Leadership and structure
Out of game VG is divided into four, partially overlapping, groups:
Permanent directing body that operates according to VG Council manifesto. The manifesto has been ratified by a referendum of all VG members. Every VG who has at least the rank of a senior private (private 2nd grade) has the right to apply for council membership. The council deals with day-to-day matters and long term preparations and planning. The council is also the only one with the right to represent VG in out-of-game situations.
Permanent role playing directing body that operates according to VG officer board manifesto and consists of active VG members who have at least the rank of subaltern. Officers board may include NCO's in its deliberations but doesn't have to. If a NCO is included however, he holds the same right as other members of the board. The membership in the officers board is automatic and bestowed upon gaining the required rank. Officers board mainly deals with ranks and promotions but also moral- and ethical issues. It also develops and applies in-game ideology for VG.
The general staff is a temporary directing body that is formed before each event according to the VG General Staff Forming Regulation, set in place by the VG Council.
The membership of the general staff is decided by the head of staff. It is done at his sole discretion.
The general staff organizes and decides everything connected to the specific event.
Being an officer does not include you in the general staff automatically. Also being chosen once to serve in that capacity doesn't mean automatic membership the next time.
Members of VG
This group consists of all VG members, from the recruit to the general. Every member of VG must follow the commands of VG Council and General Staff. Every member of VG has the right to be promoted/demoted or chosen into any directing body, according to rules and regulations.
The smallest administrative unit on the battlefield is a "squad" that consists of 6-15 fighters (standard size 10+1). The squad leader is also a member of the squad, usually a NCO or a senior private. If there is only one squad on an event the squad leader also acts as the leader of VG.
Three to five squads form a platoon. Platoon is led by a platoon commander to whom the squad leaders answer directly. The platoon commander is not a member of any squad nor does he lead any squads directly. Usually the platoon commander is a VG officer or a highly skilled NCO. If there is only one platoon on an event, the platoon commander is also the leader of VG.
Two to four platoons form a company that is led by a company commander (or just Commander). The company commander may also be a member and commander of a platoon within his company. If a company is formed, the company commander is always also the leader of VG.
Although internally VG has the structure to form even larger units (divisions) it is highly unlikely that it will ever be necessary. To date the highest number of fighters VG has fielded has been 141 (in 2012). Since a company can have anything between 60 and 300 fighters, the current system is more than adequate.
In the VG host a leader has always the right to assume command over any of his subordinate units. However observing the chain of command is advised and highly preferable. A leader can not take command of a unit that is not within his subordinate chain of command. Even though his rank or office would otherwise allow it.
Leaders may, but don't have to, assign deputies or set up a replacement system in case of battlefield losses. They can also assign gathering point(s) for all fighters units under their command, if the losses have been severe enough to completely disrupt the chain of command. However usually the loss of command caused by massive casualties is solved with orphaned units or fighters joining temporarily with the nearest organized VG unit.
Freedom and responsibility
as opposed to the common misconception, VG NCO's or even single fighters have the right to make lightning decisions and act on the battlefield if the situation calls for it. Those decisions can be made without order or approval if need be. However the responsibility for the consequences is then also solely on that person. If acting upon an order, only the person giving the order is responsible.
Responsibility is first and foremost moral. Disciplinary punishments are very rare in VG. Usually we try to talk to people, to explain, to teach.
We do understand that situations might be difficult and rapidly changing and there may be cases where the only choices available are bad ones. However completely disregarding an order (ie. acting completely oppositely) is only allowed for most pressing reasons.
Rank and promotion
VG has 15 ranks within its rank system. Those ranks divide into three groups, fighters (3 ranks), NCO's (3 ranks) and officers (9 ranks). The officers are also divided into three groups, junior officers, senior officers and higher officers (each group having 3 ranks).
There are two types of officers in VG, there are so called "battlefield officers" and so called "staff officers". The first ones are extremely competent fighters, leaders and tacticians. The second ones are first and foremost organizers and strategists. Often those qualities can overlap though.
VG has never nor will ever give any ranks "just because". Absolutely every single person holding any rank has had to really work for it and prove himself. We have also cut no corners for the sake of role playing, we haven't created some sort of artificial hierarchy just to make it "more interesting". For soldiers and fighters the promotion is straight forward, each person who joins VG will automatically be assigned the rank of a junior soldier (or trainee). From there on all you have to do is just participate in training's and visit games, until any NCO (usually your squad leader) nominates you for promotion to private or senior private.
Becoming an officer is slightly more difficult and usually starts with your petition. The petition can be verbal but must be specific and clearly communicated. After that the petitioner will be given tasks that would fall within the scope of the rank he wishes to attain. He will always have the chance to ask questions and help however and learn as much as he wants to. Once he has gained enough experience and has proven that he is capable of fulfilling the tasks required by the higher rank, the officers board will decide to promote him.
Most important factor for being promoted is your wish to be promoted! After that you must be ready to spend time and effort to contribute to our common cause. The higher the rank you want to attain, the higher must your contribution be. VG has many opportunities to learn and acquire all necessary skills. You can be promoted for your actions on the battlefield or for preparing and organizing events and people.
Alternatively to petitioners, if a person has not expressed his wish to be promoted but has demonstrated the capabilities, will and motivation to fulfill tasks that fall within the scope of a higher rank, the VG Council may make a proposal for promotion to the officers board.
Currently no one in VG holds any rank of higher officer. The highest current rank is "Commander", that is III tier senior officer rank.
Ranks and offices
No rank in VG (even an officer) means automatically that you get to lead. The rank is mainly recognition and shows the rank holders competence in certain aspects. Unit leader position however is just an office, duties that must be accepted and tasks that must be completed. The ranks are decided by the officers board and given for life. The offices however (positions on the battlefield) are distributed by the General Staff, before each game. Certain offices may require a certain rank but this is rather a guideline than a rule.
Therefore it can easily be (and has happened a lot), that a VG fighter with a lower rank, will sometimes command a higher ranking officer. The reasons for that are many, training and experience for example. It is usually not a problem.
Since leadership position involves serious and real responsibilities, the officers usually welcome the opportunity to play within the ranks - if it is at all possible.
Membership and "chain of command"
This is a big club and fluctuation is large. Some contribute more to VG, others less. Everything is dependent on the wishes of the participant and everyone is welcome. Even if you have earned the rank of an officer and have repeatedly led VG armies, you can always retire into "reserve", distancing yourself from the club and concentrating on school, work, family or other hobbies. Membership and ranks are for life and you can always return if you find motivation for it again.
Although for some of us, VG is much more than a club (it is a fellowship and "second family") it is also clear that for others it is just a hobby - VG understands and respects that. Your contribution and company are always welcome, no matter how large or small that is.
VG has a large number of highly skilled players and fighters. VG has taught and raised hundreds of players on Estonian larp scene. Members of VG have left and started their own (also competing) groups - and we still have very good relations with them. Our approach to the "chain of command" is grown-up and everything is eventually always based on free will.