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Organizing an Invasion
Invasions are one of the things Toy Soldiers are great out. Get a group of toy soldier friends, as few as 3 or as many as 50, or even a 100, find a place to visit, like a theme park, a club, a park, a comic convention, or just your own house.
Have a look through news articles on previous invasions, or ask in the chatroom. Invasions are about having fun, and showing the world how happy you can be doing something you enjoy and are passionate about. This guide is focused on large scale invasions of 10 Toy Soldiers or more.
Sgt. Dutch’s Guide to Security, Safety and Permissions for Toy Soldiers
This is just a short guide covering permissions, safety and security during events. Most of these things should be considered by the event organiser or division leader, or someone who’s got experience in these matters.
First off, let’s start with WHY you need to consider these things. Toy Soldiers predominantly are pretty easy going and tend to be an sensible bunch, however, bureaucrats, police, officials and people with a fetish for paperwork tend not to be.
You have to consider it from their point of view. They don’t know who we are, don’t believe what we tell them, might bring disrepute to them or their event, or worse, think we’re anarchists, nazi’s, or the infamous Anon. If they think that giving you permission is more than their job is worth, they wont do it.
This is why it is important for major events or invasions/infiltrations of major players, to communicate in a way THEY understand, such as bureaucrat’ese (it’s a language all to itself).
If you follow the tips below, you should be able to get permission, and if you’re lucky maybe even get extra help or permission for other stuff from the authorities.
– Do a head count of people attending, and add about 10%, even when you know it’s likely people are going to drop out at the last minute. It’s better to over-estimate than under-estimate.
– Who has first aid experience and will volunteer if needed? Make sure you have their name and phone number, and if they’ve got a certificate, all the better.
– Sometimes for large invasions, the authorities or organisers of the event require that you have people to guide or inform your group. Usually they get called wardens, guides or stewards. If they ask you have them, choose people with experience of crowd control, or those that are well known for working in customer service (believe me it’s a transferable skill for everything). Bright orange armbands help identify them from everyone else.
Those are the three most important matters that large invasion organizers should bare in mind. But sometimes those bureaucrats really want to make you sweat, and so, you might need to put some more work in.
– Underage/minors. Will they require permission slips, and who will be responsible for them? You might have to make a small document to pass to their parents if needed.
– Toy guns, nerf guns, and foam weapons. In places like New York, Washington, London and other high profile cities where you have a paranoid citizenship and trigger happy police, it would be wise not to have them or be brandishing them needlessly. Definitely recommend against BB guns or painted nerf or prop guns. Questions only get asked AFTER a potential threat has been neutralized.
– Private property is a pain in the bum. Especially if it’s own by a corporation or conglomeration. In London for example, it is untrue that all public grass area or parks are truly public and free to use. Agencies have been set up to maintain these places and therefore have a responsibility for them and the people on them. They want to constantly be covering their own behinds in case an accident happen and they get hit with a court case. Even if that doesn’t happen, it’d be bad publicity for them which they dont want. Seek permission or advice from them if needs be.
– When talking to ‘the authorities’ don’t give them the whole Alien Illuminate or Utopian Playland schpiel. They’ll think you’re crazy and tell you to go sling your hook. Instead, tell them we are a close knit organisation or fan club. If a contact address is required, generaly the division leader or invasion organizer should provide it. Always be calm and clear when on the phone, make sure you’ve got all your notes to hand, and try to be as pleasant or in as good as mood as possible. If you’re a pleasure to deal with for them, not only will you increase your chance of getting permission, but you’ll be remembered in the future and make things much easier again.
– On the day, during invasions or infiltrations, always be nice to the police, guards or stewards. Do not give them any reason to reach for their walkie-talkie or weapon. And don’t go spouting off about your rights and such if they are just asking “What are you doing here?”. Make sure that the group knows that you or the organizer is the main contact.
These are just guidelines, not absolute rules. You’ll have to adapt them to the situation as needed, so a certain measure of flexibility is required. Ask for alternatives or suggestions as well. The world is an ugly place, and we’re trying to make it better for everyone, so don’t let that ugliness infest you.
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