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Battle For Earth
1,000 years ago the planet Earth was torn apart by war, or so you would believe if you lived in the world of the L Ron Hubbard novel and film Battlefield Earth. Battlefield Earth was the inspiration behind the themes and storylines of this year's Grand Finale scenario game, "Battle For Earth."
The Grand Finale is the last event of the year, each year for Wayne Dollack 24 Hour Role-Playing Scenario Games, and is the event where Wayne, his wife Jackie, partners Ben and Bonnie Toricelli pull out all the stops. Typically a "big" event at Waynes-World of paintball in Ocala, Florida brings out 700 or so players, and a dozen or so paintball companies for the on-site trade show.
This year, Battle For Earth broke all the records. The week before the event over 900 players had pre-registered, and by the time the game started, the official numbers were over 1200 registered players, not including comped industry and vendor players. The industry presence was astounding. National Paintball Supply of New Jersey brought their T1000 player support semi, Scott USA brought their new tournament support truck and trailer. ACI's trailer, with their full product line was on hand, and that was all outside. The vendor's tent, which was about ½ again larger than used in the past, was packed with paintball companies like Smart Parts, Krebbs Paintball, Pro Team Products, Benchmark Manufacturing, Worr Games Products, Tippmann Pneumatics, Diablo Direct, Airgun Designs, Unique Sporting, Crossfire, Paintball 2 Xtremes Magazine, Extreme Rage, R&R Marketing, Bad Boyz Toyz, Intense Marketing all had booths with key representatives from their companies on hand. Players were able to discuss the Autococker with Bud Orr, the new E-Mag with Tom Kaye or JJ Brookshire, the Custom 98 and Response Trigger with Ben Tippmann, custom harnesses with Rose Griffith, tournament ball with Aftershock's pro captain, Todd Adamson, and even an eclectic collection of used gear with Intense's Charlie Holton.
In the game's storyline, the remnants of the human race were under the thumb of the Scikos- an alien race with a foreign policy of simply taking what they wanted. The Scikos viewed humans as an inferior, unintelligent race, suitable only for use as beasts of burden. With the Sciko's economy based on gold - they found humans suitable for work as miners. One human, Johnny "Good Boy" Tyler, would decide that enough was enough, it was time to throw off the alien shackles. He lead the clans of humans to fight off the alien menace.
Leading the Scikos was the alien general - "GI" Joe Paradise of Team Moist Donuts, in his first appearance as a general at Wayne's World. Facing off against him on the human side was Jerry "Dutch" Schappert who has held the rank of general numerous times.
Players arrived on site through the day on Friday. While the game would not start until the middle of the day, everyone had a chance to check out the products in the vendor's tent, and pick up supplies before things got underway. Several of the vendors remarked at how surprised they were by the positive response they received from the players. Greg Sullivan of ACI said that more players purchased gear from him in one day, than at some week long tournaments. According to Sullivan it was a chance to introduce their products to players who may not have seen them otherwise. "This is great." Said JJ Brookshire of Airgun Designs, "we met a lot of players who don't normally attend tournaments, and they were able to get their first look at the E-Mag and Warp Feed."
Friday night was livened up with the Worr Games Products player's party, a time to relax, eat, and drink while posturing and tossing around the smack about which team was going to win. If the Rec Talk forum was to be any indicator before the game started, the action would be dominated by the aliens. "A human in every pot!" and "Humans are good, they taste like chicken!" were phrases thrown out by members of Joe's team, Moist Donuts, and their allies for the event, Sons Of the Apocalypse. Saturday morning, after the rundown of the rules, and game prep, the two generals met under a white flag to hold a "smack talking" contest. A number of contestants gathered, including "Mudguts," "Mr. Hankey," and "Metalisteve." After each laid down their insults to the other side, "Mr. Hankey" was declared the victor.
With that, the game was on. Both sides hit the field, and the paint started flying. Clouds of orange smoke from smoke grenades served as "nerve gas" with referees eliminating all players they touched. Tanks rolled and rumbled, until taken out with satchel charges or air cannons carried by players or other tanks.
According to Dutch, the tanks on the field made a big difference for the human side - with more tanks on the human side. "If it wasn't a five to one it seemed like five to one… Rat Patrol was like really good, and the Doom Trooper People had like two tanks. The thing about them is they just went in smart. They went in with a bunch of guys behind them and they weren't the stars of the show. They let the guys run out and do their thing."
One player ran into a bit of a mishap with a tank. According to Wayne Dollack, the player tried to take cover not behind the tank, but underneath it. The tank's driver, unaware someone had ducked beneath his vehicle started to move, running over the player's hand. Fortunately, many of the tanks used at Wayne's World are built on fairly lightweight golf cart chassis with low pressure tires. The player was not permanently injured.
A special celebrity player mission was run in the afternoon. Bud Orr, Marty Tripes, Tom Kaye, Todd Adamson, Kenny Chamberlain, Ben Tippmann, Paul "PGP" Bollenbach, and more went out on the human side to attack the aliens. With a barrage of paint, they cleared their way into sinkertown at the center of the field, and kept momentum up to the bridge and the alien base, until alien reinforcements and a tank took to the field breaking their front line in two and picking up the pieces as they spread out to the east and west.
As the sunlight faded, the game was suspended for the dinner break. Some players cooked in their campsites or picked up food in town, while others ate the catered BBQ ribs or chicken. After dinner, it was time for the annual Kingman Costume contest. A tradition at the Grand Finale, this year the draw was 13 contestants, with a panel of paintball celebrities judging. There were a few entrants who looked to be straight out of the film Battlefield Earth, while others took a somewhat different approach. An aluminum foil wearing alien stretched a latex glove over the top of his head and stomped around while inflating it with his nose. A player barely old enough to enter wore a wild alien mask and wig. A guitar wielding player ranted to the audience about how they needed to straighten up, or they'd end up living "in a van, down by the river." The final contestant was "GI" Joe. The previous year he made quite an impression in his costume that could best be described as a woodland camouflage diaper. Joe stepped into the tent for the contest in a platinum blond wig, with elbow length white gloves, and a bright red dress. After strutting in front of the crowd, the gloves slid off, and the tear away dress was thrown off to reveal…. the camo diaper!
The field was narrowed to three finalists - a human slave girl wearing little more than a chainmail bikini, one of the movie style aliens, and the first place winner - glove-head. All three received paintguns from Kingman International.
After the contest, Ben Toricelli gave a special award. In recognition to the support and encouragement he as provided to the sport of paintball over the years having worked at JT, and more recently Scott, Marty Tripes was given a paintball lifetime achievement award. Marty recently retired from working in the paintball industry, and many have commented on missing him at major events. Rumor has it that he won't be away for long.
After the contest was finished, and the crowd dispersed, the youngest entrant looked a bit dejected at not winning. Quietly, and without fanfare, Bud Orr decided he would do well with a prize too, and gave him a 2000 STO Autococker to get his paintball career off on solid footing.
With the large turnout, the Dollack staff had a few surprises to contend with over the weekend. The crowd was larger than expected, so extra ID cards had to be improvised for late registering players. Of the 60 CO2 tanks brought by the local gas supplier, 16 turned out to be empty. Keith, from Old River Paintball brought over tanks from across town to help fill in the gap. The paint also ended up being short for the crowd that was throwing it hot and heavy during the game. Zap paintballs, one of the event's major sponsors was gracious enough to allow one of their competitors to pick up the slack, and paint to finish the event was brought over from Diablo Direct's Daytona warehouse.
Night play began, and the players went out with the night time chrono limit of 150 fps.
In the darkness, near the stroke of midnight, members of the Sin Sity Raiders who had come in from Las Vegas, Nevada took the alien teleportation device and used it to transport a human spy next to the alien general to assassinate him for game points. Similarly, the aliens managed to overrun and control the human base. As Dutch and a group of humans returned to the field they noticed eliminated players leaving their headquarters. Rather than walking in, they remained cautious, which was a good thing - it was a trap. The 8 alien players who had control of their base managed to hold it for the next half hour.
In the overflow parking lot, a leaking propane tank started a fire in a camping trailer. The trailer's owner managed to put out the fire quickly, but suffered burns on his arms and face. He was assisted by nearby campers, and is reported to be recovering well.
A player needed assistance leaving the field after taking an unusually hard hit from a paintball. The player who had shot him was found, and chronographed at 400 feet per second - 33% faster than what is considered safe for paintball, and 150 fps faster than the velocity used for night time play at Wayne Dollack games. According to Dollack, the referees began spot checking the field with handheld RadarChron chronographs, and pulled four more players from the same team - all shooting above 325. At 12:35 am, he stopped the game, and all active players were brought to the staging area to discuss the problem. All players were re-chronographed before the game re-started, and more spot checking was done during the night. The player who had cranked his paintgun up to 400 fps was not allowed to resume play.
At 3:00 am, game play was finished for the night, to resume after breakfast.
The game finished on schedule at noon the next day, and while most players were confident that victory would be awarded to the humans, no one was sure - they might see a surprise in the score totals like the one that happened at the Aurora Borealis game earlier in the year.
The aliens overran the human base three times for 300 points and another time with the general in it for 150. The humans on the other hand blew up the alien base once, overran it four times, twice with the general in the site, and completed an additional special op mission for 650 points total. Out of 40 assigned missions, worth 100 points each the aliens completed 9, and the humans 21. The aliens completed an additional 300 point general assassination mission. The humans completed their primary objective of the game - blowing up the alien planet by transporting a nuclear weapon there. That yeilded them 300 points. Both teams earned points for the props they had collected during the game - items ranging from gold bars, uranium, gold dust, coins and cash to weapons boxes and dynamite. The totals left 5525 points for the aliens and 6750 for the humans - a 1225 point victory.
With the humans rejoicing, and the aliens
thrown off the planet Earth, both sides were congratulating each other
for a fun game, well played. Team awards were followed by a seemingly
never ending stream of prizes drawn by raffle, or simply thrown out to
the crowd, while players started the smack talk about who was going to
win "Eye of the Storm" to be held next year.
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