Constellation Update: Post Chicago

Wintertime 7 years ago … (have we spent the time well and other ? existentialism aside) … Class 005 of the GORUCK Challenge toured DC, under rucks. The start point was Rose Park, next to my condo, and the class was punching through ice to get in Rock Creek Park no more than 5 minutes after we stepped off — per my promise to them – “this is gonna suck and you’re gonna earn it today.” It was raw, and good fun, and based on how new the Challenge was, change was rapid from class to class.

I’m still in touch with many from that class.

Constellation 005 took on Chicago recently. The differences, Constellation vs. the Challenge, are stark. The Challenge is a gut check, Constellation is learning skills in Urban Survival.

But both events are based on a Special Forces way of life that is the foundation of everything GORUCK. A mindset of being the tip of the spear. And Constellation is evolving, in terms of the classes taught, the skills learned, and the game play involved to make it a fun event to answer those existential ?’s with a resounding yes.

In that sense, Constellation is running parallel to the Challenge.

Constellation – the evolution so far

  • It began as more of a classroom lecture, in the field. Then you go do that. This didn’t work great for various reasons, namely that learning by doing > learning by listening. Especially in the middle of the night.
  • So we evolved that portion, a bit, and added a remote HQ element to the entire dynamic. When tasked to do something, as a team, you receive instructions from your Cadre but then coordinate with “Higher”, who is not on the ground. This is the same way we run our Scavenger hunt events, which allows our Cadre to be more present on the ground, teaching, and not focused on their phone and scoring dynamics.
  • But the classes taught. We’ve evolved those to be less theoretical, more tactical. Hey this is what you need to do to hide, not how you can pass a college exam about the difference between cover and concealment.
  • Urban navigation – expect more on this. If you think listening to Siri tell you what to do all day long, every day is cool, we’ve got news for you: it’s not. You need to know your cardinal directions, anywhere you go, all the time. If you don’t know where you are, how can you know where you’re going?
  • Which brings me to Chicago, Class 005. The biggest addition was the game play. Force on force, team vs. team. This is a different dynamic to manage, and we had to ease into it in this series. After a lot of learning by doing on things like urban shelter, fire starting, water purification, urban navigation, and medicine, it was time to evolve the series. To make it feel a little more real.
    • The teams got to put their skills to the test, as the other teams hunted them. It pays to be a winner.
    • Then they all got to put all their skills to the test in a final exercise. Do this or that (that you’ve already learned and done), but under a little more stress. Call it a race, or a CULEX (Culminating Exercise) for you military types.

Then, … drumroll wait for it … first the Cadre hunt all of you. And then you hunt each other, if we find you.
The goals are simple: learn important skills and put that knowledge to good use over and over again, so that if chaos descends, you’ll know for a fact, like no shit, how to survive, and help others do the same.

Sign up for Constellation here.


  1. Robert Hattan says:

    Glad to see Constellation is evolving based on lessons learned and feedback. Constellation in Dallas was a blast with the HQ Instagram element. Look forward to seeing where Constellation will end up down the road.

  2. Vesta GRT says:

    This Constellation was awesome. Such a great group of Cadre and group of people. The addition of the Force on Force was a blast.

  3. Scott says:

    I’m with Robert…Constellation Dallas was epic and being hunted by the cadres made it phenomenally fun! Can’t wait to see it come around again join in for more aggressive hunts.

    – Scott

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