Flashback at The Swamp - by Jason 'Foolybear' Lineberger

Flashback at The Swamp

Words and photos by Jason “foolybear” Lineberger

The Swamp paintball park in southeastern Virginia is a field anchored in the past and looking to the future, and that’s a good thing.  Their recent 24 hour scenario game, New Reno, showcased their approach.  If this is the first you’ve heard of The Swamp, then put them on your scenario map because they’ve got a good thing going, and it’s only going to get better.

Home to east coast powerhouse teams like SOVA and Assault & Battery, the core players who call The Swamp home have deep roots in scenario paintball, going back to legendary and influential teams like Blitzkrieg and The Virginia Irregulars.  With this strong sense of where they’ve come from, the field owners are looking to the future with the intent to improve the field and to provide teams with a top-notch paintball experience.

Scenario paintball has gone through some major shifts in the past 8 years.  While games used to build over the course of a weekend as the story unfolded and players shaped the plotlines through their actions on the field, most contemporary events only make a cursory attempt at incorporating a theme.  This side is super soldiers; that side is alie

ns, game on!  What follows is simple, mission-based scenario fun, but it’s a different game from the complex, story-driven adventures 8 years ago.

Enter Trapper Davis

Trapper Davis, a man with a thousand great stories from the heyday of scenario paintball, brought to The Swamp a game that is both contemporary and classic.  Based on the hot Fallout video game franchise, New Reno, this scenario challenged players to not only take land and complete missions, but also to handle a variety of situations – from aircraft and radiation to high stakes gambling.

For New Reno, Trapper went prop heavy – seeding the field with over 300 props and game cash (poker chips).   Not only could teams collect the props to complete missions, but they could use the props to give their side advantages.  Engineering plans eliminated the need for liquid fuel in the scenario aircraft.  Radiation suits or RadX spray allowed teams to enter the taped-off and deadly radiation zones, where some of the best props could be discovered.  Syringes gave medics the ability to heal players from any hit, and any prop could be exchanged for cash through the neutral marketplace in the center of the field.  In classic fashion, the marketplace and casino operated on a for-profit basis, so they always drove a hard bargain, whether players were looking for cash, props, or information that would give their side an advantage.  They also ran games of chance as part of the game’s story.  Imagine a Texas Holdem tournament happening in the midst of a paintball shootout!  While the marketplace and casino was netted and neutral, players leaving the taped-off boundaries became legitimate targets, and with a rule in place that required eliminated players to drop any props, even the best deals could fall apart when negotiations speeded up to 280 feet per second.

The field itself transitions from natural woods to a large concept field with plenty of forts, a castle, and some unusual structures (a boatyard for instance).  Outside the field players had access to a stocked proshop, quick air fills, food (world famous gator burgers), and a stage used for game-briefing and live musical performances.

Team Capital Offense

Capital Offense, coming off their commanding performance at the Zero Dark Thirty scenario at Splatbrothers only three weeks before, were ready to throw down at New Reno.  CSL, ETHA, Etek, LV1, Geo – the Capital Offense shooters brought almost the whole range of Eclipse markers on the field and brought a barrage of accurate paint to bear on the blue team.  The best run of the day started at the red side insertion and ended, only ten minutes later, just outside the blue CP, leaving a wake of eliminated players.  TCO made pushes through the woods, though the fast-paced concept field, against the castle, playing their aggressive and coordinated style of scenario paintball.  The dominating performance of the red team on Saturday ran up the score, and while blue mounted a come-back by completing some missions, they never caught up.

Capital Offense plans to return to The Swamp in the fall for another scenario event.  The field plays great and the producers are looking to craft fun games that challenge players at every level.

Check foolybear’s calendar to see where he’ll be in action next.  For regular doses of paintball insight and photography, follow him on Twitter and Instagram, both are @foolybear.