When you’re playing at war, never underestimate the usefulness of a twelve year old boy.

It’s never fun to lose, and it’s even less fun to lose to the screeching mouth-breathers you find on Xbox Live. In Issue 286 of The Escapist, Chuck Wendig recounts the tale of his team’s trouncing in Call of Duty 4, and how only the confident leadership of a pre-pubescent English boy could turn their fortunes around.

A leader – not just a soldier, but our general – rose from the madness.

I’ll call him Pip.

He sounded like Oliver Twist: “Please, sir, can I have some more?” … Or, as the name I’ve given him suggests, Pip from South Park, the little English boy with the bright blonde hair and the little cap.

Pip came to us without pretension, without a rallying cry. He simply said, “Meet me on the north side of the road,” then explained which building he was in and told us to watch for snipers coming out of the West. (Crossfire, the map that staged the battle, is essentially a landscape of dusty desert buildings with a zig-zaggy road in the middle.)

I listened. I followed. Two others on our team did the same while the rest ignored Pip’s instructions, running around like idiots with buckets on their heads, playing a game of grab-ass as they died again and again. Those of us who showed up found Pip – looking quite unlike the ankle-biting squirt you’d expect, what with our avatars all being tough-and-burly soldiers – and when we met his mark, he gave us our orders like it was the new normal, like this was how things had to be.

Despite his youth, Pip was a skilled communicator and an able commander, and through his leadership, a squad of digital marines eventually gained the upper hand. You can read more about it in Wendig’s article, “The 12 Year Old Kid Who Carried Us to Victory.”

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