Small and medium armies have been a staple of our community since its inception. With most being outmatched by larger opponents in tournaments and wars, should small/medium armies compete amongst themselves?
Small/Medium History Throughout The Ages
For most of our history, small and medium-classified groups comprised a majority of total Club Penguin armies. Though definitions varied in different years, small armies were characterized by an average size of less than ten troops, while medium armies amassed between ten and twenty penguins. Numerous organizations were founded, such as Small Medium Army Central (SMAC) in 2010, dedicated to publishing news about this subsection of the community. Armies were extremely abundant, warranting separated major, medium and small Top Tens. With the presence of prominent non-major armies such as Chaos and the Global Defenders, tournaments for smaller armies were regularly held. In addition, premier news website Club Penguin Army Central (CPAC) made efforts to include the small/medium community.
As the community began to shrink with Club Penguin’s impending shutdown, the small and medium Top Tens were combined. Following the permanent closure of SMAC in late 2016, the small/medium Top Ten and tournaments had ceased altogether. Amidst the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic, organizations such as Club Penguin Army Media (CPAM) and Club Penguin Army Hub (CPAH) featured consistent small/medium Top Tens. In the same year, tournaments exclusive to this subsection of the community made a triumphant return. The Pizza Federation claimed the first Challengers Cup and Beach Brawl, cementing its legacy as an iconic force. With Club Penguin armies soaring in activity, many view this period to be the small/medium community’s peak.
The Inevitable Fall
Parallel to the cessation of COVID-19 lockdowns, the broader community’s condition began a slow yet noticeable decline. The number of armies waned, culminating in the discontinuation of the small/medium Top Ten in 2021. In spite of this, Club Penguin Army Headquarters (CPAHQ) managed to spearhead the Challengers Cup II tournament. Won by the Fire Warriors, Challengers Cup II remains the most recent full-scale small/medium tournament to be hosted. Despite a similar quantity of armies in 2022, Club Penguin Armies (CPA) opted to host Beach Brawl II as a one day event. In the wake of a dwindling pool of armies in 2023, Beach Brawl III suffered a similar fate.
The Club Penguin army community has undeniably shrunk over the past few years. As such, calls for a separated small/medium army league would be rightfully scoffed at. There are simply not enough active armies to constitute a map exclusive for the small and medium category. Though Beach Brawl III witnessed a dramatic clash between the victorious People’s Imperial Confederation and Special Weapons and Tactics, only four armies were invited to participate. The community in its current state is not one in which separation could reasonably take place. However, if conditions were to improve, how would this idea fare?
The Cases For/Against Separation
Benefits for separation clearly exist, if only in hypothetical scenarios. For example, small and medium armies consistently find themselves losing when placed in major tournaments. Due to the considerable size difference, a small/medium army has never once won a community-wide competition. Why force these armies into repeated defeats at Legends Cup or Christmas Chaos? In addition, why should smaller armies have a place on the server map despite an obvious disadvantage? These losses could become demoralizing for any leader aiming for major.
Defeat has always been the means by which we learn. Having led small/medium armies at many points throughout my career, I can safely say that competition with major armies drove me to want more. Losing has always been a part of life on a broader scale. The notion that separation would improve small and medium army morale is inherently flawed. Armies such as the People’s Imperial Confederation, Templars, and Napalm Corps would have not been able to participate in this year’s World War IX. The talent and drive of upcoming groups and individuals would be harder to recognize in a community divided by size.
Though positive outcomes may result from division, it is my personal belief that separation is not the answer. Separating the two categories could have been reasonable in 2020 or before 2013, but the current community climate could not sustain such a format. Even if the community recovers in size (it will), keeping small/medium armies out of major competitions may become counter-productive by stifling growth. However, with few active small/medium armies left, league divisions by size will remain a niche idea relegated to the dark recesses of the community’s consciousness.