The easiest games to host are ‘speedball’. Those have the fewest rules and the least amount of pre-planning, and the participants don’t need to know much in order to succeed.
A MILSIM Operation departs from this by including a STORY LAYER, a PLANNING LAYER, and a COMMAND STRUCTURE.
START WITH THE BIG PICTURE
Imagine a scenario – based on recent or past events. This is the Story Layer. There’s no reason for militaries to do anything unless there is a motivation, which comes from the scenario. Consider what goals would arise from this scenario. With the scenario and goals specified, the admin can send out a WARNO.
Goals are accomplished my missions.
Use the SMEALCS process to build the Planning Layer from the established goals until you have worked out the logistics. The Situation is the scenario. You may write two different versions of the scenario for the different perspectives and motivations for each side.
Mission – what needs to happen. Defend an area, or occupy an area. Protect an asset or destroy it. Capture or rescue. Hide or find.
Execution – how it needs to happen. You will need props – including the terrain of the field and what you expect individual players to use, like radios – in order to plan the Execution of the OP. Probably the Mission itself will revolve around a prop. The scenario may inspire a new prop!
Administration and Logistics – how to work with other units, time to start, what to bring, etc. What time does a team need to brief; when do they deploy? Will there be transportation? How long will it last? Are there re-supplies? This section is a good place to specify the respawn rule, too.
Command and Signal – there is no MILSIM without a command structure, and there is no command without Signal or PLAN. What are the names of the leaders, who is assigned to which leader, etc. A simple list explains it all.
Since FRS channels are so weak, a best practice is to designate GMRS below FRS for one side and above it for the other. Specify the administration channel, and any off-limits channels.
Two other messages for Operational planning include a Warning Order (mentioned above) and a Fragmentary Order.
WARNO – tell people what’s coming and what to expect. Some events issue the WARNO with the event flyer, and some make a more complete version and send it to the registered players in advance – at least to those signed up to lead.
FRAGO – tell people what’s changed. You might create these beforehand in anticipation in order to troubleshoot what might not work well in your Operation, and to speed up delivering them in the game. For example, add an extra mission with no squad assigned to it as a backup if things go too quickly or don’t work well.
In our experience, serious players appreciate the attention to detail and the formal delivery of important information that the OPORD provides. It’s worth the effort, and also it’s a great template for creating great events.