While I have never played scenario ball, I am anticipating my first game. To help me prepare, I asked a number of questions about scenario ball over some period of time. Many fellow players answered these questions. I have compiled their answers and suggestions in a more concise format.
I would like to thank the following members for their contributions to this piece. While I may not directly cite them appropriately, I do not take credit for this piece as anything other than an editor and minor contributor. Previously, I asked a number of questions regarding Scenario Ball… I got some great answers. Here they are in no particular order:
What is Scenario Ball?
Scenario ball is similar to the woodsball style of play, but there is an overarching campaign of mission, objectives, and goals that opposing factions of players must achieve in an effort to earn points and win. The scenarios are defined from the inception of the event, whether it is the recreation of “D-Day” or the Crusade for the Holy Grail ala Monty Python. Scenarios can attract players into the thousands, creating the opportunity for more fulfilling large-scale battles that will have an effect on the course of the game. Meeting objectives in the game are the keys to overall victory and success. Game durations can last from a day to week. While players are pitted against each other in wooded area, urban ruins, or mock battle scenes, the elimination of the other team is not always necessary for victory, as completed missions will garner more points than tags alone.
Some scenarios immerse players in role-playing situations, where factions and even individuals characters have motives and goals that will be revealed through player interaction. Generally, the storylines and objectives enhance a player’s experience by supplying an “greater” purpose for game-play. One of the greatest examples of scenario ball is D-Day at D-Day Adventure Park in Oklahoma. Each year, thousands of players join the Allied and Axis forces to simulate the venerable battles that were waged from the beach of Utah to the siege of Brecourt Manor. While the surface of this scenario appears to be just a military simulation, each player should understand the role they take in the historic units that fought upon those hallowed grounds.
1. Water. How important is water?
Water is essential. Aside from playing safely, water is your primary priority. Staying hydrated in any weather hot or cold is critical, but especially so in the heat. You can never have too much water on hand. Bringing a cold cooler of water is a must. Additionally, your body will use and lose sodium too. It is important consume healthy foods during the day to replace electrolytes. Gatorade, Smart Water, or similar products are a quick and easy way to consume those components. Hydrate and eat well, but as Armory warned, too much of one can ruin a day and pause a serious health risk. You can over-hydrate and create a significant problem.
Players have recommend camel backs if you are going to be in the field for an extended period of time, as the pack will keep the additional weight closer to your center of gravity. If you will have the opportunity to return to your vehicle, then camelback may not be necessary. Certainly, carry at least some water on your person into the field. You will need it
In member's words:
“Bringing a cooler full of Water is very important to have, you will be get dehydrated regardless of the weather.” - Evil Fingers
“If you start feeling dizzy, pull yourself out for a little bit and get re hydrated. Or if you brought a thing of water with you in your pod holster, find some cover and a buddy to spot for you while you get a drink.” - NukeHappy
2. Are there any essential purchases I must make before joining a scenario game this Saturday? And by essential, I mean other than those purchases that everyone has to and should make (such as additional O-Rings).
Aside from your marker, goggles, harness/vest, and air system, what other gear could you need? Forum members made several recommendations. While these will vary in importance for each player, they will be indispensable tools and items, obviously just when you need them the most, just when you failed to bring them. Consider the duration of the scenario when pondering just what you will need to bring. Also, what stores are nearby if you are really in a jam.
* Barrel Swab – come with a barrel swab so you can properly clean your gun.
* Battle Swab – with extended scenario missions and game play, you may not want to leave the field just to find a barrel swab. Plus, teammates may need to borrow it and if you help them, they’ll help you.
* Oil - for proper gun maintenance. Just remember, never oil the fill nipple on a high pressure tank.
* Lube – if you are at a long term scenario, you might need or have the opportunity to lube your internals.
* Towels – great for cleaning your lens, gun, or pods during breaks.
* Extra Clothing – with all the sweat, dirt, and paint you will soak up, another set of clothing will be invaluable (consider at least a spare pair of socks). This was highly recommended.
* Street Clothing – will you need this? At the end of the day, what else are you going to wear. Pack according to the duration of the scenario and your preference.
* Food – consider packing some energy bars or light snacks so that you can refresh yourself.
* Lens Cleaning Solution or Spray Bottle of Water – not a necessity, but it will make cleaning easier.
* O-Rings – if you have properly maintained your marker, you won’t usually need spare o-rings, but bring one or two. You never know if you or a teammate will need one.
* Tools – if you need tools to change velocity or fix your gear, bring them.
* Batteries – hoppers and e-grips run on the juice.
* Rain Poncho – when it rains, it pours.
* First Aid Kit – scrapes and bumps happen all the time.
Spec Ops has a list as well, Pack for the 24 Hour Scenario Game.
3. Is a radio necessary for your first few scenario games?
A radio is not necessary equipment, but it can be helpful. Radios can be a great tool if you have a team or a group of friends. Talking and hand signals can work just as well. If you are new to scenario ball and are going to a game by yourself, then a radio is a low priority. Many forum members recommended that new players should link up with experienced groups. A new Scenario Baller can depend upon senior players. They often carry radios and they should have a greater understanding of radio etiquette and protocol. In general, senior players will guide new recruits.
In players words:
"Also, in regards to radios - Use them if friends of yours, or people you want to talk to, are also using them. It doesn't make any sense to use them if you have no one to talk to. I wouldn't say they're a must, and the same goes for throat mics. Most good paintball players prefer simpler setups to more complex ones... there's just more that can go wrong. For instance, no one on my team uses radios. If anything, we use cellphones... and that's still rare." - Vasmir
4. Should I purchase a second CO2 tank? Or is there plenty of opportunity to refill (in general)? Do I need an HPA system?
Most large scenarios will provide more than ample opportunity for players to refill tanks. In general, you shouldn’t need to carry a spare tank, as it will be a burden to carry throughout the day. A spare tank could be useful, but most respondents to the questions did not recommend it. If you do carry a spare tank, do not forget to put a thread saver or cap on the tank - preventing dirt from entering your system.
Both CO2 and HPA are usually filled at most scenarios. A high end HPA tank will permit a player to refill the tank less often, but remember, you will only use as much air as you have paintballs. You can always walk off the field to refill your tank… and of course, when you are marked. You do not need an HPA system to compete nor have a fun day of play, but in colder weather a CO2 system may not function as well.
5. How much paint should I bring or buy? How many (140) pods should I pack?
When weighing this question, consider your style of play. Do you often put down covering fire or are you conservative? In general, forum members have recommended bringing or buying twice the amount of paint that you usually use on a regular day of woodsball play. The overall duration of the game will be a determining factor as well. How many days? How many hours of play? How many people?
This will also be affected by the field’s policy. If the field requires field paint only, then perhaps, you can purchase paint as needed. If it is bring your own paint, then remember to protect your paint. Store it in empty coolers; keep it relegated to the shade.
As for the number of pods, this depends on your style of play, the possible position you may be assigned to fill, and your gear. Play style is up to you: throw lots of paint or play conservatively. What does your harness or vest allow you to carry? If your gear permits you to carry more pods than you usually play with, then do what you will, but remember that paint and air go hand-in-hand. When one runs out, you’ll have the opportunity to refill both. Consider your position. If you are pre-registered as part of an elite unit holding down a besieged outpost, will you need more paint? If you are part of a sniper team, sent to hunt down the enemy commander, will you travel light?
How many pods?
With a 3 + 2 + 2 harness, Ace of Spades had this to say:
6. Where do I stay?
Depending upon the length of the scenario, you may have to stay overnight onsite or nearby. The sooner you decide to go and register for the scenario, the better chance you will have of finding the accommodations you desire. Whether it’s the nearby Holiday Inn or a prime campsite spot or just knowing that its first come first serve will all depend upon your inquiries made to the field owners and/or scenario directors. Its highly recommended to travel and stay with a group of friends, as you will all look out for one another and pool resources.
7. What can you tell me about alternative weapon types, such as grenades?
These answers are taken straight from Thalion’s replies to my questions, those answers are in italics..
b. How effective are they - other than a simple answer of how effective are you? An example of tactical value would be extremely valuable:
c. Are land mines or trip mines widely used?
d. How effectively can they be employed?
e. What about smoke grenades? Do fields allow for this?
If you want to learn more about smoke grenades, search the Spec Ops forum.
There are several threads concerning the dangers and uses of smoke grenades. As it was, I looked up more information on Smoke Grenades, since those are a controversial topic. Spec Ops Forum has its own thread, Smoke Grenade Safety by Puzuma. As for the strategic value, people seem to say that in larger 100 person games, smoke grenades are effective tactical tools, which can mask the retreat or advance of comrades from the op-force. Alternatively, some argue that smoke attracts more fire, provoking op-force to 'blindly' unload paint into the cloud - hoping for a random mark.
Regardless of smoke grenades utility, the largest concern is player safety and field limits, whether they are allowed hot or cold burning.
In theory, since I have never played with smoke grenades, it sounds like they could be another element that makes game play more dynamic and varied if they are used in a 'controlled' fashion (i.e., people use them responsibly and don't attempt to 'smoke out' the op-force, but rather use it as cover in more wide open areas). Reaper posted a nice thread on smoke grenades as well, check it here.
8. Will players with military or law enforcement backgrounds out class players, who are new to scenario play?
After speaking with some players, I was under the impression that players with military or law enforcement training were nigh untouchable at a scenario. After posing this sentiment, forum members were quick to say “no.” While such backgrounds have taught things, such as unit cohesion, proper communication, and tactical analysis, some members have argued that this only facilitates learning how to play Paintball. An experienced paintballer can enjoy plenty of success against trained individuals, as real combat is extremely different from paintball (there are few comparisons).
PC Veteran wrote, “The key word is experience. A group of Wal-Mart stock boys who played regularly could wipe out a bunch of new players in minutes. Heck, they could wipe out a bunch of military personal that were playing for the first time. Your law enforcement background or military service plays little in terms of Paintball. Don't think that these guys automatically get some kind of Paintball skill bonus when they come play. Most of them start out making the same mistakes as any other player. First time players usually make allot of mistakes, and they suffer for them. I think the trend of larger paint hoppers, faster shooting gun set-ups, and unrelenting paint spray, makes it hard to be a new player now a days. Skill on the Paintball Field is learned on the Paintball Field. Tactical training may allow you to pick things up faster, but your still going to have a learning curve.”
9. Scenario Ball sometimes involves role-playing. How intense is it?
You as the player choose how deep you want to partake in the atmosphere. One player I know attended a scenario that had a Monty Python’s Search for the Holy Grail theme. He and his son both wore knight’s surcoats and brought coconuts to “simulate” the sound of horses. If you have watched the original movie, you will understand that they were playing a part in the scenario. While I did not witness their overall commitment to the roles of a crusader, they did dress to match the theme.
Flip wrote, “Role Playing comes down to the players involved and how "in" to the scenario and role they get. A good role player will research the role they are in plus get with the producer and try and get some insight from them. It can also depend on the producer and their specific game style with role-players.”
10. Do I have to play the role of the character the producers appoint to you? For instance, you are Sean Mac, the demolitions expert.
There's also a possibility of NPC's (Non-Player Charaters) Those roles are granted by the producer and the players are not on a specific team, but are central to the story line. As an example, if its a ‘Gangster vs. Gangster’ scenario, the producer could throw in a NPC's that are ‘Police/Law Enforcement.’” – Flip
11. If you pre-register can you get a "better" or choice role?
If you desire to play a specific role or have your team put in a particular unit, then pre-registering will be beneficial if it is on a first come first sever basis. While you might request the role of “Colonel Klink” from the producers, the command staff (players, who are already in positions of leadership) might also have an influence on who is chosen to play the colonel.
12. Will coordinators of SB events keep your team together (will roles complement each other)?
Yes. If you pre-register your team and request certain roles, then most likely your team will remain together as a unit, if the roles you have requested are related. This puts you in the driver seat for the type of game play and action your team might see.
13. What kind of scenario's can you expect mainly? (I've read things about military simulation events to werewolves vs. vampires to popular science fiction genres).
Pretty much everything you can imagine could be put into a scenario game (within reason of safety and cost). The variety of scenarios is astounding, each with special features, such as medics, who can revive marked players.
14. What about role-playing in general?
Some producers give the character roles thier own specific set of personal missions to complete throughout the game. MXS gives you a mission sheet that pre-sets the missions and times you need to complete them (we call it the ‘dance card’). Since missions are what wins the game, you as a character can directly affect the outcome of the game.
Another bonus to roles is your command staff and other players notice you. I've been lucky enough to be awarded two MVP's, mostly due to me being a Demo. In Viper's "Shadow Wars – drop zone" it was for tank busting, in MXS's ‘Kelly's Caper’ it was for running demo and night missions (I think I completed about 80% of the night missions). 10th Mountain came really close to winning another MVT at MXS's ‘mXs Men’, I was our General's ‘Go to’ Demo guy. Only reason we didn't get it was there were only me and another teammate playing.” – Flip
Flip submitted this link about scenario roles.
15. Is there anymore advice you can give?
There are a number of links to Spec Op pages and external sites. These pages go over much of what has already been listed and more.
To that end, I found some interesting articles about radios:
* Basic Radio Operations in Paintball - By Tackleberry Some basic operating guidelines for radio use, going over signals too.
* PEE SHOOTER's Sporting Goods Buying Guide to Radios - Basic guide on the qualities of a radio and what to purchase.
* Two Way Radio Etiquette - Adapted from Ted Savage - This contains basic radio information, codes, etiquette and additional resources.
In addition to these sources, Spec Ops has some articles on radio use and the importance of communication in Scenario Ball, in addition to much more....
* Scenario Teams with Radios Equals Success
* Scenario Paintball Communication and Radios
* Using Paintball Landmines
These are general guides I have found or have been submitted.
* The first scenario, What to expect – Dark Shadow Hunter on the Late Night Forum (submitted by GoboFongo)
* Your Guide to Scenario Paintball by Aaron Doll (OMGItsAFire)of Associate Content.com Goes over some of the basic things to expect and bring to Scenario Ball. More of what has been said here.
* Scenario Ball FAQ from PbNation - Jtx 2003 Another FAQ
I recommend looking over the original thread to fully appreciate the answers that were given. Thank you for reading!
PS - Any further contributions to this thread will be incorporated.
08.27.07 - Format Corrections.
09.08.07 - Included links on smoke grenades.
04.27.07 - Edited to attribute Ace of Spades for Spades. Nice.
This post has been edited by PrivateChurch: 27 April 2008 - 08:05 PM