The Cold War Ends – In a Tie?
By Jason “foolybear” Lineberger
Photos by Nichola Hayden of English Rose Photography
For over a decade, this beast we call Fulda Gap has grown. The big game, based on a Cold War scenario, has become one of the marquee events in paintball and one of those games that’s consistently fun. And what’s not to love about hundreds of screaming paintballers, supported by tanks, charging a hilltop fort? Or crawling through the woods, popping smoke, and rushing a base before reinforcements arrive from the nearby dead zone? For me Fulda Gap is camp fires, paintball stories, and enough action on the field to fill a dozen pages. If you attended the game, you also know that this year’s event was the most tightly contested one yet – all the way to the last seconds of the game.
Friday......The day before the game is always a blast. For Team Capital Offense, this is our season-ender, and it always draws the best attendance. We welcomed our guests who came so far to spend the weekend with us – buddies from Boston Paintball, new friends from Inception Designs, coworkers, relatives, and for the third year in a row, our favorite British ‘baller, Jack Wood. Just as our camp has grown, the Fulda Gap staging area is bursting at the seams. When I arrived just after noon on Friday, I had trouble finding parking as the entire area was nearly full with somewhere in the vicinity of 1500 people!
Saturday.....In the final run-up to the game, the WARSAW general stepped down and our own Rick “Mamba” Money of Capital Offense took the reins as a last minute replacement, which made the job of command that much more difficult. Add to the situation the fact that the NATO general, Eric Engler, had his act together and his units focused, and by mid afternoon WARSAW had yet to find firm footing. Fulda Gap is a math game – certain bases are worth points at certain times, and the key to winning is to play smart and hold the right flags while denying your opponent. From my perspective, NATO just out-played WARSAW on the first day. That’s all there is to it. They were in all the right places at the right times. Around mid afternoon Capital Offense had been given orders to take a central base. When we couldn’t break through in a forward assault, I took a squad on a flanking maneuver and walked directly into the ambush that was set up to catch us. Well played NATO!
The highlight of my Saturday was getting to roll with the new Gmek. Holy smokes, is that a great scenario marker! I’ll just say that the surprisingly short, crisp trigger pull is a thing of beauty. We might not have hit all of our objectives on Saturday, but I sent plenty of NATO players walking to their dead zones. Unfortunately, no points are awarded at Fulda Gap for racking up eliminations.
Sunday.....The point tally from Saturday put WARSAW at a 750 point deficit going into Sunday. That’s a serious spread for this event. We needed to come out swinging. On Sunday the field starts out flipped, so we held Sim City at game on. For those of you who aren’t intimately familiar with the hills and forts of Command Decisions Wargames Center, their urban field, Sim City, is the base next to the NATO entry, and it’s a CQB, building-to-building paintfest. Hats off to NATO who poured out of their entry at the opening horn and pushed hard. They had a quick walk to their insertion, while we had a cross-field march. Losing Sim City was inevitable, but we held our posts as long as possible. NATO funneled their troops into this fight, but Mamba quickly repositioned our teams to attack the more remote, and largely undefended bases. We needed to take and hold these bases for most of the day to catch up on points. And that’s exactly what happened. I’ve got to give it up to the NATO players; they never stopped coming after us, but we came to play on Sunday, and where we faltered the day before, we drove through on day two. I don’t know about the entire side, but Capital Offense just came together as a team on Sunday. We moved with a purpose, hitting base after base, putting a majority of the flags under our team’s control.
The Final Countdown...... It all came down to the last few seconds. Red (WARSAW) held the flag at Duckett. Blue (NATO) came hard with a push at the end and flipped it with seconds to go. Or did they? There was a mine field near the flag that may or may not have been deactivated. Yes, Blue ran up a lead on the first day, but Red took bases, held them, and finished our missions. When the dust settled, the final result was – a tie.
I know some were dissatisfied with the outcome, but it just made me eager to go at it again next year. This year’s Fulda Gap was hard-fought from beginning to end, and that makes for the best paintball. See you there in 2018!
Big thanks to the amazing Nichola Hayden, English Rose Photography, for the wonderful pics!