SCENARIO GAMES: TAKE AND HOLD THE AIRFIELD FOR 45 MINUTES
The photos on this page were taken at Wayne’s World of Paintball in Ocala, Florida during several different 24-hour scenario events. After doing a number of these, I can say that large scale scenario games are definitely what I prefer to play, unlike the smaller group games. There’s a certain sense of adventure in big scenario games that has slowly disappeared from the rec-ball scene over the last decade. The games are usually held on relatively large fields, offer a multitude of smaller styles of games within a game, and more opportunities to make an impact. In scenario games, a player can successfully use styles of play that are simply ineffective in recreational or tournament ball. They also offer a chance to meet and play paintball with a bunch of really cool people. Many of the scenario regulars I’ve met are people burnt out on “regular” paintball and are there because they want a unique playing experience. Overall, they tend to be a lot less concerned about absolute victory, and much more interested in how the game is played. This results in a great attitude toward the game, and lots of fun.
To put it mildly, scenario games are all about variety, and with 24-hour events, offer a LOT of playing time. The scenarios of the game can be based on anything from historic military battles to science fiction stories. A lot of them are what is referred to as “mission oriented”. The format is somewhat reminiscent of military war games, in that both teams have a number of “missions” they must accomplish, and points are awarded accordingly. Missions may vary from holding a strategic point for a given period of time, to destroying an objective, to recovering a specific object. In most cases, the elimination of opposing players does not count for points. Rather than having a direct, simple objective like recreational games, scenarios are more complex, and require a consideration of strategy for success. Many times two opposing platoons on different missions may see each other and choose not to engage in a prolonged battle for fear of not getting the assigned mission accomplished in the given time. At the same, the most massive exchanges of paint I have ever seen have taken place during scenario games which involved hundreds of players. Successful scenario players (and teams) pick and choose when and where to expend their resources.
Scenario games are unique in the equipment allowed. Most allow for such items as radios, multi-shot cannons, ghillie suits, multiple guns, armored vehicles and more. Role playing scenario games also have the addition of characters with special abilities like demolition experts who can destroy structures, combat engineers who can rebuild structures, medics who can heal the wounded, or spies who can infiltrate the opposing team.
One of the new experiences for a lot of first time 24-hour scenario game players is night play. Night play can be fascinating, fun, and down right scary. Engagements generally happen at much closer ranges at night, and most game operators require lower shooting velocities because of that. Paintchecks are difficult to perform at night and players are expected to be on the honor system. As a general rule, any hit is an elimination, whether it breaks or not. The use of nightvision equipment is becoming more prevalent in 24-hour games. As a relatively inexpensive counter-weapon, some players use huge million candle-power spotlights. Night play takes some getting used to, but is one of the facets of the game that draws players, including myself, to 24-hour events.
Most 24-hour events include several scheduled stand-down times for meal breaks, although players can leave the field at any time. A typical game might run from Noon Saturday, to Noon Sunday, with 1 hour breaks at 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. A re-incarnation rule allows eliminated players to return to the field on given time intervals, such as on the hour and half hour. If a player chooses to leave the game on his on accord, he still has to wait for the re-insertion time.
The following suggestions are the result of some of my personal experiences:
- Find out ahead of time about allowed gun velocities. Many fields require lower velocities at night. It’s a good idea to make sure your gun is capable of being adjusted through the necessary range. Some guns will require a spring change or other modification just to operate properly at lower night velocities. Having a back-up gun chronoed specifically for night play helps.
- Take a back up gun or guns (if you can) – it’s no fun spending time on the sidelines working on your piece. It’s much easier and less frustrating to pick up another gun and go, then work on the down gun during a meal break. And even if your gun is the most reliable in the world, your friend’s gun may not be – so have a spare chronoed and ready to go if you can. Along those same lines, kind of back-up items are nice to have along, such as spare parts, clothes, etc.
- Take a flashlight – although a flashlight is a dead give-away at night, it’s still handy to have one if you have to walk off the field, find something you’ve dropped, etc. I usually attach one to my gun so it’s easy to find. I end up taking a lot of laughs from people who make remarks about how ineffective it will be while playing – but that’s not what it’s there for – it’s a safety device and should be considered a necessity for night play.
- Take all of the stuff your local rec-field may be supplying for you. Often with hundreds of players showing up, scenario game organizers can’t afford to have such things as paper towels, or cold water on hand. Think of it as a camping trip in the deep woods and take everything necessary. This could include an awning to provide shade, a portable table, and chairs to set up in your campsite, which especially comes in handy for working on equipment off field.
- Make preparations for playing in the rain, and enduring the rain off field. Despite the best efforts of meteoroligist, the weather is still largely unpredictable. If you have special gear for playing in the rain, don’t leave home on a long trip without it. Again, a shelter such as an awning comes in handy for keeping you and your equipment dry during showers while off field.
- Consider having your group invest in radios, but keep radio chatter to a minimum – use it on an “as needed” basis. FRS radios are getting to be relatively inexpensive and are the most popular types on most fields. They are awesomely useful in large scale games, especially if you get separated from your unit. However, too much radio traffic can bog you down quick. Avoid casual conversation since it ties up the frequency. Also, using a simple earplug keeps unexpected radio noise from giving away your position.
- Don’t overweight yourself with equipment – most people don’t consider how much equipment they are carrying since they’re used to playing in 20 minute games where the harness comes off after it’s over, but when you’re on the field for hours at a time anything can and will become heavy, and this effect multiplies if you try to over-supply yourself for a 24 hour game. Most scenario games have a re-incarnation rule that allows you to return to the field on time intervals. Use the times you get eliminated to reload, swap tanks, etc. or make an agreement with friends where you bring in re-supplies for each other after you get eliminated.
- Pace yourself – trying to go the whole 24 hours is simply not wise for some people (especially us old guys). Pick and choose your play time. For instance, in the middle of the night there may be no action on the field, which would be a good time to get some rest and be refreshed in the morning. (On the other hand, it’s also a good time to score points for your team since opposition is low.) Also consider things like the drive home, how far it is, and how apt you’ll be to doze off on the road and kill somebody if you tried to stay up the whole 24.
- Consider taking a source of drinking water on the field if you think you’ll be playing for long periods in hot weather. With medics to heal your wounds and put you back into the game, it’s easy to be on the field for several hours at a time. A Camel-back style set-up works well and with it’s drinking tube can be accessed without removing your face mask, which is an important feature to include on any on-field drinking device.
- Consider making extra vehicle keys if several friends come to the event with you. It always seems someone needs to get back into the vehicle but the guy with the keys is out on the field. This is also a good safety precaution in case you loose your keys on the field. Along those same lines, keep all of your valuables (money, wallet) and other keys locked in the vehicle. Trust me, it’s just no fun to search a huge field for a lost wallet.
- Take fake props. Often, role-playing type scenario games rely on props for points or accomplishing an objective. Taking something like an old circuit board from a computer, or odd looking object can give you something to barter with off field, or something to bait an ambush on field. In general, players will not know what is a “real” prop, sometimes until the game is over.
- Play for your team – if it’s a mission oriented game, try to accomplish the mission and help the team win. Despite the number of people you personally eliminate, it’s sort of anticlimactic when you’re team loses the game because there were players more interested in their own personal agenda or kill talley. Be willing to work with others on your team. One of the things that makes large scale scenario games so fascinating to me is seeing so many people working together for a common goal. In every one I have played, I honestly think the winning team was the also the best organized.
- Have fun!!! Go with a good attitude and expect a good time and that’s what you’ll find.
- and finally, don’t shoot guys with cameras – they are there to record the game and the chance of your smiling face appearing in a magazine will greatly diminish if you even accidentally shoot one of these guys.. (my apologies to Hollywood)