The first paintball games first started out as just two guys seeing who had better survival skills, but over the years has evolved into a true team sport. Nowadays it is very common to see tournaments with 3 vs 3 to 10 vs 10 matches, or even larger 30 vs 30 games at your local paintball field.
But what happens when you scale these small games up by 10 or even 100 times? With this many people split into two or three teams you are able to create a whole new game structure called Scenario Paintball Events or Big Games.
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What Is Scenario Paintball?
Scenario Paintball is a type of paintball game format that is typically based on a theme derived from movies, pop culture, video games, or even historical reenactments. These nonstop games typically have anywhere between a few hundred to a few thousand paintball players split into two massive teams all playing against each other on one large field.
These games will typically have a hierarchy in command with each team having a single General that is in charge of organizing and deploying their team to various zones, missions, and defense. It is also common to se 1-3 Commanding Officers and Battalion Leaders to further organize larger games with over a thousand players on each side.
Not only that, you will typically see more of a variety of paintball gear not normally seen on regular paintball fields like Rocket Launchers (modified shirt cannons that shoot foam footballs), backpack loaders (like the MaxxLoader), or even vehicles retrofitted to be paintball tanks!
Scenario Events and Big Games are by far the best way to fully experience what paintball has to offer with large and continuous action throughout the day on a massive field with hundreds of players at one time.
How Big are Scenario Paintball Games?
Because Scenario Paintball events are designed to be purely for fun, it pulls in players from recreational levels all the way up to tournament level. Because of this, sometimes you will have players traveling from across the country to one major game!
Scenario Paintball Games will typically have anywhere between 100 players to a couple thousand players on the field at one time that are split into two or more massive teams that are constantly battling throughout the day.
Some of the largest scenario paintball events in the world are Invasion of Normandy at Skirmish Paintball in Pennsylvania and Oklahoma D-Day at D-Day Adventure Park in Oklahoma. Both of these events host an impressive 4,000 players on average per event.
Other smaller events like Fulda Gap at Command Decisions Wargames Center in North Carolina and Wayne’s World Grand Finale in Florida can get between 1,000 and 2,000 players on average.
Most other scenario events will average between 200 and 600 players and are usually played on smaller fields. This ensures that the battles remain constant and prevent players from freely walking around the field unnoticed.
What To Expect at Your First Scenario Event
Going to your first scenario event or big game may be a little overwhelming at first, so I will break down each of the steps that you will most likely encounter for an easy first game.
What to Bring with You
Besides the normal gear you normally take with you to the paintball field, it will be wise to bring a complete backup setup (mask, gun, tank, hopper) just in case your primary gear goes down. Also, you will want to bring any spare parts, tools, and accessories you may need to do quick repairs. Finally bring at least 2 sets of playing clothes so you have a fresh set of clothes to hit the field with for the next day.
If you don’t have a backup setup or extra playing clothes, you can always purchase gear from the field pro-shop or event vendors that typically show up to larger games.
If you are playing a special roll like a LAW player (described further down below) you will need to provide your own launcher and have it approved by the field staff before use.
Don’t forget to bring some extra sets of regular clothes to change into, paper towels, food, water, and toilet paper. Also, bringing a canopy, folding chairs, and folding table is ideal to help you relax during breaks.
The first step to going to the event is registration. Most events will have a pre-registration discount that allows you to purchase admission, air, and paint at a more affordable price than the day of the event. Doing this helps the field staff determine the player turnout and plan accordingly, making the whole event go smoother.
You can always register the day of, but you may miss out on any discounts or special offers (like first strike rounds or giveaways).
It is also ideal to fill out any wavers and release forms before you hit the field to expedite the registration process. This can usually be found on the fields website.
You will need a valid form of ID to pick up your registration information, if you have any minors they will need their parent or legal guardian to sign the wavers for them at the field or ahead of time.
Arriving at the Field
When You first arrive at the field, it may be separated into parking and camping sections. Some fields will assign you a campsite ahead of time while others allow you to pick where you want to camp.
If you ever feel lost, ask a fellow player or staff member as to where you need to park and pick up your registration information.
Are Your Camping at the Field?
Knowing if you are going to camp at the field, stay at a local hotel, or drive to and from your home or friends house will dictate any extra gear you may want to bring.
Pre-Game Players Meeting
Before each game, there is a mandatory players meeting that the event organizers will go over any rules, special characters, and safety information that the players need to know.
It is extremely important that you attend the meeting so that you know how the game is played. If you don’t you may end up walking into an out of bounds zone or break the game rules.
There are several aspects of how scenario events gameplay will greatly differ from your typical paintball game at your local field or tournament. Knowing these tips ahead of time will save you some confusion and allow you to enjoy the game more.
The first thing you will want to know is that these games will continue to play anywhere between 4 to 12 hours at a time. There won’t be any 10 to 15 minute games where you can pick up your pods afterwards or reload in-between battles, instead you may face firefights lasting between 30 minutes to an hour.
You will want to pack enough paint in your pod pack to last you a few engagements, fill your air tanks before inserting on to the field, and determine a way to store used pods so you don’t loos them on the field.
Remember that you are allowed to take breaks as often as you need and to hydrate as needed. Sometimes I only play in short 30 minute intervals to keep my stamina up, but other times I play for a continuous 3 hour stretch and jump in and out of multiple battles.
-Run Missions To Win The Game
The way a team wins a scenario event is to accumulate points for their team. This is primarily done by running missions that are called in to your teams main base every hour or half hour. Your general or commanding officer will inform the players of the current mission and where they need to go.
There are other ways to earn points as well and they are usually spelled out in the player rules or announced at the player meeting. They usually involve things like collecting props, eliminating the opposing general, capturing flags, or capturing and holding key locations.
There are several roles that scenario events will have for the players. Most of the people on the field will be your general players whos primary goal is to shoot paintballs and be the grunts. But there are several other rolls that you will commonly see, these are shown below.
|A General is the leader of an entire team in a scenario event. They are in charge of organizing players, calling missions, ordering attacks, and making the game fun for the players on the field.
|Commanding Officer (XO)
|The XO is essentially second in command and shares the same duties as the General. They can act in as the general if they need to take a break or are running a General Lead Mission
|LAW Rocket Players carry a “rocket launcher” (modified shirt cannon that shoots foam rockets) that are primary tasked with eliminating tanks, bunkers and buildings. If they shoot a building with players in them, all players inside or around the area is eliminated (at the discretion of the ref).
|Tanks are mobile vehicles outfitted with paintball guns and launchers that are typically invulnerable to paintballs. They are usually only eliminated by a LAW or Demolitions player.
|Demolition players carry a satchel with a “demo charge” inside of it. This satchel is usually provided by the event organizers and players will have to place a demo card inside of the satchel in order for it to be live. They can eliminate tanks and command bases plus remove buildings from play.
|Engineers are players who can disarm bombs, “repair” buildings that have been blown up by a Demo player, or open special locked props that require a designated engineer to open and acquire points.
|Medics are players with the ability to “revive” players who have been hit with a paintball. Each field will have their on rules on how to heal a player, but usually they can’t bring back players from headshots and must physically tag or wipe off the hit.
|Spies are players who infiltrate the other team, sabotage advances, plant traps in command bases and a multitude of other devious tactics to disrupt the other team.
After playing scenario events for the last 15 years, the biggest and most important tip I can give you is to take breaks. I may be somewhat fit, but even so I have reached my limit multiple times, even while in the middle of a major battle.
Plan breaks throughout the day to prevent dehydration and eat. Allow your body to relax so you can properly absorb and process water and cool down. There is no real need to push yourselves at these events, just go at your own pace and enjoy yourself.
At the end of most scenario events, there will be one last final battle for players to shoot up the rest of their paint and have a massive firefight for field control or flag hangs. These can last between 30 min to an hour and are intense!
It is normal for players to load up to the max and let loose in an all out slugfest between two massive teams. Usually, there are no player roles for the final battles and the rules will be explained in a quick final battle meeting before you start.
At the end of every event I have been to, there is an awards ceremony to announce what side won the event, give out player awards, and sometimes have raffles and giveaways!
The awards ceremony is a great way to unwind with your team and come together with everyone to be social and chat.