Foolybear - Black Rivers's Got Game !!!
by Jason "foolybear" Lineberger
Black River Paintball, like the best fields in the world, takes the business of paintball seriously. While the crowd that filled the main parking area to overflowing was on the field duking it out in their latest big game format, Allen Faircloth monitored the events from game control and plotted bigger moves to take the field to the next level. Black River has built a healthy reputation for high-adrenaline paintball, whether that's on the scenario field or in a tournament capacity, but their vision looks to the future - growing their player base, keeping the regulars happy, and eventually creating a paintball experience that will set them apart from the pack.
Their inaugural big game for 2012 took a page out of history - all the way back to the American Revolution. The game's backdrop influenced the missions, but at its heart, "A Glorious Cause" remained a big game. Players ran missions for points, and a smattering of role-playing kept the story moving forward. The objectives tended towards basic prop-gathering goals, easy gateway missions for inexperienced players. When they learned how to complete these missions, they could move on to future events with tougher objectives.
If the key to growing paintball is luring new blood onto the fields to test out this adrenaline addiction, then Black River is doing their part to make a brighter future for our sport. They packed out both sides with a large number of fresh players - from young boys running with their fathers, to college students renting markers for a weekend's break from studies, to adults dipping their toes in the paintball pool for the first time. The game-producers at Black River maintained simple rules and ample action for "A Glorious Cause." At any point in the game players had no trouble finding the front lines along with more experienced hands ready to help them get the most of their first big game, and the teams had been balanced well enough to prevent a single experienced scenario team from running riot through the newbies. These elements, added together, formed a simple, satisfying paintball experience with a steady rain of paint in the air to keep the pulse pounding.
The American forces came out with a solid victory, bolstered by the coordinated efforts of their MVP scenario team, Tango Alpha, but what's most important is that new players had a positive big game experience that will build a player base for more complex, immersive games in the future. And Black River Paintball most certainly has its eyes set on that horizon.
Foolybear on the Frontlines
The best moment of the game came for me at the beginning of the second half. The Americans must have downed too many hot dogs because their efforts to make the starting horn were sluggish at best. Consequently, I ran through the field encountering minimal resistance. I punctuated my run with a drive up the center of the field near their base to arrive within range of their command post. From my spot, their squads had to run through my paint to reach their missions sites in middle of the field, and for 20 minutes I made sure that none of them completed that run. Finally they got smart and pushed heavily towards one tapeline, so rather than staying to pick off stragglers, I booked over to that tapeline where I joined another Jason (this one from team Lost Boys) in his defense of that crucial side. One-by-one our teammates left the field to clean their hits, until only Jason and I remained to hold the tapeline against the entire American side. We pulled a trick from the old school tournament playbook. We took solid cover, crossed our guns, and forced them to try to run through our lanes. For at least 10 more minutes we held their team at bay. First they drove up our right side, then they rushed the left, but when they made both moves at once they pinched out Jason, leaving me as last man standing. It wouldn't be the last time that day that I took on that role, but I figured that every minute I stalled their army would be another minute my team could use to complete our mission. It didn't take them long to flank my left side and get the angle they needed, but I left the field satisfied that I had done my part.
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Foolybears next event will be the third part in the annual Road to No Ends scenario series at Adventure Beach Paintball. http://www.adventurebeachscenariopaintball.com/