Fall Scenario Tour - Second Stop
Fall Scenario Tour – Second Stop
After enjoying some intense paintball on the coast, I pointed my car west and put in the miles to make the trip out to Bearclaw Paintball, in the middle of Tennessee. Every October Bearclaw puts on a scenario that’s worth attending, and they call upon the talents of Ben and Bonnie Torricelli of MPP to make the game one to remember. This year Ben topped last year’s amazing event by getting even more ambitious in his scope. Scripting his missions around George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series (the basis for the HBO series Game of Thrones), Torricelli ran the first part of a projected seven game series to take place over the course of seven years! Prominent scenario teams have volunteered to take on roles as the various family houses in Martin’s fantasy world, and they will each square off in an epic battle, over the next seven years, to name a single victorious house.
What drew me to make the 800 mile round trip is a combination of factors that puts Bearclaw in an elite class. The field is not only a blast to play, but the teams that travel to that field make the games competitive; however, as intense as it gets on the field, the staging area is always a friendly, family environment, and a number of teams bring spouses and children and make a weekend of it. The camping area has a homey feel – cooking food, kids playing hide-and-seek, and people laughing around fires.
This inaugural event pitted House Stark against House Targaryen in a mission-heavy 24 hour paintball game. Building on the success of last year’s Spartacus scenario, Torricelli took a page from his own playbook and hosted a bracketed top gun tournament that ran concurrently with the scenario. This added a spectator-friendly component as two players dueled in Bear Claw’s small western town field, while the masses slung paint behind the canopy of trees on the other side of the property.
House Targaryen made a forceful push at the game’s opening, grabbing a foothold in the valuable center real estate and refusing to back out. They also took land on the high side, fighting their way towards the Roman fort where they’d be able to stage assaults directly into the immediate perimeter around House Stark’s base. I had a hard time getting out of House Stark’s base for most of the day Saturday!
Weather forced a cancellation in the night game, leaving House Stark looking for a new strategy come Sunday morning. Bearclaw’s playable property includes a beach-landing zone, and the field operators stacked two gigantic woodpiles to start the cold morning with some serious bonfire action as House Stark charged across the open beachhead to confront an entrenched House Targaryen. Both teams opened the day with the same mission – to locate and secure 5 maesters (similar to scientists/doctors/scholars in this fantasy world). Targaryen had the advantage of holding the woodline with entrenched troops, while House Stark was given the exact location of the maesters on the field, but they had to cross the beach to gain access. Like the bonfires on the beach, House Stark was on fire Sunday morning, and they brought the fight directly to their foes, capturing the woodline in under ten minutes and pushing hard into the woods to find the hidden maesters. They continued to show this same spark throughout Sunday, and steadily closed the points gap before finally leaping ahead in the last minutes of the game. House Stark reigns as the first of seven victories in the Game of Thrones series, and the teams who attended left already eager to do it again in October 2013.
Black Karma's ETHA with the EMC Kit and a launcher
Foolybear on the Frontlines
As a shooter for House Stark, I saw our enemies moving up the center and high sides of the field, getting in position to limit our ability to run missions, but when I spotted runners taking ground on the low tape side, I knew I had to act or we would become completely enveloped. I faded out of the back side of our base and started sweeping up the low tapeline, calling for support. The move started out with some quick eliminations, as I caught their forward force unaware, and then it turned into a series of one-on-one gun battles, as I zapped out my opponents one at a time. I got bogged down when I had to go against a team of four, but they started taking fire from the center of the field, and in moments the entire wire had been cleared. I ran back to base to report to the general, and there I met the player who had come in from the center – former professional paintballer and owner of the Ultimate Woodsball League - Tom Cole. Cole had come to Bearclaw to scout the field as a possible UWL location, and given the opportunity, he jumped into the action. Thankfully for House Stark he chose exactly the right time to break bad, because after he and I opened that tapeline, a large group moved down it for one of our farthest runs of the day. Clearing that tapeline with Tom Cole stands out as the highlight of the game.
Dan with the ETHA
Dan took an ETHA for a test spin through the woods, and he loved it!
MPP and Bearclaw – can’t wait to do it again next year!