Welcome back to Lost Legends, a column dedicated to celebrating the unsung heroes of the community. In each edition, we will shine a spotlight on army leaders who made significant contributions but haven’t received the recognition they deserve. We will also connect with army legends who feel forgotten, listen to their stories, and acknowledge their impact. Every army leader who had a noteworthy impact should be remembered and celebrated.
In today’s edition, we meet an Army Legend nominee, the former Help Force Commander Tistle. Although, Tistle’s reputation as a tuba enjoyer preceeds all of his other achievements in armies. Tistle joined the Help Force on June 24th, 2019, getting hooked by one of their famous stamp collecting events. However, he soon developed a strong attachment to the community. After spending a few months as a troop, he was selected as a Trial Moderator in August 2019. Surprisingly, it took him only two months to rise from there to the army’s leadership. He helped orchestrate a series of fun events and theme weeks as a new leader.
However, things quickly grew dark for the tuba loving, island tour hosting Commander. December 9th, 2019 marked the date of the infamous Help Force Exodus. Following several conflicts with Club Penguin Online Administrator Epic101, discontent grew within the ranks of the Help Force staff. However, Epic101 held ownership of their army’s Discord server. Thus, retired Help Force creator Ayan returned to execute a plan that banned everyone from their old server, transforming an alliance’s server into the new Help Force. Moreover, the Help Force entirely ceased operating on Club Penguin Online and started using Club Penguin Rewritten for all their events.
Obviously, the exodus brought a massive decline in sizes upon the army. Tistle worked his best to ensure the army’s return to its former strength, organizing a successful revamp of the army. He retired in January 2020, marking the end of his first tenure as Commander. Following his leave, Ayan, Spotty and Lottie continued leading the army. The Help Force managed to snag the first place on the Top Ten Armies list in late January, soon after which Ayan retired. During this period, Tistle continued to attend recruiting segments, in order to encourage the members to help the army regrow. However, fate had more in store for his career.
On February 5th, the Help Force staff team couped Spotty and Lottie from the leadership. Moon rose to power as the new Commander, while Juanita served as the Second in Command. Meanwhile, Ayan dragged Tistle back from his retirement to help the army stabilize after the coup. Following the introduction of new recruiting methods, the army’s average sizes rose to above 40. Moreover, it took part in the formation of the league known as Club Penguin Army Media. CPAM served as a league for all the armies operating on Club Penguin Rewritten, and soon became the direct competitor of Club Penguin Online Army League. Tistle faced a defeat in the first ever tournament held by CPAM. However, this only fueled the Helpers’ hunger for a tournament victory.
The Help Force took part in two short lived wars during the early period of Tistle’s leadership. The first war erupted against the infamous Recon Federation of Club Penguin. Only one battle took place in this war, that concluded with both sides claiming victory. The Help Force also declared war against the Army of Club Penguin in the World War Rewritten, breaking their former alliance with the Clovers due to evidence of trash talking. However, the war concluded without any battles taking place between the estranged allies. This was partly due to the two sides agreeing to remain neutral soon after the declaration.
The conclusion of the two wars ushered in a period of peace for the army. Tistle continued to actively aid in the army’s growth, with aggressive recruitment policies. His coleaders departed from the army, leaving him as a solo leader during peace time. The advent of Club Penguin Army Hub soon brought news regarding the Legends Cup X. This tournament became the golden moment of Tistle’s career.
In the lead up to the tournament, several major armies such as the Rebel Penguin Federation, the Pirates, the Doritos, the Ice Warriors, the Dark Warriors, and many more had proven their intimidating strength. Most of the armies mentioned above had held events that maxed 100+. Therefore, it was fairly obvious that one of these powerhouses would be the ones to snag the title of Legends Cup X winner. However, Tistle had other plans. The period of peace was not wasted, as he worked hard to transform his army into the underdog no one ever expected.
The Help Force quickly cleared their path to the last stages of the tournament, defeating the Royals and the Silver Empire. However, the army did not max above 50+ during these two battles. They faced their first real challenge in the quarter-finals battle against the Doritos. In a battle that shocked the entire community, the Tistle led the army to a victory against the gargantuan Chips. However, several armies questioned the legitimacy of this battle, as the Help Force had never hit such sizes in a tournament prior to this battle. The investigation by the league yielded no proof of illicit activities from either armies, cementing the Help Force’s victory.
Tistle continued the underdog story by securing a win against the Dark Warriors in the semi finals. This also paved their way to the finals. Unfortunately, the story was not meant to have a happy ending. The Helpers narrowly lost the finals against the Rebel Penguin Federations, the army that later became famous for completely dominating 2020. Following the demoralizing loss, Tistle continued his efforts to help the army grow. This point in his career marked the Help Force’s rise to becoming an AUSIA powerhouse army. Tistle also assisted in launching the Help Force Island, a CPPS that featured custom rooms, stamps and parties to encourage increased activity.
The Help Force soon started regularly maxing in the 60s, defeating armies like the Clovers and the Special Weapons And Tactics in practice battles. Ultimately, Tistle announced his retirement in late August 2020. His decision to retire at a high point surprised many, but regardless, he left behind an irreplaceable legacy. His contribution to the Help Force earned him the title of Help Force Stalwart. Moreover, he also became one of the nominees for the 2020 Legends Inductions. However, he lost the voting, with only one vote rooting for his induction.
Club Penguin Armies reached out to the former Commander, who now spends his days defending his tuba from thieves, for an interview.
What is the hardest thing that you overcame in your CPA career?
I took over HF after the famous coup in early 2020, and there was a major rebuilding and revamping in the first few weeks. HF was a pretty big army, but not close to challenging juggernauts like RPF, IW, DW and DCP, fighting in the latter stages of tournaments and on the world map. Even armies of similar size like WV and ACP were close matches to us. We had a difficult time recruiting on CPR (with their anti-army rules) and despite rebuilding our numbers in the discord server, retaining active members to participate in army activities was much harder than anticipated.
Alongside that, maintaining a reliable staff team and sustaining our vigorous weekly schedule of recruitments and events while also trying to keep the army fresh and enjoyable with motivated troops was quite tiresome, given everyone’s busy life schedules. The pandemic worked in our favour but it also benefitted every other army. Solving our own problems in our server was more important than worrying about other armies was crucial for our long-term health (probably why HF’s longevity has been so impressive) and I wasn’t prepared to be the leader that let HF consume itself in its own drama. We went from being a major army in CPO to a small army again, an adjustment to this new reality took time to recover from.
The health of the army was at the fore-front of our priorities, and maintaining that in a period where you don’t have enough other leaders, reliable staff and troops to back you was definitely the most challenging part of being a leader.
Who were the people you looked up to during your career?
As a troop of HF and as a leader, this answer varies. As a troop, Spotty was the leader that brought me up from nothing and put faith in me to succeed her once she was prepared to retire. As this didn’t happen, by the time I was made leader, Ayan was the one had to assure the army could stabilise after the coup and was in the background while I was leading. He was away studying a lot but returned to advise and mentor at important times (such as tournaments) which made a big difference in the outcome of important battles. Spotty and Ayan were the main leaders while I was a troop and were both great leaders of the army, so there were no better people to look up to than them.
You managed to take HF from being unknown to becoming well known as tournament giants. What do you think is the most important thing for leaders looking to replicate such success?
The key is creating a positive environment that breeds success. The hype we used to generate before battles was immense. Other leaders that followed learned this too. We had to hype the events days, even weeks in advance. And not just spamming in all caps and shouting at new recruits the moment they walk through the door, but giving them a feeling of belonging and importance. Recruiting is great, but you need to retain the loyal members you already have.
Growing as a troop, attending events meant being promoted through the ranks, and missing these key events or battles would mean missing out on these promotions. I wanted to gain promotions in this group which I had started to settle into, because I had a feeling of belonging. This meant interacting more and more each day, and making sure I was present when my friends were too, so they’d remember me. I made a name for myself in some fun-events, befriended staff and troops and was online as much as possible. When I missed an event, I would get serious FOMO and would always want to make up for that. As a leader growing through an army, you experience this. You can then sympathise with newer members and give them the feeling of belonging that they need to keep interest in the group. That’s what creates the positive environment – a group of people with a sense of belonging and that actually want to be there, not having someone unknown shout at you to attend something you don’t want to go to.
Newer generations of leaders often express their concerns about veterans expecting them to recreate the Covid-era “fun”. What do you think of this clash in opinions?
It’s difficult. We’re talking about Club Penguin, a Disney game made in 2005 where most people played when they were kids aged 5-13. They then returned to relive the nostalgia as older teenagers but once you relive the nostalgia you just move on, play more modern games or just grow up and start living life. Armies are fun for a time, but are also quite repetitive and tedious. We’re now in a generation where those original Club Penguin players have mostly moved away now, and the element of nostalgia is gone. Keeping people engaged with a game like this is borderline impossible with the demographic it has now. I don’t envy these leaders, it’s harder than ever. Most players returned to Club Penguin during the pandemic, and that effect has worn off entirely.
But most importantly, life is more important. Always. Club Penguin shouldn’t be anyone’s ‘main game’ anymore, especially as it’s not even a reflection of what it used to be a decade ago. Committing time out of your busy schedules of school/work/university to play Club Penguin armies no longer has the same meaning that it used to have 3-4 years ago.
Will you ever return to the army community?
Probably not. Even if I had the time, as I mentioned, Club Penguin is now a game of the past. I’ve had my fun playing it and reliving it but I’m hardly ever on discord anymore let alone playing games. Despite the time I spent in armies, I didn’t enjoy them as much as other army leaders would have. It was always pretty stressful and a lot of work. When I retired, I retired for good. I’m still in the HF server as a reminder to myself of the time I spent and the happiness it served while I was active there.
Do you think you are a Lost Legend?
I don’t think so. I achieved a fair amount as a leader of HF but a lot of that was within the army itself, not so much on show for the whole army community to see. I’ll always be remembered most for the Legends Cup X run that took HF to the finals, and had HF won that, then maybe. I avoided conflict and the world map, and only achieved as high as 3rd on the top ten rankings, so there I don’t think there’s actually that much noteworthy achievement there to be considered. I was also not greatly known in the community whereas other CPA legends are legends for a reason, whether they had large success or were leaders for years. I was nominated, but I would’ve been very shocked had I got it.
Despite his humble reply, Tistle is the prime example of a revolutionary leader. Unlike several ‘career leaders’, he remained loyal to the only army he ever led through thick and thin. He took over the army at one of it’s lowest points and led it to achieve one of the greatest rises in CPPS history. His leadership paved the way for future generations of leaders to ride on the success he achieved. He accomplished his goal of making the Help Force an army that frequently hit the Top Three and his legacy is continued to this day. However, his leadership did get tainted post retirement following a highly publicized internal drama. Although, the incident involved a small group of people compared to the large community that continued to support him. He is truly a Lost Legend of the army community.