Founded in January of 2006, Shack Tactical is more than just a group of people who come together to play Arma. It is a quality-over-quantity community of like-minded gamers who want to experience something that works best when everyone is of the same ethos and on the same page, with an investment in each other and the collective.
We are players, mission makers, modders, and most importantly, friends. We're dedicated to developing an experience that we've already spent 15+ years cultivating, guided by a mantra of 'Serious Fun', using Arma as a launching point and platform for our own style of play, but not limiting ourselves to only it.
When you break it down, "serious" reflects our emphasis on game-adapted, rooted-in-realism tactics, techniques, and procedures, as well as our maturity and collective attitude, while "fun" stands toe-to-toe with it to ensure that everything we do is oriented towards making the most enjoyable experience possible for our memberbase.
We deliberately avoid many of what we see as undesirable trappings of "milsim", eschewing things like static in-game structures, out-of-game roleplaying elements like "deployments" and rank formality, and similar restrictive elements. We play as every faction, using all manner of weapons, vehicles, and gear, and doing this allows our mission makers a great deal of creativity in their craft. No one is locked into a role, and everyone is encouraged to develop their skills across the broad range of possibilities Arma offers.
When it comes down to it, words are cheap. With ShackTac, we've been doing this for 15+ years and have accumulated a massive collection of footage showing off our session-to-session gameplay, starting with Operation Flashpoint and going through Arma 1, 2, and now 3. You can find examples of this on my channel as well as on the channels of many other members who post footage of our sessions.
After so many years, I still get a kick out of every session I'm in. I couldn't imagine playing Arma without this community.
Our group principles are the defining facets of what makes our group as solid as it is. Some highlights of these principles follow.
Hopefully that gives you a good idea of where we're coming from. That's only part of the picture, of course - when it comes to applicants, who you are is of great importance as well!
The technical aspects are simple - anyone can download a few programs and install them, after all. If it were that easy to be a member, however, the group would never have amounted to anything. The real meat of it comes in our expectations from our playerbase. In keeping with our views of "Quality over quantity", we are happy to sort through dozens of applicants to find a single quality player. We are selective in who we bring onboard, and the quality of our playerbase and gameplay is a testament to this.
When it comes to reviewing applications, as well as observing the conduct of our probationary "pre-FNG" (aka 'pFNG') members, there are many things that we key in on. Some of the most important of those values are as follow:
You'll note that "skill" does not appear on that list - skill can be taught, after all! Who you are as a person is of far more importance to us - we look for good people with good attitudes who can add real value to our community. Attitude and personality are traits that we have little chance of molding online, and we simply do not have time to deal with people who exhibit bad behavior or sportsmanship from the outset.
At this time we are accepting applicants who are 18 or older only. There are no exceptions to this.
Also note that we are centered around the CST/CDT timezone (GMT -6/-5), and expect our members to participate in our primary Saturday sessions which occur each Saturday starting at 5pm local. We also have Wednesday sessions at 7pm local, and our members play all manner of games throughout the rest of a given week.
Our detailed technical requirements are currently as follows.
The process of joining ShackTac starts with you sending me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, giving me a rundown of who you are, your age, how you found the group, and why you'd like to join. Bear in mind that the quality of the e-mail will be your first impression on me and by association the group itself, so if you are serious and would like a shot at joining us, you're best off taking some time and writing a good e-mail and not just a "Hey, I want to join, let me in" blurb.
Your e-mail needs to have a subject line that starts with [ShackTac Join Inquiry] followed by your in-game nick and then your age and location. This allows me to sort the incoming e-mails more easily, and it's an appreciated courtesy. Due to an incredible number of people applying lately, do not expect a response for at least one month. If you do not receive a followup e-mail, feel free to ask me again after six months - we get a ridiculous number of applications and sometimes they get overlooked. Due to the volume of applicants we receive, I am unable to reply to anyone other than those selected. I also cannot give updates on when we onboard people due to the nature of our current onboarding process, except to say that we generally bring in 30-60 people over the course of a given year, spread out through two or three batches.
Please ensure that your e-mail contains the following information, in this order, as the very first part of it. After listing this info, continue on with your e-mail as normal:
A sample properly filled out subject/initial content looks like this:
ShackTac is centered around the CST/CDT timezone (GMT -6/-5) and all potential members must be able to frequently participate in the primary sessions which occur each Saturday starting at 5pm local.
We're an active-participation group that has activity expectations in the form of community interaction beyond simply playing Arma with us. We spend a lot of time interacting within the community in other games throughout the week as well as simply 'shooting the breeze' with each other in Teamspeak, Discord, etc. Those who are interested in a strictly casual experience will be better served by other communities - ShackTac is oriented around members who are interested in becoming part of a tightly-knit, mature community that is about more than just having a good time in Arma each Wed/Sat.
Also remember that personal skill has almost no relevance to your acceptance in the group, so don't worry if you're not a crack shot or haven't played at our level of teamwork before - who you are as a person is far more important! We're looking for good people with good attitudes who can add value to our community. Skill can be taught; attitude, for the most part, is a personality trait that cannot be altered by us.
If you're a good person, and you're looking for a quality group where words like camaraderie, teamwork, and esprit-de-corps have a sincere and deeply rooted meaning, ShackTac should be right up your alley.
Finally, for those wondering what it's like from the eyes of a new player, here's a quote from one of our prior pFNGs, giving their views on their time in the group up to that point:
I originally came to ShackTac (in June of this year) so I could play Arma and Arma 2 in a large-scale, well-organized, team-based, environment. I felt playing in a community like Shack Tactical would be the best way to get the most out of the Arma games/simulators. I haven’t been let down in my experiences thus far. In fact, my in-game experiences with ShackTac have exceeded my lofty expectations.
I stay committed to ShackTac because I truly enjoy the interaction with the members. My personal experiences with the people of ShackTac have been nothing but positive. Coming into the group as a pFNG, I expected at least some level of clique-ishness to be present … I figured that would be inevitable with such a large group. I expected a somewhat lengthy ‘break-in” period in which I would be treated as what I was --- a “new guy”. In reality, I couldn’t have been more wrong. The members were very welcoming and helpful. Several members went out of their way to assist me with some early technical difficulties. I credit the leaders of ShackTac for fostering a welcoming environment for new joins.
Footage from my 2018 year-end compilation video can be viewed below.