Winter is Coming !

Words and photos by Jason “foolybear” Lineberger

If you have to drive over 400 miles to play paintball at Bearclaw in Tennessee (and I do), and you can only do it one time a year, go ahead and schedule October on your calendar, because it’s going to be worth your time.  That’s when the folks at Bearclaw team up with Ben Torricelli from Millennium Paintball Productions to put on their annual Game of Thrones scenario.  This year I met up with fellow member of Team Capital Offense, Kris Wilson, to enjoy the great hospitality at the field and from our new friends, Black Karma.  While I made it a point to try to run ahead of them on the field all weekend (and the key word there is “try”), they did beat me to the punch by posting their coverage of the game before me.  If you haven’t read it yet, click here and get your read on.  I’m just going to fill in the blanks, then show you more pretty pictures!  Here are five cool points about this game:

We won.  Black Karma is far too modest!  Both sides played super hard and Saturday was a back-and-forth battle.  Sunday looked rough too, early on, but House Lannister rallied and squeaked out a victory.

The HDE pattern on this Etek makes it harder to spot than the rest of the player!
The King’s Tourney was a one-on-one tournament that ran concurrent with the game.  Players signed up before the scenario began then reported to the small town field at their appointed times to battle it out in a single elimination battle to the end.  The winner took home a sweet longsword too!

Yellow side, House Baratheon, in the midst of their Sunday morning offensive
Black Karma talks about how much they love taking the farmhouse.  Let me just interject and say that taking that house is hard!  Not only do you have to fight your way to it, but players inside can shut the doors, hug the interior walls, and cross their guns while shooting out the windows.  And there’s a second floor with more angles and spots for bad guys to hide.  I could tell Black Karma had taken that fort a few times, but even so, it takes guts to bust through the door with enemy barrels only inches away!

Black Karma on their home turf.
MPP does scenario right.  Ben knows how to control the flow of the game.  When there’s a large battle for land in the center of the field, Ben channels the missions to the edges, and if the action slows down, he directs players towards the middle.  It’s an art, and if you’ve never played an artfully-orchestrated game, then you’re missing out.  I had a great time being right in the thick of things in the large shootouts, but I probably enjoyed the smaller battles, 10 on 10 or smaller, even more.  And this year I think I hit every square foot of Bearclaw’s ample acreage.

The Iron Throne, the leaders of Houses Lannister and Baratheon, and Ben Torricelli
The details make a good game great.  More than enough parking and camping space.  Short air lines.  Paintball and food vendors.  Flushing toilets and a bath house.  A motivated reffing staff who are willing to get in the thick of things.  Heck, they even had a throne of swords at the player briefing!  Little things like those will keep players coming back for more.  I know I plan to be there in 2015.

Foolybear plays scenario paintball for Planet Eclipse and as captain of Team Capital Offense.  His Instagram (@foolybear) is a steady stream of pictures of his paintball adventures.  You can also keep up with his travels on Twitter (@foolybear).   He’s currently mapping out his 2015 game schedule, so field owners – want to see foolybear at your game?  Hit him up on Twitter!