North vs South XXV - Here's what you missed

Every year in the UK there are a few must-play events for any paintballer's calendar. One of these is Warped Paintball's North vs South paintball festival, which celebrated its 25th anniversary this year. Some of our guys went over and hit the fields hard–as always–and had a blast bringing many, many war stories back to Eclipse HQ with them. But what is this event all about?

One way to show you would be to make an awesome video of the event. So we did (see below).

We also caught up with Jim Frensham of Warped Paintball to ask him a fistful of questions all about it.

Take it away Jim.

When was it set up? And why?

North V South started as a simple scenario game concept, as an update on the old "walk-on" style events by Tim Taylor at the original Activ8 (Warped Cosford) in 1992.
 He was surprised at the reaction the concept got and I guess it was at a time when the real life North/South divide was very much alive.

We presume it’s literally about the North VS the South, the old paintball rivalries must really start to flair up right
Exactly that! Back then UK paintball was very much focused around the old style woodland tournament scene and was MAINLY dominated at the time by the Southern based teams (sorry Northerners), with just a handful of Northern teams 
taking the fight to them. 'Scenario games' were just beginning, developing from the walk-on scene and something about NvS stirred the players' tribal instincts.

Which side is winning so far?

North 14-10. We don't include the Warriors event in 2004 which was effectively a 6 faction game and didn't really produce a clear North or South win.

Who won this year?

North won this year. The South out-scored them on the mission play but the North won 2 of the 3 major scoring battles, and neither scored for the 3rd.

Who are the worst losers? North or South?
The losing generals on BOTH sides. Taking a role as a General at NvS is a unique challenge. We have always considered the Generals, their command structure and communications they choose to employ to be a major part of the flavour of the Big Game.
 We encourage and empower them to contact key players and squads on each side to organise their tactics & resources, and to try and be better organised than the other side. This is a big commitment for the Generals, some have taken it lightly and paid the price whilst others have proven to be master organisers and tacticians. But ALL have felt the pressure and the responsibility of being in command of so many players. It is a fantastic platform for team captains/faction leaders to gain a profile within the paintball community and has helped to create a few "Legends" along the journey. But it is always difficult to invest so much into a game, and then lose! So it's understandable when they are heart-broken, if it happens.

Ledz opening fire in the pines

What are your most memorable moments over the last 25 years of NvS?

My personal favourite from a game design/execution point of view was Judgment Day in 2010 because it was a massive logistical problem for us to record scores for individual players battling in and out of numerous polling stations all day. The staff stepped up to the plate and did a really great job. Unfortunately, as an event organiser, the most memorable (for the wrong reasons) are probably the ones which give us the biggest headache. In 2005 North V South "Firebase Alpha" had a Forestry Commission venue which was pulled at short notice, when a local bird-watcher informed the RSPB about some nesting Buzzards in the middle of the planned game area. We had 17 days notice to find & prepare an alternative venue.  It was incredibly stressful for everyone here at Warped but we pulled it off by the skin of our teeth.

Do you have many overseas players make the journey over for the event?
NvS has become an annual favourite for quite a few foreign teams and we are always keen to hear from more. A few years ago we introduced the UK Versus game to the Saturday of the festival to extend the experience for visitors, and to give the UK teams a chance to play against them. This has proved to be very popular, so much so that we now make two "Euro Versus" games so the visitors can play both the North AND the South sides. The site location (DIO Swynnerton) is an active Army base and makes a fantastic venue for foreign players, as they have the option of dormitory accommodation on site, so they don't have to carry camping gear or book off-site accommodation. This year we had over 130 foreign players make the trip and we hope to expand on that for 2018.

What is the draw of a big game? Is it literally a bigger, more epic paintball experience?
Paintball can be played in many flavours these days and each has its own attraction. But I think there is something unique and special about the opportunity to play on such a massive scale. It's unsophisticated on some levels and can be a bit of a scrum. Incessant long-balling can be irritating if you like to get up close and personal. Those who are simply cheats can get away with more on a big game. But when you are in the middle of one of the massive battles it is simply magical! The sheer scale is intimidating. Being massively outnumbered, cornered or stuck in a building can be simply terrifying and even the most hardened ballers never forget their best NvS moments.

Ledz and the North's General cooking up some plans

Final words. For those who haven’t been to North vs South, why should they go next year?

This is easy. It's a big part of my paintball life's work and I see the huge amount of effort and love everyone involved puts in to making the weekend special. The next time an acquaintance looks at you strangely when you say you're a paintballer tell them to check out North vs South Paintball videos on our YouTube Channel, our Facebook Page, or the NvS Website - or show them this video! They will soon 'GET' why you love paintball!

North V South really is a true Festival of Paintball which every UK player can be proud to be part of, and SHOULD be a part of. At least once.

See you May 4-6 2018!

Video filmed and edited for Planet Eclipse by Bradlo Media.