CTF Flow Chart

Team Member Specialties

Pre-Game Recon

Find write-ups of previous games, read through them, make a quick summary of important points to distribute to other team members.

Example: ASIS CTF zips every file with a strange .xz format; everyone needs to know how to open the files.

Pre-Game Organization

A Manager needs to step up, and accomplish these tasks:

During the Game


Should know what each team member's schedule is, and generally what they are working on. This should be accomplished without irritating people. Ideally, the manager should be helpful to the technical competitors, effectively offering advice, alternatives, assistance, etc.

The manager should have a progress chart like this as the contest moves along, and a list of competitors who can be sent to help people who are stuck.

Contest Recon

Watches the game board and the IRC channel for useful tips, new problems, revisions, hints, etc. Also watches for easy problems that no one is working on, so people who are stuck can be redirected to them.

Individual Problem Recon

There are often other related problems from similar CTFs, and blog posts with tips and clues. Someone should be searching for tips, focused primarily on questions that people are stuck on.

Stuck Workers

People who are stuck on a problem should have a way to ask for help. Common reasons to be stuck:

Technical Experts

Competitors work on problems they are experts in, making progress. As long as things are proceeding, they should be left alone, uninterrupted, except for regular status reports to the manager, or emergency requests for help.

Halftime Break

The team should meet for dinner or lunch halfway through the competition, so people can get away from the struggle, get ideas, and boost morale.

Post-Game Review

A day or so after the game ends, the team meets to discuss what went well, what problems occurred, and how to improve things next time.


Individual problem write-ups are essential, and revisions to roles, procedures, etc.

Posted 9-6-16 by Sam Bowne