Monday, March 16, 2009

Stalingrad '09 Pictures

My personal stats for this game can be found in the Play Log section of my brigade page.

The last three pictures were taken by Skirmish Photos. The other photos were taken with my LG enV2

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Russian Front '09 Pictures

My personal stats for this game and my game notes/comments can be found in the Play Log section of my brigade page.

Barrels of Fun!
I'm not sure who took this photo???

Russian Front '09

Russian Front was, once again, brought to the small town of East Hampton, Connecticut. Snow had blanketed the battlefield but the fire was stoked in the hearts of the German and Russian troops. The temperature was mild, the sky clear and the fighting fierce.

Every inch of ground was hard fought over. Towards the end of the day, it looked as though the Russians were in control of several key field positions but the Germans were raking in mission and prop points. In the end, it was the Russians who claimed a narrow victory over the Germans, 511 to 509. This ended the Team Extreme Measures twenty-two game winning streak but with such a greatly played game and close ending, there was absolutely nothing to be upset about.

Strategy Plus does a great job with their scenario games. I'm pretty sure the number of players at this game neared, if not exceeded, three hundred. Keep in mind this is for a game in February and that winter games usually draw smaller crowds. Obviously many others agree about the quality of play at Strategy Plus! Keep an eye on them for details on their next scheduled game (Should be War Of Attrition in April).

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Paintball 101 (Part 2)

For the second installment of Paintball 101, I'd like to touch upon a few different ways paintballers play their game. Before I was a paintballer, I was a skier and I introduced a number of my friends to that sport. Of course, when people invision trying something new they bring their pre-conceived ideas of what it would be like. With skiing, people would envision adrenalin junkies hucking it off cliffs, tricksters bounding down the moguls or speedsters barreling down a run. The truth of the matter is that there is a spectrum of activities to fit the ability and energy levels one brings to the sport. I feel this is as true for Paintball as it was for skiing.

The most common form of play at your local paintball field will probably be a Rec Game (as in Recreational). Your local field may have multiple fields on which to play. After a saftey brief, two teams are divided from the available players and a ref usually chooses a field on which to play. Depending on the where the ref chooses, you may be playing in the woods (with just trees or the natural terrain for cover), a town (consisting of a cluster of simple buildings) or a "Speedball" type field with inflatable bunkers. Other common bunkers / features that you may find are wooden pallets, old vehicles, large-diameter corrugated drainage pipes or even multi-level castles. The two most common objectives for a rec game would be to capture and return with the opposing force's flag or to eliminate the opposing team (referred to as Capture the Flag and Elimination). If the players tire of this style of play a ref will sometimes suggest a simple scenario for a game. A popular scenario objective would be for two or three players to defend a building against a larger force (รก la Blackhawk Down) or for a small force to escort a VIP to a location on the field with out the VIP or team getting eliminated (VIP Escort). Rec Games are usually short and don't last more than 10-15 minutes. On a small field, it's possible for the game to only last a couple minutes. When a player is eliminated, he or she waits until the next game to play again.

Out of the original recreational games evolved a style of play commonly referred to as speedball. Speedball is probably the type of game you'd see on ESPN and it is played on professional, semi-professional, regional, and local levels. There are various leagues and organizing/sanctioning bodies that maintain there own sets of play rules. Layouts vary but a speedball field usually has symmetrically laid out inflatable bunkers and the games are a combination of Elimination and Capture the Flag with a defined scoring system. Players are on teams that could vary from a group of neighborhood friends playing in an amateur division to paid athletes from around the globe playing a Pro division. Tournaments vary from local to international. Speedball fields are fun to play on whether your a tournament player or a beginning recreational player. A rec game on a speedball field tends to be quick and rewards players who communicate well and move quickly.

A third form of play is Scenario paintball. Very simply, this style of play has a game designed around a particular back-story or "scenario". The game objectives are weaved into the story-line and points are awarded to the teams that complete the objectives. A tally of the points at the end of the game reveals the winner. Scenarios vary from historical battles to fantasy/science fiction to themes based on video games and motion pictures. The scenario possibilities are only limited by the imagination of the players and producers. Scenario games based on WWII battles are prolific. Name a battle and someone has probably done a scenario game based on it. Skirmish USA in Pennsylvania has a game based on the Invasion of Normandy that well over 4,000 people attended a few years back. Over 4,000 also attend Oklahoma D-Day, where the festivities are a week long! Of course these are extreme examples. A small local field may see under 100 players and a medium size field could see 300-500 players. Over the past few years a number of fields have started running small monthly scenario games as well.

In forms of paintball other than scenario, players generally want to shoot out as many of the opposition force as possible. In scenario games it may be more advantageous to avoid many firefights. Completing objectives is far more important than eliminating members of the other team. Besides the fact that points are not usually given for eliminations, eliminated players usually respawn from their "deadbox" every 15 minutes, or in some cases, continually (an eliminated player would only be out for as long as it takes to walk to the designated re-insertion point). Some scenario objectives could be to take and control an area of the field, to find and retrieve an object, to escort a VIP or to place an object, an explosives satchel perhaps, at a given location. Of course counter-missions could be to defend a position, to protect an object, to capture or assassinate a VIP, etc. Most teams need good control of a field to run a bunch of missions. If your the type of player that is not interested in actually running missions and would rather be in firefights all day, there is still plenty of action for you at a scenario game. The missions will win the game, but your team's field position makes running the missions possible. Scenario games have places to utilize the strengths of various players of differing play styles. At many games, newer players newer are often sent to the front lines while some of the more seasoned teams generally run the missions. This is not always the case and it's not always done purposefully. Newbies tend to follow the sounds of the firefights and sometimes may be intimidated by the complicated business of mission running. The experienced mission teams know where to go and who to talk to for missions. If you think you'd like running missions, find your side's general or XO and ask to tag along with a mission team.

I've detailed a bit more in this post about scenario paintball because it's the type of paintball that I play most. I think a scenario game is a great place for a first timer or beginner to play. As I mentioned before, many times re-insertion is continuous so while you may have to take a walk to respawn there shouldn't be too much downtime where your standing around waiting to play. Also this gives time to fill up your air tank and get more paintballs if needed. When it comes time for you to re-engage the opposing force, you may have a chance to access the battle from a new angle.

My next game is Stalingrad at Skirmish USA on March 14. Let me know if your interested in going.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Paintball 101 (Part 1)

Some time has past since I've written an "intro to paintball"-type of post. Since my last post of this type, some of the information has changed and it seems that the target audience has as well. While I still seem to have some younger cousins that are showing interest in paintball, I have had a bunch of people, 20 & 30-somethings, that have shown some interest as well. Typical questions usually range from 'what equipment should I get', to 'where are good places to play', to 'how do the games work?'

For young and old, no matter what style of paintball you decide to play, the one thing I would stress is choosing to invest in play-time over marker and equipment upgrades. Getting sucked into wanting the latest 'this' or best 'that' can be WAY to easy and in the end your equipment is only as good as you can effectively use it. It's best to first get some experience and then see what equipment you would like to use. Usually, for any first timer I would recommend renting a marker. By marker, of course I mean your paintball air gun. Most of the industry decided to call paintball guns markers. It was the user friendly / politically correct way of not getting disapproving looks from non-players when paintballers were talking about their sport. Personally, I think it probably had more to do with making paintball more attractive to soccer moms shopping at Walmart for their kids. (No disrespect to soccer moms) The term 'marker' is generally more digestible to many than the term 'gun' especially when it comes to kids.

Make no mistakes regarding a paintball marker though. It is not a toy and it can cause serious damage if handled without caution and used without the proper protective gear. By far the most important piece of that gear will be your facemask. Eyes, ears, noses and mouths do not take well to paintball hits. All of the rental packages at any of the paintball fields that I've been to have include a paintball mask as standard equipment for good reason.

All fields will usually offer some way to carry paintballs as well. Paintballs are usually carried in a pod and the pods are usually carried in a pod pack (or paintball harness). The rental type usually looks something like this. Marker, mask and paintballs are the basic components of your gear that will be needed for a day of paintballing. Most fields will offer a rental of coveralls so that you don't get your clothes full of paint and subsequently on the ride home, your car seats.

The good part about going to a field and renting is that they will have everything you need to get going and it is their job to make sure you know how to do it safely. They will remind you to ALWAYS keep your mask on. They will remind you to keep a barrel blocking device installed when in a staging area. (This is usually a plug or small bag that goes over or in the end of a barrel). They will lay out the rules of the game and should be making sure players are obeying those rules, making for a fair and safe game. They will take care of any equipment technical issues that may arise with your rental. You should be busy having fun and shooting your friends worry-free. Going to a paintball field, as opposed to backyard somewhere is definitely the way to go, especially for someone just starting out. It's safer and usually more fun. Once you've played a couple times, you will know if this sport is something you then want to invest your time and money on. You will also have a better idea what equipment you'll want.

I have a scenario game this weekend at Strategy Plus in East Hampton, Connecticut. Strategy Plus does offer rentals and is an excellent field for first-timers and the experienced alike. Let me know if you have any interest in coming out to any of the games in my schedule. I have a few more posts in mind to complete my Paintball 101 update, one describing a few styles of play and another covering some basic of equipment.

Following is a list of fields in the area where you can get in some play-time...

(Fields marked with an asterisk* are the fields at which I have personally played)

So how 'bout it?!

Operation Frozen Tundra '09 Pictures

My personal stats for this game and my game notes/comments can be found in the Play Log section of my brigade page.

Barrels of Fun!
ON Like Donkey Kong!
Forward HO!
I'm not sure who actually took the photos but they were downloaded from the Paintball Sports Inc website.