I promised myself I wouldn't post anything more to any Sock Wars boards because they were beginning to make me (more) crazy. I can, however, release my frustration here.
Gauge: To knit the socks for the war, you need string and pointy sticks that will get the specified gauge. That's it! It doesn't freaking matter what size needles the partially knit socks you receive are knit on. Each knitter is obligated by the war rules to knit to gauge. You put their work on the needles you used to get gauge and away you go. You don't NEED their needle size. You don't NEED to swatch with their yarn. Who cares if they knit them both at once???
*Swatch in the round with the yarn you've chosen. If you don't get gauge, repeat from * with different needles until you do. The End.
Pattern: To knit the pattern for the war, you're obligated to follow the pattern AS WRITTEN. The stuff about embellishments means you can add beads or intarsia in a message in a contrasting color. It does NOT mean you knit toe up if the pattern is written as cuff down. It does NOT mean you can get all cutesy and use your own personal heel technique. The point is that everybody does the same pattern the same way. If you are afraid that the pattern will use a technique you don't know, go learn it. Sheesh.