Scenario Chess at Generation Kill

 Words and photos by Jason “foolybear” Lineberger

Once a year Team Tango Alpha2 turns their attention away from completing missions to switch their hats and put on one of the best scenario games happening – the annual Generation Kill game.  Based on the book and the subsequent television series, the Generation Kill games blend the tactics of modern mil-sim events with a taste of the roleplaying that drove the games from the golden age of scenario paintball.

This year’s Gen Kill, which took place on St. Patrick’s Day, headed away from the past settings in the Middle East and Afghanistan.  Subtitled “A Bad Day in Belfast” the 2012 Gen Kill pitted scrappy IRA fighters against US Marines in an imagined Irish conflict that juxtaposed serious action with some tongue-in-cheek missions.  Determined to keep the game lively, Tango captain Paul “Wingman” Metheney, tossed out missions to collect pots of gold, Lucky Charms (in boxes), and to deal with a cast of ornery role-players ranging from hostile nuns to opportunistic arms dealers.  What Metheney did not do was send teams to stand guard duty over remote fortresses in the backwoods of the ample scenario battleground at Command Decisions Wargames Center (home of the Fulda Gap Mega Game).  Missions kept teams engaged and the action fierce, and conveniently-located Dead Zones coupled with ATV taxi service made sure that players spent the scenario shooting, not marching back and forth to the staging area.

Tango Alpha2 uses the annual event to fill the team’s coffers so they can play more paintball, but the Tangos also have a charitable mission, and this year’s raffle went to support a family in need.  Scenario team, the Death Dealers, offered up generous matching funds to spur players to purchase more raffle tickets, and this offer kept the raffle booth hopping.

Good events don’t happen by accident – it’s the little touches that make paintball scenarios run smoothly.  The producers at Gen Kill offer points for each player ready to take the field before the opening horn.  Then, after the lunch break, the first mission is an Arms Race – a literal footrace to what will become a hotly-contested portion of the field, with points going to the team with the most players at the finish line.

The Marines had an uphill battle against their IRA opponents.  While the Marines wore blue tape on their masks, the IRA had no tape, leading to plenty of friendly fire incidents, mostly blue-on-blue.  Also, the IRA tank and helicopter assaults wreaked havoc early in the game, but in scenario paintball, like chess, it’s all about knowing the resources one has and knowing when to use them, and that’s where the Marine general held an edge.

Foolybear on the Front Lines

After the lunch break both teams made a mad dash for the finish line of the Arms Race, a fortified area near the intersection of two of the roads running through the CDWC property.  The Marines got there first, having split off part of their forces to create a delaying barrier for the IRA.  I served with that detachment, taking Alpha, a fort with rings of trenches around it.  While we slowed the IRA tide, they eventually cleared our position and swarmed the hill where, bolstered by the attack chopper (a player invulnerable to all hits except those from an anti-aircraft gunner), they overran my team’s lines.  The team in control of the hill at the top of the hour stood to score major points, and with the game’s score tight, my commander knew this mission would be crucial to our efforts.  Rather than stand on the periphery and call for a push or lead from the front, he chose a different tact – withdrawal to the nearby Dead Zone.  While the enemy attack chopper ran out of “gas” (the chopper had a 15 minute time limit), our side gathered forces for a well-timed assault.  With ten minutes to go on the mission, we pinched from two sides while our own attack chopper drove straight down the center.  With a DZ behind us for quick reinsertion of eliminated players, we kept up the pressure and scored the mission.  The opposition made a last minute sneaky counteroffensive through the woods, but I was looking for just that sort of move, and they ran into a stream of paint from my ETHA, cutting off their desperation attempt.

Eventually the Marines edged the IRA back towards their home base, and as the game wound down, the Marines pulled out a victory after winning a final battle that could have swung the game’s balance in either direction.  So far this year, I’m coming out on the winning side more often than not – thanks Planet Eclipse!

ETHA Loan Program

All season I’m loaning ETHAs to scenario and walk-on players, spreading the word about this efficient, reliable, accurate, and affordable marker – a perfect combination for scenario players.  The only problem I’ve encountered with the ETHA so far is players being reluctant to give it back.  Scenario veteran Wayne Smith, who normally swears by mechanical guns only, tried out the ETHA at Generation Kill.  Did he love the ETHA experience?  Check out the video below and decide for yourself.

Want a chance to try out the ETHA?  Find foolybear at a paintball field near you!  He’ll put one in your hands for a test drive.  Want his latest updates and paintball photography?  Follow foolybear on Twitter, @foolybear.