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by Clair Stewart
With a low mournful whistle a confederate soldier raises the stars and bars while a union officer spanks the dust from his pants. In the corner a Spanish monk listens to confessions from the poor while a dark man in an old black duster drinks from his canteen. Is this an old west tale or a Clint Eastwood movie? No just another scenario event from the Macks Xtreeme Sportz family. This year the MXS scenario games are based on historical legends, such as Robin Hood, Bermuda Triangle, Lost Dutchman Mine. This time the game takes place in the celluloid history of the Spaghetti Western. These paintball players were preparing themselves for the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in Prescott, Arizona. Following their tradition of trying new things in scenario events; this event was held at the newly created Dog Pound field, home of the scenario paintball team "the Dog Soldiers". The Dog Pound is run by Loriel Byers; better know in the paintball world as "Shotgun", captain of the Dog Soldiers. This game turned the tables on Loriel as she had the glorious task of hosting a scenario game instead of participating. In place of devising strategy for completing missions she was faced with providing paint, air, referees, food, and shelter for 100+ gung ho paintball players. This was a much more difficult task, but one which she would rise to the challenge to.
The Dog Pound field is located some 22 miles outside of Prescott at the edge of the Prescott National Forest. It contains a large wash that runs from East to West along the South side of the field with several cottonwood trees along the banks. From the center of the field the ground slopes up towards the North edge with a forest of fir trees along the boundary. The center of the field above the wash consisted of a flat plain, which ran almost the full length of the field. The layout of the field allowed each team to use the forest to the hide and to move unseen from one base to the other while the wash and the flat plain provided good visible areas to reconnaissance the other teams progress. Additional props and areas had been constructed in the field to better fit the storyline of the movie. Across the wash was a pallet bridge, which would be key in many capture and destroy missions. At the edge of the woods was a small chapel in which the role player Father Pablo visited and blessed the players protecting his sanctuary. In the center of the field was the cemetery, which contained the shrine to the departed “Dog Soldiers”, referees for the event.
MXS travels the nation providing these events for the discriminating paintball player who chooses to play something other than a typical recreational game or tournament paintball. In their RV Patrick "Packman" McKinnon, and Diane "Mother" McKinnon prepare all the roles, missions, and player backgrounds for each event. They with other members of the MXS staff develop storylines, which provide the scenario player the opportunity to be part of legendary battles. In Prescott, the story followed Clint Eastwood's immortal tale of gold, civil war, and deceit among thieves. The sides were divided with the down home Southern Boys against the Northern blue bellies. The southern general was played by Chad "Dinky" Ackerman of the scenario team "The Phreekz". This was "Dinky's" 3rd time as general this year at a scenario event and he played the leaders role perfectly even leading a Southern charge waving the confederate flag above his head before the dinner break on Saturday. On the Southern side Dinky had several experienced scenario teams including Bad Karma from Phoenix, and the notorious Sin Sity Raiders from Las Vegas, Nevada. His counterpart was Matt “Master Blaster” Medina from team Agent Orange. This was his first try at directing a scenario side and he hoped that first timers luck would be with him against the more experienced Phreek.
Saturday morning found the players gathered to listen to the morning briefing and prize drawing done by "Packman". The specific local rules were addressed by the co head referees- Jake "Eskimo" Johnson, and Rodney "Everclear" Byers. Following their remarks the signal was given to get to the appropriate home bases.
As some may know I play with the Sin Sity Raiders, which over the last year has changed its involvement from tournament paintball to scenario/big game events. We proceeded as a team to the Southern base and received our battle orders from General Dinky. Dinky's strategy was fairly simple, part of his forces needed to fulfill the missions sent in from Mother while the rest of the forces protected the command post. A select force would be dispatched to disrupt the Union missions and cause havoc for the apposing general. This last course is what the Raiders do best. We can run regular missions as well but when you want someone to harass the opposing team and keep them from completing their missions we do it better than anyone else. At the Lost Dutchman event in Tucson this year the Raiders were partially responsible for setting the record for general kills for an event. That type of disruption of fulfilling missions is what you need to have to win at scenario events. And we live for it! So we set out quickly to attack the opposing base and recon the area.
At first glance the field appeared to be fairly short and would easily
allow players to move from one base to the other quickly. This advantage
disappeared as the players traveling along the wash bottom soon turned
this ground into soft sand slowing all movement. The Southern forces
moved along the wash until they contacted the Northern troops and pushed
them back to the Union base. There they fought a stalemate with the
Union forces without being able to overcome Blue’s superior position around
the Union base. This fighting continued for most of the day with
the Union being pinned back around its base and the Southern forces free
to move about the field.
With night coming up and the dinner break soon upon us both sides were given a mission to hold the cemetery at the center of the field. Both Generals moved out of their bases to lead this skirmish. With General Dinky waving the confederate flag he banded his troops to him and marched up the plains like a glorious recreation of Pickets charge in Gettysburg. Fortunately for Dinky he was much more successful than Picket and he turned the Union forces into retreat. With Blue on the run the rebels proceeded to surround the Union armies and remove them from the field. The Dinner siren went off to sounds of Dixie being sung and shouts of the South shall rise again.
Night play was time for some of the referees to get into the action. At the dinner orientation “Packman” asked if anyone would mind if some of the referees and him played in the night game. No one objected and everyone reset his or her markers to the night limit of 250 feet per second. As the armies prepared for the night it became real important to question everyone who passed by as both confederate and union troops passed by one another without being recognized. The Southern camp was hit the hardest as not one but two union assassins passed undetected through the base security and blew up the command shack. In addition with the darkness it was commonplace for players on the same side to shoot one another by mistake. Challenges in the night rang out for identification, but quick thinking players bypassed even these security measures. Many players could listen for the right passwords during insertions and use them to gain entry into the opposing camp. As the night wore on the South lost more missions and the North completed more. With all the confusion Pacman was able to sneak up and assassinate both Generals in their bases.
After the night game ended the next morning as “Mother” read out the number of missions accomplished it appeared as if the confederates were holding on to a slim point lead with plenty left to play. The first insertion of the morning had very few confederates taking the field, a fact that left the confederate base security ripe for an assassination. Within a half hour of starting a Union assassin made his way through the sparse Confederate forces and assassinated Dinky. With Dinky out until the next insertion the remaining rebels had to hold their position until relieved, unable to run any missions for lack of manpower. Following the reinsertion the Confederate forces moved along the North edge of the field, through the forest and attacked the Union infantry from their flanks. This was a hard fought battle that contained many of the Union troops and caused their General to remove himself from his post rather than be killed in battle. By doing this he felt he would preserve points from the rebels, as they would not be able to eliminate a General. However when Matt missed the 2nd insertion after he willingly eliminated himself the referee indicated he had been eliminated and the points for a general elimination went to the South.
By 11:00 am the South had completed all of their missions but felt that the game was still too close to call. The final battle would decide which side would get the gold and which would go home losers! Based on the movie the final scene would come down to the graveyard. The team who could control the graveyard would win the game. The rules for the final battle are different then those for the rest of the game. Players shot out in the last conflict only had to retreat to their respective ammunition dumps to be reincarnated and resume the fight. This leads to a lot more action, as players could be more aggressive knowing that they could be right back after being shot. As with most of the game the Southern armies lead by Dinky jumped out to a quick advantage in controlling the bridge leading to the cemetery and the South wash. As the North advanced several Southern players inserted themselves into a key cottonwood tree along the edge of the wash with perfect coverage of both the wash and the plain leading to the cemetery. This position proved to be crucial as the Northern armies could not move upon the cemetery in any mass without being cut down by the snipers Ben “ Radar” Post, and Shawn Thatch. As the Union forces moved to flank the cemetery to the North along the tree line they ran into a determined Bad Karma team that had taken up a defensive position North of the cemetery. Facing those forces the Union retreated back and tried to counterattack again and again without success. As the final siren blew the South was in complete control of the cemetery and the game was theirs.
Following the game Pacman gave away the prizes of markers, air systems,
packs that were provided by the sponsors. Each of the General’s distributed
their awards to the players on their teams and Mother read off the final
scores of the game. All in all it was a great event on a new field.
Kudos to Shotgun, the Dog Soldiers, and MXS for making a memorable scenario
for all who competed.
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