On the Road (to No Ends) Again

By Jason “foolybear” Lineberger

Every February paintball teams take the road to Road to No Ends, the annual 24 hour scenario at Adventure Beach Paintball.  This year the promised warmer weather usually found on North Carolina’s coast and the reputation of this excellent annual game drew a record-setting crowd.

Adventure Beach is an attractive setting for scenario paintball.  It’s only a short drive to the coast, and during February the hotel and rental rates are dirt cheap.  The field itself is long and flat with an impressive town on one end, a pyramid in the middle, and everything from thick brush to a tire maze to round out the picture.

Every year field owner Kevin Shimwell throws a new wrench in the works for the experienced teams.  One year the sides battled to recover ceramic tiles, which created a map to the final treasure in the game, one that was buried on the field!  Imagine the shootout with hundreds of players trying to protect a few crazy runners carrying shovels.  Another year tricksy role-players added an element of complexity, and each go-round the final battles have become more intense.

Road to No Ends 2015 was a best-of, combining difficult missions, role-playing (Shimwell employed two dedicated role-players for the event), props, and the usual fight for real estate.  Adventure Beach has half a dozen bases over the grounds of the field, each with a flag station.  Any team that can fly their flag can use that base as a spawn point, so controlling ground is a key strategy, and it reduces the amount of time any player might spend away from the action.

Team Capital Offense joined the side of Jason “Reaper” Mann of Paintball Soldiers, general for The Hidden as we faced off against The Knowing, led by Robert Flowers of Carolina Sabers.  From game on it was clear that victory might prove elusive.  Our punch up the middle ran into a defensive wall and a counter punch from two flanks that left our side scrambling for a viable plan.  Capital Offense switched from up-the-middle aggression to play the mission team, and we deployed to all parts of the field, wherever the missions took us.

As Saturday wore on, The Hidden gained more ground, and we encountered less opposition at our mission sites as we racked up the points.  Shimwell never lets the game get easy, and subsequently our objectives changed to ones deep in enemy territory; we even got missions to obtain props hidden beside the other team’s insertion point.  Those might be possible in some scenario games, but in a game with instant respawn, missions like that are exceptionally difficult.  Twice over the course of the weekend I turned over missions to a single player, Jim “Tag” Edwards, who set off on his own to attempt the impossible.  Both times he returned with signed cards and harrowing stories of ghosting through enemy lines.  So while the main force of our team took bases and searched for props, our solo second line racked up the score for our side.

The game concluded with an impressive final battle where both sides ran at each other from opposite ends of the city.  The first 15 minutes allowed players to tag back in, and the last 15 minutes became a single elimination game.  While The Hidden took ground and put the pressure on our opposition, The Knowing retained a foothold and had a good number of players still alive at the game’s end.  This battled mirrored the game as a whole – one hard-fought slugfest from beginning to end with neither team giving much ground.

Although land control swapped back and forth, we felt confident that the tally would swing our way as our side scored mission after mission all weekend.  Turns out that the real points in the game came from collecting certain props, and our opposition far exceeded our efforts in this department.  Sure we lost by a landslide, but that just makes us hungrier for our return next February!

Thanks to all the teams who make this game great each year.  It’s become one of those can’t-miss scenarios that I mark on my calendar as soon as the date is announced.  See you all in 2016!

Special thanks to Scrapyard Photography for providing the pics from this game.

Jason “foolybear” Lineberger is the scenario slayer for Planet Eclipse and captain of Team Capital Offense.  You can catch him on Twitter (@foolybear) or on Instagram (@foolybear).