such as calling hits, vehicle hit rules, and grenade kill radius. I saw all of these manipulated at staff and at times I could see how the opposing team would hate this. There's also the whole ordeal I went through with establishing link-up with MGP Tornado3-->FIST. The staff didn't seem to understand that this was a staff to FIST team communication and shoved it off as an internal issue on Russian command.
Lack of organization and preparation
This was a big issue for MGP. I feel that it's unacceptable to have an event that costs this much where the higher command positions are not regulated or aggressively managed by MGP, if not completely staffed by MGP altogether. I feel as if command was just left up in the air to "work out". This can't be expected to go over very well when you have players who are paying $200 to have fun. It just isn't fair to them. Due to this mentality, alpha company green side did not even have a CO. We had LT "Moreno" from Sheepdogs step up (awesome dude by the way) thankfully but this just added more strain on him and took focus away from his PL position. Also due to this let it "work out" mentality, there was a disjoint in communication amongst command. Talking to Red6 (green overall CO), he had no internal radio comm with any of green side's other officers. This made it very hard for fragos to be handed out to the squad level. I feel that at an event that is this big and costs this much, it is MGP's defacto responsibility (like it or not, players will hold MGP accoutnable) for making sure internal preparation and organization for command and communication runs smoothly. This is said in perspective and understanding of possible issues caused by equipment and signal issues as that was a prominent issue as well.
Lack of communication amongst command structure
From my perspective the lack of internal communication amongst the command structure was caused by three things; subchannels, general lack of radio channel standardization, and signal issues. For the love of communication, please PLEASE lets not use subchannels in the future. For one, my high output radios have to be programmed for subchannels ahead of time. They can do subchannels yes, but if this is changed at the field to something we didn't agree on ahead of time, it causes chaos - most especially for an element as critical as FIST. No big deal though as we adapted by having a low power spare FRS walkie just in case this happened. Only problem is this forces us to low power and having to step out into the open to communicate more than usual.
There also seemed to be an issue with an understanding of how FIST communications were supposed to work. MGP staff did not seem to be monitoring the channel that I was told ahead of time (by Mac) would be used for calling in fires -- channel 10. I asked several staff members on the field what I should do. They all mentioned this was an internal comm issue and that I would need to escalate through Russian command structure. Funny thing is that it was my PL who told me to ask the admins for direction. We tried channel 10, channel 7 (Russian central comm net), and even channel 13. I was concerned that no one responded to anything on channel 13 in case of real injury. Eventually I was told to go inside to admin building and Simmons lent me a radio. +1 to MGP for fixing that issue.
However, we still had the issue with internal command communication and ID for where we needed to lay down the fire missions. On a personal level for the FIST team, this made us feel pretty inefficient after the initial first 3-5 calls for fire at the beginning of the game. The only reasons those worked out were due to the orders outlining that alpha company would have fire priority/FIST detachment at the beginning of the game and we were right there within verbal of our CO (Wolf 36). After 12-1PM though it seems Tornado3 (MGP admin for calls for fire) went dead. We couldn't get him on the horn (remember at this point we are using MGP's black box radio) at all regardless of where we were. I could have been standing outside of the admin building and wouldn't get a response. Thankfully, we ran into Mac at one point and just called the fire in to him directly. Any chance for calls for fire after 1PM on the first day were history though. Sorry for this Sheepdog LT/Wolf 36. I just couldn't get Tornado3 after around 13:00. Reading through other player's commentary it seems this may have been due to our SAM sites being destroyed. Regardless, I didn't get that memo. That night I returned the radios around ~7pm. The next day I asked for them back or if the communication issue had been remedied and was told calls for fire responsibility had been turned over from FIST to Russian command. This was understandable considering the chaos around trying to get this to work. Overall though, I really enjoyed being able to get Tornado3 on the other end (when I could) and hearing the splash confirmation and seeing our guys benefit from the efforts. This was really cool and I would like to see more stuff like this in the future.
Did we have a safety briefing? We were heading towards admin building around 9:25 but were told that the breifing had already happened by our CO. Is this true? If so, why not stick with the schedule? If not, then this is another argument as to why it would be ideal to have MGP staff in CO positions.
Debrief. Did this happen? If so, what time and where? I am guessing the admin building. By the time we walked all the way from the front lines to the CRC, unloaded our gear, and got hydrated, Mac and the others were pulling up at the vendor area for the raffle.
I was really disappointed to see that on the second day, in light of the majority of the tan players having left, green players taking buildings as if they were invincible or something. I watched a squad of cocky players run up into a building, the first three players clearly take 3-5 BBs each as they burst through the door, and continue up the stairs as if nothing had happened. This was low. Very low. Shame on you people. On the other hand, one of our players attempted to throw a grenade to the second floor, it bounced back, and landed ~20 feet away from me and discharged. It was reassuring to see an admin come over and walk off the distance to check and make sure I was calling legit grenade hits.
CRC and respawn carts
I really would like to have seen staff manned and provided respawn carts from mid-field to CRC. There were times that I felt fairly light headed walking back from the front lines to the CRC with the heat beating down on me. It would have been great if we had a transport system about mid-way from the rubble pit area to the CRC. It would only be one-way so that it couldn't be used for deployment.
This is really low priority considering the other concerns that have been voiced but I would have loved to see more civilians running around and/or interactive actors based on the scenario. Maybe a civilian police force scenario etc. Random theatrics stuff like that really makes the event more interesting and fun to me. We had a little bit of this a few years back at Blanding and it was great!
With all this being said, I had a great time and I wanted to issue a big thank you/shout out to the following:
-MGP Productions for the event
-Guardian Center for letting us use the venue
-UN Chick for taking pictures
-Talon (Chad Boone) for good times and memories
-Russian leadership (Red6, LT "Moreno", and Wolf36) for sticking in there and stepping up to the plate
-Tan multicam guys from Colorado. We fought you guys near the end of the second day. I was the guy outside with the DMR by the white SUV shooting at you. I appreciate your sportsmanship and that was one hell of a firefight
Thank you all,