RECON goes Online!

In paintball today, the cutting edge is producing equipment which is faster, cheaper and lighter. As we've seen by the new releases of markers at the recent PSP World Cup, the newest products from Tippmann and TechT, Dye and Planet Eclipse, are all huge steps forward in these realms. Certainly, light and fast aren't always ideal qualities. I'm a huge fan of gorgeous brass sheridan-valved pump markers. But when you are looking to squeeze every bit of performance out of what you've got, lighter and faster is the way to go.

Unfortunately, the changing times have hit the paintball industry hard, and RECON has not been immune to this. RECON has always been a labor of love, not a money-maker, and as such, the "ship of state" has finally scraped up against financial shoals, far sooner than we had hoped. Due to these financial difficulties, RECON will soon be moving to a free, all-online format, to be called RECON Online. We'll continue providing informative and useful articles, and great paintball photos, now at the touch of your keyboard (how's that for fast?).

Obviously, this was a hard move to make. It's tough to beat the feel of a great woodsball picture in a glossy magazine. However, this is the manner in which we at RECON feel we can best serve you.

Of course, we won't leave subscribers hanging out to dry. Our close friends at Special Ops Paintball have very generously agreed to issue to each subscriber a gift certificate of greater value than the currently remaining balance on your subscription. Details for these will follow.

Thank you all again for your support of RECON magazine, and we look forward to continuing to serve the woodsball community in our new online venue!

Ian "Lo" Ebersole

Edit: Check out RECON Online here


Paintball - Hobby or Sport?

Is paintball a hobby, or is it a sport? Sounds like a funny question coming from an avid paintballers, but the more people I talk to, who don’t play paintball, the more this question comes up.

To the people who play, there is no doubt that paintball is a sport. When you consider that there are more than 11 million players worldwide who also consider paintball a sport, how can the general public think of the game as a hobby?

Part of the confusion may arise from the definitions of each term from dictionary.com. A hobby is defined as an activity or interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation. Sport is defined as an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature. According to the definitions, paintball is both.

Most people have their first experience with paintball at a birthday or bachelor party or corporate outing. The purpose of these paintball games would clearly fall within the definition of hobby - go out, shoot some paint, have some fun.

After playing a few times most people start getting a little more competitive, moving into speedball or competitive woodsball. Or, they just play walk on days at their local field.

Both types of game require quire skill and both are played for pleasure. Since the world champion Los Angles Ironmen and SPPL champion Smart Corp have full time jobs to pay the bills, including paying for paintball, the players must be doing it for pleasure. By the same token no one can argue that the members of either of these teams aren’t athletes.

Is paintball a hobby or a sport? Those of us, who play, at any level, know it is a sport. If others think paintball is a hobby that’s fine, as long as they come out and play, at least once, and see for themselves that paintball, unlike many other sports, can be whatever you want it to be.

When people realize that paintball is customizable to any participate at any skill level. That the game can be as competitive or relaxed as you want it to be, they to will see paintball like we do. A great sport, or hobby, or pastime that can be enjoyed by anyone.

..:: Visit the Tippinators Official Website - www.tippinators.com for up to date news and official information about the team. ::..


Paintballing = Terrorism ?!?!?!?

My entire life I have been told that physical activity is vital to development in young people and to overall health of everyone regardless of age.

Government websites state that physical activity helps maintain a healthy body weight, and is associated with positive self-esteem, greater self-efficacy, improved academic and cognitive performance, and greater perceived well-being. Physical activity helps reduce a number of risk factors for diseases such as coronary heart disease by setting positive habits early on in childhood and adolescence.

The last time I checked paintball is a great physical activity that is enjoyed by people of all ages and from all walks of life. So according to the government paintball is good, right?

No necessarily. I recently came across this article from the Globe and Mail here in Canada...

Globe and Mail - 28/09/2008

Toronto -- When I was a teenager, I sometimes "cut doughnuts" in icy parking lots with my parents' car. Paintball was before my time, but I sometimes went camping in the winter and spent much of the time horsing around with my friends in the snow.....

Does this make me a terrorist? According to Canada's anti-terrorism laws, it seems the answer could be yes. In his ruling, Mr. Justice John Sprout argued that "engaging in activities such as paint-balling, physical exercise and rafting is by no means inconsistent with the existence of a terrorist group." If casting a wide net is our government's strategy to fight terrorism, then expect more guilty verdicts. But don't think it makes Canada a safer place.

You have to be kidding me. John Sprout is a judge, which means he is an educated man. I guess education and common sense are mutually exclusive.

To say "paint-balling is by no means inconsistent with the existence of a terrorist group" is akin to saying "consuming solid sustenance, defecating and breathing oxygen are not inconsistent with being a serial killer."

There are 11 million paintballers out there right now. There are more paintballers than some country's have people. According to Justice Sprout that would mean there are 11 million potential terrorists running around. Psssst... Hey Homeland Security.... If this is true your job just got a little harder.

Asinine statements like the one made by Justice Sprout go to show how little, he, and the general public really know about our sport. I am willing to bet if he put on the goggles and came out for a day he would change his, misinformed opinion.

It is up to you, and everyone out there who loves paintball, to educate people about our great sport. To let people know that paintballers aren't warmongering, ultra violent, terrorists, despite what Justice Sprout thinks. Paintballers are international brotherhood of people who have, positive self-esteem, greater self-efficacy, improved academic and cognitive performance, and greater perceived well-being because of outdoor physical activity.


What's happening to RECON?

As some of you who follow RECON may have noticed, there have been some changes coming down the line. Dawn “Editor” Allcot, the editor of RECON for almost the past year, and her husband TJ are currently expecting their first child. As any of you who have children know (and any of you still living at home are also aware), this can be quite a time-consuming process! In light of that, Dawn has stepped down from her position as editor, and I have taken on the responsibility of filling some very impressive shoes. Dawn will stay on the RECON staff as a writer, and TJ will continue to provide the great woodsball pictures that we all love!

What does this mean for you, the subscriber?

First, I'd like to say that the vision and heart of RECON is going to remain entirely unchanged. We are the magazine of woods paintball, and there are no intentions of changing that. Ever.

We will continue to produce a magazine that is full of articles on topics that YOU want to read about. You can look forward to more tactics articles by Bruce “Charon” Johnston, event coverage from Doug "Montydoom" Montgomery, more articles on stealth by the likes of Jayson Orvis, and the culmination of the Battle Mountain saga. We will continue to provide pictures from Rich “Junkie” Struth, TJ Allcot, and Stephanie "Serenity" Kirk along with the rest of the extremely talented RECON freelance staff. We will continue to bring you info on the latest and greatest equipment to rock the woods. And we will continue to do this all in a professional, family friendly format. We want RECON to be a magazine you are proud to display on your coffee table, that you can use to start conversations and get your friends to see what this sport called paintball is really all about.

Unfortunately, due to the transition, there are going to be delays in publication. The RECON staff is working as hard as we can to get issues in your hands as soon as possible. The details on this are being worked out as we speak, however we will commit to giving you the most up to date information possible, whenever it is possible. We are just as anxious as you are!

As always, please feel free to send any comments, questions, or suggestions to RECONeditor@gmail.com. We love to shape this magazine to what YOU want to see, and direct feedback is the easiest way to make that happen.

Looking forward to serving you all in the near future
Ian “Lo” Ebersole
RECON Editor-in-Chief


Back to the Woods

Well, around here, summer has hit in full force. Which means, it's time to get out and play paintball. For any woodsball game, summer can be the ideal time to play, plenty of foliage, nice weather, and no worries of freezing your marker with CO2. Of course, there are a few hazards to be careful of, especially in the summer:

Plants: The bushes provide great cover for crawling. Just make sure you know what kind of bush you're snuggling with. I've made the mistake of finding myself halfway through a patch of poison ivy. Not good.

Bugs: Ticks and mosquitoes are out in full force. The little buggers might not be a huge irritant, but can cause problems later. Make sure to use bug repellant, and check for ticks after you play!

Weather: As nice as the weather can be during the summer, thunderstorms can always be a risk. Don't mess with lightning. Also be careful of dehydration, especially during long games! Water is your best friend, both for drinking and cleaning off hits between games.

Newbies: Ok, not a hazard. But be aware, summer is the time of year when most new players try out the sport. Make sure their first experience is a great one, both by insuring safety and good fun gameplay.

So what are you waiting for? Get out and play!


Are You WAGG?

The term AGG has been around tournament paintball circles for years. The term, originally used to describe the Hostile Kids from Southern California, first cropped up around Y2K. Over the years the word AGG has evolved to become an expression of being cool or an elite player in an unexplainable way. AGG isn’t cool. AGG isn’t elite. AGG is AGG. From the way a player stands to the type and method of wearing his headgear, everything is taken into consideration when deciding if a player is truly AGG.

Dan Lapham of the Tippinators, a former All Star player in the CXBL, has noticed that woodsballers have their own unspoken set of standards for what makes a woodsball player unexplainably cool or unexplainably elite. Lapham has since coined the phrase WAGG, or WoodsAGG.

Unlike the tourney players whose AGGness is, for the most part, based on appearance. WAGG players must look good but also be functional in the woods. Here are some examples Lapham has come up with:

An authentic appearance:
Ghillie with matching mask and gloves:
New technology with a subdued traditional woodsball feel:
Decked out for woodsball with a different/exotic piece of equipment:

No yellow bandanas, pink hopper covers, nor jerseys three sizes to large here. These WAGG players are just woodsballers putting bits of their personality into their equipment, and appearance, in order to get the most out of the game they love.

The beauty of woodsball is that you don't need to dress a 'certain way' or have 'certain marker' to fit in, or stand out. The only thing limiting your WAGG, is your imagination.

Are you or one of your friends WAGG? Log on to the Special Ops Paintball Forum and show the world.

Photos by: Bruce 'Charon' Johnston

A tribute to a Founding Father

Founding Father of paintball that is! I was surfing across M. Carter Brown (a website which caters to collectors and those of us who enjoy playing in the oldschool style), and found these. Here's to you Glenn!

Glenn Palmer's tears cure cancer. Too bad he has never cried.
Glenn Palmer counted to infinity - twice.
Glenn Palmer does not hunt because the word hunting infers the probability of failure. Glenn Palmer goes killing.
If you can see Glenn Palmer, he can see you. If you can't see Glenn Palmer you may be only seconds away from death.


DDAY -- A remembrance, a reverence, and reliving

This day, June 6th, has a deeply felt meaning to whole generations. We honor those who fought for their countries, for the freedoms of others, and for their brothers in the battle next to them. It was the day that marked the end of an era for some, the beginning for others. And it is a day when we look with admiration and respect towards those who have volunteered to do the same today, both at home and around the world.

It is also the beginning of a slew of paintball games marking the invasion of Normandy, from small woodsball games and scenarios up to the largest scenario event in the world, Oklahoma DDAY. Players around the country will join together and fight with the common theme of DDAY on their minds. RECON, as always, will be providing coverage of these events. Make sure to watch for those in the issues to come.

Once again, we thank both those who served our country in those momentous days and today. You are the truest of heroes.


Paintball comes to the Big Screen.. Get involved!

The Paintball Kid is a coming of age action/adventure epic that will be filmed in exotic locations worldwide from the US and Canada to China. Oklahoma D-Day Adventure Park, world's largest paintball field, will be the anchor battle ground for action/stunt filming and other paintball fields are in process to be selected as well. It marks the first joint American/Chinese effort employing paintball as the theme in a major motion picture.

Shanghai Film Studios will serve as the principle studio overseas while studios in Hollywood, Houston and Dallas, Texas will be used for principal photography in the US and Canada. The Paintball game industry, serves as background for the film’s story. Arrangement is currently being made to film on location at major paintball events throughout the world. The film’s story occurs within the context of actual scenario and tournament games that are on-going. The Paintball Kid is expected to draw enormous attention to one of the world’s fast growing sports.

Leading and major supporting actors are being cast out of Hollywood. However, one of the leading roles and several supporting roles will be selected from real paintball players. All paintball scenario and tournament players are eligible for casting and are encouraged to follow the event broadcasts, pending announcement of casting.

Look for updates and follow ups at the OKDDAY website, www.ddayadventurepark.com.


Camoflauging your paintball marker

As you pack up for your next woodsball game, you likely look through all your gear to make sure you don't forget anything. At least I do (I learned that lesson the hard way). Paint and air? Check. Cammies? Check. Mask, nicely ghillied? Check. Vest, which just happens to match your cammies? Check. (for all the grief we give each other.. none of us minds looking sharp out on the field). Big, ominous, black marker? Check.Now, for your average recreational woodsball player, having a black marker isn't a big deal. It's tactical. It looks slick. And it sure doesn't stick out as much as those guys with their neon sign flashbang markers. But for a player who is serious about his stealth, that blotch has to go. After all, you can get away with a boot often enough, it's tucked in a bush. But you've got to point that marker at an opponent. So not only will it be exposed, you'll likely be moving it. And as any good stealth-oriented player knows, movement draws attention like one of those flashbangs would.

There are a couple of easy options. The cheapest, and easiest way to subdue your marker, would be to just toss an old subdued shirt on it, tie it down at a couple of points, and let it be. It's a temporary solution, and it can snag on brush, or even any external moving parts on the marker. That said, in a pinch, it'll give you the concealment you're looking for.

The next step along that line is to full out ghillie your marker. This takes more time and thought, since you'll probably want to make a removeable cover that will last. Almost a slipcover, but more manly. Once you have a base of some sort, you can begin attaching burlap, vinyl leaf, or Action Ghillie. If you do a good job, you can minimize snags, and you'll have some of the best passive camoflauge out there for the task at hand. Goodbye telltale-black signpost labeled "Sniper here."

Oftentimes players find that a ghillie gunwrap suits their needs perfectly. However, over time, players who charge through the woods will find their ghillie snagging far too often, or falling apart. There is a more permanent and appealing option, although not for the faint of heart. Painting.I'm not talking about a rattlecan job here, although that can do a nice job in a pinch too. For the ultimate in stealth, marker protection, and let's admit it, just looking downright classy, Duracoat has proven itself to be the way to go. More durable and more customizable than annodizing, Duracoat is a chemical-based paint that "bakes" onto the surface of your marker, and is downright indestructible (and doesn't snag on brush!). With some equipment on hand, you can do a duracoat job yourself, but I'll warn you from experience, prepare to take a LOT of time to do it, and do it right. Or, of course, there are painting specialists who do it for a living, if you've got the cash.

So, if you've been looking for that edge, look into camo, from a different light.


You needed some Costuming for that Medieval Scenario?

Ok, this may or may not be really newsworthy, but it definitely caught my eye.

It's often been noted that paintball attracts a good portion of the "geek" crowd (along with other stereotype populations). There may now be solid proof for this. Chainmail has come to the paintball scene.
Yes. Chainmail. The clinky metal stuff. In this case, www.PBChainmail.com has launched, selling tank covers of all sizes. Anything from a 12g changer or 3.5oz CO2 up to a massive HPA tank can be covered in style, with a wide selection of colors and a few different weave patterns. The option is also given to have the cover made of half rubber and half metal links to cut weight, add more flexibility to the cover, and save cost.

Despite being made on a custom or semi-custom basis, and of course the time consuming process involved (I don't know how many others out there have made chainmail. It takes forever. I gave up after a few days, which coincided nicely with my mother's refusal to give me any more coat hangers), the prices for the covers are similar or slightly higher than other tank covers availiable on the market. So if you're looking for something to set your tank or marker apart and provide protection along the way, a chainmail cover might just be the ticket.
If nothing else, it makes for some nice eye candy.


SPPL 2008 California Updates

For anyone who has been following the SPPL season, updates have been posted on the SPPL website. This weekend's California Qualifier is hosting some of the most intense Elite Division matchups so far, with Forest Fire, Forest Demons, and Regime all battling for top honors. Also attending the event in the Masters and Rookie divisions are the Chupacabras and Elite Mercs. Game scores from Day One have been posted, and more results are sure to come in as the event wraps up tommorow.

California Updates:

Final Results Just In!

Elite Mercs win Sportsmanship!

Forest Demons take 1st in the Elite Division while
ForestFire takes 2nd and Regime takes 3rd.

In the Masters Division, Chupacabras take 1st and the Elite Mercs take 2nd.

I would personally like to thank each of you who attended this event. Thank you for making it GREAT! with your outstanding Sportsmanship and level of play. -- Jayson Nielson (from www.playsppl.com)


RECON Magazine at Long Island Big Game

I'm gearing up for the Long Island Big Game right now. "Gearing up" for me, this season, unfortunately, means I'm clearing off my digital recorder, packing the truck full of magazines, and printing out RECON subscription forms.

RECON Magazine will be offering a great subscription deal at THIS GAME ONLY! Buy a two or three-year subscription to RECON, and receive a FREE CD of photos from the 2007 Long Island Big Game, taken by RECON staff photographer T.J. Allcot. The CDs will be selling for $10, and include tons of great moments from last year's Long Island Big Game--the tanks, the helicopter, celebrity generals, big name scenario teams and more!

You can't lose--subscribe to RECON for 2 or 3 years, getting more than 50 percent off the newsstand price, and get FREE PHOTO CD, too!

Drop by and see me near the Blue's Crew / EMR Trailer in the vendor area. Bring me food and I'll give you 10 percent off ANY RECON SUBSCRIPTION... a pregnant girl's gotta eat... ice cream, cookies, granola bars and pizza preferred!


Try Paintball Now Launched, promises to bring new players to the sport.

On Wednesday, paintball industry giant Tippmann Sports, along with Special Ops Paintball, US Army Paintball, and the Paintball Sports Trade Association announced the launch of a new website, TryPaintballNow.com. Designed both as a way to bring new players into the sport and provide current players with a comprehensive database of fields and paintball shops, the new site features an appealling layout with featured paintball videos and links to Tippmann sponsored prize drawings and newsletters.

In a recent press release, Ron Goldblatt , the marketing director for Tippmann Sports said: “Paintball is in need of new players. And, as an industry leader, Tippmann felt the need to focus marketing resources on recruiting these players... We wanted to create an entirely new medium for less experienced players because many existing paintball sites are great for experienced paintballers, but can be overwhelming for those newer to the game. With Try Paintball Now, we have a platform in place that provides a variety of helpful paintball information in a fun and easy-to-understand format.”

Recalling my own beginnings in the sport, I honestly feel this is a great move, both for the companies involved and the players it is marketed to. The combination of resources of some of the leading woodsball companies, especially led by Tippmann (honestly: how many woodsball players start with a Tippmann 98 or A-5? I'm one of the rare few that didn't, but I've owned one since), greatly simplifies a new players search for information, gear, and local fields. All of which means a simpler, faster learning curve, and more time having fun playing the game.

A big thumbs up on this move! (gee, now I feel like Ebert and Ropert)


Tippmann Announces Its Sponsored Teams on Web

Tippmann has announced its list of sponsored teams for 2008 and Tri-State Special Operations Command is proud to tell the world that they are amongst this select group of teams. Tippmann's sponsored teams hail from Pennsylvania, New York, Florida, California, Michigan, Illinois, Missouri, South Carolina, as well from Canada and Scotland.

Tippmann also recently partnered with the West Point Mil-Sim Paintball Club out of the United States Military Academy and supplied them with the the new US Army Alpha Black Paintball Marker.

"Being sponsored by Tippmann is truly an honor for TSSOC - the best mil-sim marker available in the hands of a hardcore team of operators. We are proud and excited to represent Tippmann Sports!" said James "BigDino" DiNardo, TSSOC Commanding Officer.

2008 games for TSSOC thusfar:
*Castaway Island (Oahu, HI) - Most Valuable Team for the Pirates and member Pete "Keg" Walker was awarded Most Valuable Player
*Splatbrothers' Operation Market Garden (Hopewell, VA) - Most Valuable Team for the Americans and MVP, Dave "Elff" Dietz
*Ambush Alpha-produced, Battle for Mt. Samat (Limerick, PA) – MVP, Chris "DeathX" Crawford, for the Japanese.
*West Point's Spring "Combat Classic" Korean War Scenario (West Point, NY) - Chris "Topher" Matsinger as XO for the US/UN
*Castle Conquest XXV (New Milford, PA) – Attackers, winning side in three hours and thirty minutes.

Tri-State Special Operations Command upcoming games will be the Viper Invitational in Sherwood, IN on May 24 and 25, NJ Nam 08 in Pittsgrove, NJ on June 7 and 8, Invasion of Normandy at Skirmish on July 12 and 13, San Juan Hill at SplatBrothers on July 12 and 13 in Hopewell, VA, and the New York SPPL qualifier at Cousin's in Plattekill, NY on July 26 and 27.

Tri-State Special Operations Command (TSSOC) is a team of highly motivated military-simulation scenario and woodsball players with a common goal to help shape the sport of scenario paintball while improving our team's tactical capability. For more information, please visit http://www.tristatespecops.com


RECON Announces Contest

Inspiring posts by RECON bloggers Bruce "Charon" Johnston and Ian "Lo" Ebersole have prompted me to announce a RECON reader contest! One first place winner will receive a one-year subscription to RECON Magazine and will have their essay published in RECON, while 2 runners-up will also have their work published in RECON and will receive a free copy of that issue!

The contest is simple... in a short essay of 400 to 700 words, tell us: "Why woods paintball is special to you" or "What makes you proud to be a woodsballer."

You can follow Lo's example and write about a particular day or moment, or speak in general, the way Bruce did. Have fun with it, be creative and please, use spell check before submitting your entry.

E-mail all entries to: RECONEditor (@) gmail.com. Entries will be judged by the RECON staff on the basis of creativity, clarity and quality. (That is: how unique/original your ideas are, how clearly you express your ideas, and if your essay is fun to read and shows a knowledge of basic writing ability). Contest deadline is June 15, 2008.

Writers and photographers whose work has appeared in RECON within the past year or is scheduled to appear within the next six months are ineligible to enter (sorry). Employees of RECON are ineligible to enter. LOL


A Day at the Park (ok, ok, Paintball field)

Went out and played paintball today, and I had a really, really good time. I went incognito; just pulled out some old cammies and a Tippmann 98 Custom and played.

While there were a few times I wished I was using my Phantom (snap shooting with a 3-foot long gun while laying down isn't all I remember it to be), it really was a much simpler, more relaxed day. No batteries, no pods, just pure paintball zen. I suppose with all the expectationsI usually bring to the field, I burden myself. Today, if I made a bad move, I made a bad move. It wasn't particularly important. I wasn't pressuring myself to play well, or even to really practice or learn anything. Just playing paintball.

The second thing that made it such a good day was that there happened to be a very large birthday party in attendance. There were just short of two dozen kids present, probably around 10 years old. To my surprise, they were most unlike the kids that age I've seen play before. They were aggressive and moved, they worked well with each other, and some of them were dang good shots. Beyond that, they insisted on playing together as a team against the regulars. (I can't say they ever won a game, but they came close!). They were all smiles, all day, even when they'd catch three or four balls on the way out. That's the kind of attitude I love to see from new players. Playing hard, and smiling harder.

Now, I've got a soft spot for kids. And that's part of it. But these two things combined really restored a lot of my hope in the future of the sport. During the entire day, I never saw any cheating, any swearing, anyone getting heated at all really.

Let's just say that today made me proud to play paintball.


What REALLY Makes Paintball Special?

I am an older player who has been around the game for a long time; I have the advantage of looking at the sport of paintball a little different than other people.

I have played organized sports at a competitive level my entire life: hockey, baseball, soccer, volleyball, tennis, golf and basketball. I can say that paintball players are a special breed of athlete. Perhaps that is the wrong word; paintballers are a special breed of people.

Paintball players are predominantly young men who play the game jacked up on adolescent hormones, adrenaline and energy drinks. The primary equipment needed to play the game can cause serious injury if used incorrectly and the participants play the game unsupervised, for the most part.

At the field and in online forums you can find people talking smack. Putting down other players because of the style of paintball they play or the equipment they use. When you put all of these ingredients together they look like a recipe for a brawl at best or full-out riot at worst. Yet paintball is the safest extreme sport in the world and one of the safest sports, period.

I have given a considerable amount of thought to the reason why. To the public, paintball appears dangerous and violent, but it is in fact, a true gentlemen’s sport.

The reason the game is as safe and popular as it is, is YOU--the player! Despite how it looks to outsiders, and what happens away from the field, the sport of paintball is special because of you. Each and every paintball player, in some way, contributes to the greatness of the game as a whole.

At the rec-ball field, there are neither soccer moms nor football dads screaming at their kids to play better and win at all costs. There is no external pressure on any players, so everyone can be themselves, which brings out the best in everyone.

The next time you are at the baseball diamond or soccer field take a look around. What do you see? Kids being pressured to live up to the expectations of their parents, stats and record sheets showing how this group of kids is better than that group of kids, league officials and coaches bickering over rules. In short, there is organized chaos and a distinct lack of love for the game.

Take a look around the next time you are at the paintball field. What do you see? Paintballers, that’s it -- just paintballers. A bunch of people who just want to go out and have fun playing the game they love.

Players at every field are pretty much the same. I have walked up to Team Delta at EMR, Thor Omega at Skirmish USA, logged on to a discussion forum in Ireland and have been treated with the same respect as when I am talking to the group of new players at my local field.

'Ballers are 'ballers no matter where you go. Every one of you should be proud of what you have created, a worldwide brotherhood of paintballers. A sport that is special because of the character of the participants, not because of wins and losses.


SPPL Utah Qualifier Wrap-Up

With its second event of the season, the SPPL (Scenario Paintball Players' League) is in full swing. Thirteen teams showed up to the famous Spec Ops Retribution field, home of Elite Weekend, for the 2008 SPPL Utah Qualifier on May 2 and 3.

You can check out www.playsppl.com for news, photos, and more. And of course, we'll have complete coverage of the game in the Spring 2008 issue of RECON Magazine. I'd like to share some of my personal observations about the event in this blog.

Although it snowed on Thursday evening, making the field (especially the upper "APE Rampage" field) quite muddy, it warmed up by Friday. The game got off to a late start but players and staff alike made the best of it, and by lunchtime, games were on schedule. Teams really hustled to get to their deadboxes in time. Due to a glitch with the DraXxuS paint delivery, we started the event with only 100 cases of paint. Players competing later in the day graciously waited to buy their paint, or loaned a case to teams who played in the morning. Even competing teams loaned paint so that the games could go on without a hitch.

The SPPL really reminds me of the amazing sportsmanship we see at woodsball games across the country, both spotlighting and rewarding friendly behavior. The refs--who did a phenomenal job--received the utmost respect from the players. Every team received several votes for the Sportsmanship Award, making it an amazingly difficult decision. Team Feel the Paint received the Sportsmanship Award--equal in value to the first place prize package--for their honesty, positive attitudes and helping to make the game more fun for each team they faced.

I personally want to recognize nearly every team for their behavior and fun-loving attitudes both on and off the field. Hats off to Chupacabra, (or rather, hats on), who traveled the furthest for the event, coming from Tuscon, Arizona to play in the Rookie Division. Also, special thanks and recognition to Shadow Legion, who faced some interesting travel challenges on the way down from Idaho, but arrived at the field with smiles on their faces and great attitudes in spite of their road trip difficulties.

The new divisions work well. One of the real benefits is that new teams really have a chance to compete against players of similar skill levels. This will encourage the growth of the league; Utah saw two brand new teams (less than one year old) playing in the rookie division and two teams new to the SPPL this season.

The Utah Qualifier hosted four Rookie teams, seven Masters teams and two Elite teams. The Elite teams competed in the two Masters brackets until the Finals in two brackets, giving the Masters players a chance to really stretch themselves.

Some of the hottest action took place in games where Masters players faced legendary teams like "Run." On Friday, industry legend Tom Cole of Bad Company sat in with Run, while Saturday saw Steve Paige and Dale "Pegleg" Price competing with the Utah-based Elite team.

The Winners:

1st - BlackLight Company
2nd - Suicide Kings
3rd - Feel the Paint

1st - Desert Edge Yin
2nd - Desert Edge Yang
3rd - Montana Inertia

1st - Forest Fire
2nd - Run

Sportsmanship: Feel the Paint

* Special thanks to Josh Eades of Desert Edge and Ben Haslam who photographed the event. Here's just a small sampling of Josh's thousands of pictures, which can be seen at www.playsppl.com and www.teamdesertedge.com.


Live, from the Utah SPPL

Just wanted to drop a quick note to all our RECON blog readers. I'm reporting live from the SPPL Utah Qualifier paintball event at the Spec Ops Retribution Field in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Well, actually, right now I'm in my hotel room about 3 miles from the field, ready to get some sleep for an early, early start tomorrow. Game time starts at 7 PM, and will continue until sundown.

I've also got in my hands, right now, (this part is true) the fresh NEW issue of RECON, the long-awaited issue 4:1. I sincerely hope it lives up to the hype (and the long wait.) We'll have back issues of RECON available for free at the event all day tomorrow (I can't guarantee they'll last until Saturday!) and copies of the newest issue for sale for only $5! You can't beat that price for a single issue!

Also, players with SPPL ID cards can subscribe tomorrow and receive a 10 percent discount off our regular subscription prices! If you're not at the event this weekend, but you have an official SPPL Player ID card, you can still take advantage of this offer by going to www.playsppl.com.

I think that's enough promotions for one night! Drop by the SpecOps field tomorrow and say hi and enjoy some of the best scenario paintball action around.


"Editor" On The Air, BRWP Gives Away Gear

Tune in to hear our very own Dawn "Editor" Allcot as a special guest in the most recent episode of Blast Radius Woodsball Podcast!

Listeners have been asking when the Raffle Prize Pack was going to be awarded, and it got to the point I couldn't come up with good excuses anymore. Into the studio I went. During the recording session the script called for an impartial pregnant woman with great grammar. Fortunately for all of us, Dawn was willing to take my call.

Nobody chooses random numbers like Dawn.

Here is the gear kit that was given away on the show:

1) Tippmann Paintball Marker - Get the most reliable name in the business, Tippmann is the workhorse of paintball. Compliments of DMC Paintball in Colorado Springs, CO. Call Dave for all your paintball needs 719-638-7037

2) THREE St!ffi barrels - yes three! - Carbon fiber is the best in strong, lightweight barrel accuracy. Three different bore sizes so you can get the best paint-to-barrel match. Experience the space-age technology for yourself. These are the same materials used by high profile Department of Defense programs. Bring your paintball game up to the carbon fiber standard today! Thanks to Naomi for this great prize!

3) Q-Loader 500 round system - this super fast loading system really rocks. Includes all mounting hardware and 5 pods - everything you need to get some serious paint out there. Thanks Steve!
Again, thanks Dawn! I knew you would be there in my time of need. As for the winner? You'll have to tune in to the show to find out!

Wayne Montle
Producer, Blast Radius Woodsball Podcast
Multimedia Correspondent, RECON Magazine


New Gear from Spec Ops

Spec Ops has introduced some cool new gear.

The company with some of the best-made (and most awesome) soft goods for woodsball has finally introduced hopper skins in SO Digi Cam and SO Omnipat patterns for Tippmann A-5 and X7 hoppers. Now you can break up your silhouette, camouflage the largest part of your gun, and soften it up a bit, too, encouraging bounces.

Spec Ops also introduces a CAR Stock for the Tippmann A-5, with a 5-position locking mechanism. Manufactured from aluminum and glass-filled nylon, this fully-functional stock, sporting the Tippmann SO logo, looks and feels just like the real thing.

Drop by the online store and also check out their new affordable BDUs in woodland camo, and the Omnipat Density Upgrade Kit for the Spec Ops Action Ghillie, too.


Splat Shack Paintball Hosts SPPL Minor Qualifier

The popular SPPL scenario tournament series is coming to Orrville, OH on June 21st and 22nd . Splat Shack Paintball will host a SPPL Minor Qualifier, attracting players in the Rookie, Masters and Elite Divisions for two days of fast-paced woodsball action.

Players will compete on one specially-designed, officially-sanctioned SPPL field, featuring white pine trees and underbrush, pallet bunkers and 55 gallon plastic barrel bunkers. Splat Shack Paintball will also be offering camping, flush toilets, showers, paint, co2, and compressed air fills on premises. There will also be hot dogs available for lunch each day.

Competing teams receive points toward their SPPL National Rankings and will enjoy the fast-paced game format and high quality sportsmanship that only an officially-sanctioned SPPL event delivers!

“I have played in the SPPL Michigan Qualifier for two years now and I love this game format!” says Jason Caskey owner of Splat Shack Paintball. His team (Failure to Flatline) plans to play in two major SPPL qualifiers and the finals in Georgia this year. "We hope this event will give our customers a chance to play in one of the most exciting tournament series to ever come to the paintball community."

Contact Jason at 330-264-5117 or visit www.splatshack.com to register or find out more.


Wayne Montle Reports from Down Under

Submitted by Wayne Montle, host of Blast Radius Woodsball Podcast

Operation: Invasion 3

Camp Extreme, Australia

Not many things can top the thrill of flying overseas to cover a paintball event. Months of prep and planning on the part of myself and my co-host Ben in Brisbane, went into making my trip to Australia possible. Those endless hours were well worth the effort, as I got to experience woods paintball down under, aka “bushball.”

For a paintball player, there’s nothing better than visiting new places, meeting new people… and shooting them with paint.

The Australian bushball players I met this past weekend were as enthusiastic as any players I’ve ever met anywhere. They help each other both on and off the field. They take their sport seriously and are working hard to help it grow.

For the duration of the trip, I was "mic’ed;” everything was potential material for the show. When the Aussies realized this, most of them gave a nervous laugh. I could see them trying to remember what they had said in the past few minutes.

The hardest part about recording audio of Australian paintball players is editing it all later. Their colorful use of descriptive and often crude language was entertaining, but left me “bleeping out” bits of the recordings late into the night.

The terrain down under is tough, and the thick growth makes stealth difficult. Fun to play, though.

I'm eager to summarize this trip for RECON readers after I return to Colorado. Thanks to RECON for helping sponsor the trip, and be sure to check out Blast Radius Woodsball Podcast for more about my trip to Australia.


RECON Live at SPPL Utah Qualifier

I just found out I'll be flying out to Utah to cover the SPPL Utah Qualifier May 2 - 3, 2008, to be held at the beautiful SpecOps Retribution Field in Bountiful, Utah.

I will also be giving away free copies of RECON, Issue 4:1, and we will be offering a special deal to SPPL players, with 10 percent off a one-year subscription to RECON, the Magazine of Woods Paintball.

If you still haven't registered your team for the SPPL Utah Qualifier, it's not too late! And while you're there, be sure to say hi and come get your free magazine. But please don't shoot me, as I'll be five months pregnant by that time. (Hint: I'll be big and wearing orange!)


Barrel tagging in paintball, and related thoughts

I'll be the first to admit it. I love barrel tagging. Absolutely love it. The problem is, it seems to be one of the least understood rules of paintball. This can lead to some ruffled tempers, arguments, and general issues on the field. So, Here's the general synopsis of the rule.

If a live player from Team A gets close enough to a live player from Team B, he may "tap" (note, not smack, hit, clobber, or knock unconscious.. you laugh, but I've seen some pretty strong "barrel tags") the player from Team B with his barrel. At this point, the player on Team B is out, and must leave the field of play without alerting his teammates, granted two provisions:

Most fields require the player on Team A to say the words "Barrel tag" or "Barrel tag, you're out" while performing the tap.

Most fields require that the barrel be attached to a complete marker (no running around with only a barrel).

Once this is complete, the player on team B is out, no questions asked, no fussing, no telling teammates "hey, there's a guy from A around here". End of story. Rule of scenario paintball.

The problem is, oftentimes the player on Team B feels cheated or disappointed that he has been outfoxed (or they just don't know the rule). Player B then puts up a fuss, turns and shoots, yells at other players to turn and shoot, or the like. This is both unsafe, illegal, and downright poor sportsmanship.

Once again, I don't have a solution to this. I've taken to only barrel tagging where there is a ref nearby who can sort things out if they go poorly. Course, that assumes the ref knows the barrel tagging rules also. Doh.

But, here are some tips for the barrel taggers and their attempted targets.

Barrel taggers:
Don't do anything even remotely near what would classify yourself as a dead player. No walking with other dead players, leave your gun all the way down, your other hand down. No barrel sock on the marker. Don't say anything even resembling the word out. Don't explain you are out of air, say you are low on air. etc. Make it as tough as possible for anyone to accuse you of cheating by calling yourself out, then coming back into play. Also realize, by attempting to barrel tag people, you are resigning yourself to possibly getting shot at close range if they catch on. Hopefully they'll be nice about it, one or two shots, but no guarantees. If you don't want that risk, don't go barrel tagging.
Also NEVER, NEVER impersonate a ref or media person. That's either illegal or downright lousy, and gets players shooting at field staff who really don't deserve it. Just a bad move in general.

If you suspect someone (on the opposing team) is attempting to approach your position for barrel tagging (or any other purpose similar, as an enemy spy perhaps), follow a pretty simple procedure.
Check to see if they have a marker over their head, a barrel sock on their marker, or a hand raised to indicate they are out.
If not, ask verbally if they are out, preferably while they are still 15 yards or so away.
If they do not say the words "I'm out" or "Yes", tell them to stop, and ask again.
If you still don't receive a proper response, put one (ONE!) shot on them. Preferably aim for something like a pod pack, to be courteous. But if they are in fact trying to be sneaky, they've accepted the fact they may be shot. Don't let them sweet talk you into not shooting, unless of course, they say those magic words.

Now, either you'll hit them (they are definitely out), or you'll miss. If they scramble for cover and start firing back, congrats, you just caught him. If he doesn't, chances are he isn't a spy, while you should still proceed with caution, you should be alright.

Hopefully this will clear up some confusion, and lead to an easier time and more fun for both sides.

Yes, this is an open invitation. If I'm wandering around aimlessly behind your team lines, I am barrel tagging. I will get shot because of this article. Oh well.


Living Legends Scenario Paintball Game

On April 4 – 6, 2008, Aaron “Krazy 8” Kirk and I attended the Living Legends event at CPX Sports in Joliet, Illinois, together. Produced by Viper Paintball and Wayne Dollack, this was one of the most amazing events I have ever played in! It was great to play with many of the top names in the Paintball industry including people such as Jim Lively, one of the 12 “survivors” of the original Survival Game held in the woods of New Hampshire more than 25 years ago.

DXS/DraXxus/Procaps senior VP Craig Miller was the general of the Marines; Smart Parts Smart Corps Sean Scott was general of the Russian contingent. Other “living legends” included: World Champion tournament player Frank Connell; Tobey “POGO” Grable of the Psycho Clown Posse; Guy Cooper; SpecOps’ Brian “MOATI” Russell; Dan Colby; DeWayne Convirs; Tippmann’s Erich Garbers; Glenn Palmer; and paintball media celebrity Rob "Tyger" Rubin, to name just a few.

It was truly an honor to be a part of Craig Miller’s command team, as a S.O.G. (Special Operations Group) Sergeant, running people to the tip of the spear on the front line of the battle field. By the end of a long, hard day of fighting on Saturday I was completely exhausted, but the adrenaline was still running through my body from the intense action on the field!

That evening Krazy 8 and I didn’t event shower or change out of our paintball clothes before we went out for dinner. It must have been a sight to see as we walked into the Chinese restaurant: Krazy 8 dressed in his kilt, and sporting his trademark bright blue & green Mohawk, me wearing SpecOps™ OMNIPAT pants and a bright yellow & orange MEDIA jersey. After dinner we return to our hotel to clean up, then fell asleep like someone had hit us over the heads with a hammer.

After playing so hard on Saturday, I reserved Sunday for my media duties, as we’ll be running a huge write-up of the game in a future issue of RECON. All the interviews I conducted gave me a unique opportunity to get to know even more of the Legends not only as players, but as friends!
-- by "Monty Doom"


SPPL Announces New Dates for Chicago Qualifier

The SPPL (Scenario Paintball Player’s League) has announced new dates for the Chicago Qualifier, to be held at CPX Sports this July 11 – 13, 2008. These new dates give Midwest players more of an opportunity to get their teams together and practice for the top scenario paintball tournament series in the U.S., with a prize package totaling more than $100,000 dollars for the season and competitive play at three different division levels.

Recognized as a RECON Magazine Field of Dreams and known across the world as a premier location for scenario and woods paintball, CPX Sports is famous for its Hollywood-set-quality concept fields, including the $1.5 million, eight-block, two-story Town of Bedlam, and the $750,000 post-apocalyptic paintball town, Armageddon.

The historic park, which opened in October 2000, has hosted legendary scenario events such as Shatnerball I and II, and, most recently, the Viper Paintball / Wayne Dollack Living Legends scenario, which pitted paintball industry celebrity generals Craig Miller of ProCaps and Sean Scott of Smart Parts against each other alongside a veritable who’s who of paintball greats.

This summer, CPX strives to make history once again by hosting the first-ever SPPL Chicago Qualifier. Games will be played on two of CPX’s thickly-wooded fields for the best woodsball action. Camping is available for players, along with hot food from CPX vendors.

The SPPL is offering its usual low prices for paint, $65/case for custom-designed, high-quality Recon Scenario Paintballs from ProCaps. The league also reminds players to order their ID cards at least three weeks prior to the event. Players must compete in at least one Major Qualifier in order to participate in the SPPL Grand Final Championships in October. The points earned in the Qualifier will go toward your season totals and help determine your place in the SPPL National Rankings, as well.

“We’re looking forward to a great turn-out at CPX Sports. The family-owned park offers all the amenities paintballers could want, and a top-notch staff devoted to offering the best customer service they can,” said SPPL President Jayson Nielson. “When we added new locations to our schedule this year, we looked at the best fields in the country, and CPX definitely fits the bill.”


Desert Edge Hosts Triad Challenge Paintball Game

April 12, Team Desert Edge hosted the 2nd Annual Triad Challenge. Players from across the Utah, Idaho and Wyoming regions came to experience what some players called “the funnest game format in paintball.” Three teams with roughly 40 players each dueled it out for most the day in the cedar flooded hills of Eagle Mountain, Utah—home field of Team Desert Edge.

The format is simple: three teams, three base flags and a center flag. Teams get a point for each minute their color is raised. The game has three rounds (one hour each) and a final battle--with the base flags removed. Teams rotate bases between rounds so each team gets the chance to attack and defend each flag.

With a format so simple, teams had to have a game plan a bit more complex. Branching out too far, assaulting too many bases while fighting against one team, may mean getting “back-doored” by the other team. Bralen Jackson—head referee of the event commented, “The strategies that worked were the ones that held their own flags and attacked only one flag at a time. The teams that tried to attack two or more flags while holding their own got rolled.”

I think it’s the simplicity of the format that keeps players coming back, and in-fact--asking for more. Comments throughout the seasons from players requesting more Triad Challenges are overwhelming. The concern is to keep the game fresh, and “not wear out the format” says “Danger Dan” Saunders--the designer of the game format. Although the number of people attending doubled from that of last year, the game will remain an annual event. The event attracted the largest variety of Paintball players I have ever seen, ranging from well grounded scenario teams, first-time players, large families, and even paintball veterans like Brad Russian (former Naughty Dog), Jayson Orvis (Special Ops owner), and Jayson Nielson (director of SPPL) to name a few.

Sportsmanship was top-notch, and several players received awards for it. Combine that kind of fun atmosphere with enjoying one another’s camaraderie, great admin and reffing staff, and a beautifully wooded field, and you too may ask, “When’s the next Triad Challenge?”

Whenever it is, we'll keep you posted and I’ll see you there.

Photos courtesy of Josh Eades.

Thoughts of a Reluctant Scenario Paintball General

You may recall I mentioned the Air Force Academy scenario paintball game, where I'd be playing last weekend. Well, it turned out that I took a slightly larger role. As a spur of the moment decision, I took the position of the US General (someone had to fill it, right?). It was my first time generalling anything larger than a recreational game, so 'twas a bit of a new experience. Thankfully, I've had a chance to observe some very good scenario generals over the years, so I figure I'd share some of the keys to doing it right.
Rule number one: Recruit, Recruit, Recruit. This one rule will make a world of difference. As soon as I had the role as general, I called up or sent an email to at least two dozen players who I knew could easily impact the game. Since it was a last second deal, I ended up getting about half a dozen of those. However, that half dozen carried the day, and brought along others to bolster our ranks.Rule number two: Keep recruiting until the last second. See above. I actually ran into a team in the staging area who I hadn't anticipated coming, and was able to get them to join my team for the day. They held my left flank secure, and got a good number of the props (thanks Team Agony!)
Rule number three: Lead from the front. Obviously as a General, you can't always be in the very forefront, and can't afford to be shot. But whenever the missions allow, be in the game. Even if it just means providing cover fire, that little assistance is vital. Be a decoy (out of range if you aren't keen on risks), or call out positions. Heck, why not. Lead a charge or two. You are there to play, too. Rule number four: Work new or solo players into the plan. Most often, organized teams get the glory missions, and players without a team get stuck slugging it out in the front lines. Makes sense, since teams are able to complete missions much more easily. It's what they are good at. But spend that little bit of extra effort and time, and show new players the deeper aspects of the game. That keeps the sport of paintball growing, the players happy, and your team fighting.
Rule five: Always come prepared. Now, there are bare minimums that any scenario general should have. Besides playing gear, bring a radio (and spare batteries!), a notebook and a couple of pens. But beyond that, there are always ways to spice up the action. Wanted posters for the opposing general are a nice touch. This particular scenario was based on a near-future invasion of North Korea, so a couple of spare gizmos from around the house made for a nice suitcase tac-nuke and a few vials of biochemical weapons. (How I got that on base, I'll never figure out!) Costuming is great too, if you can manage it. If nothing else, this helps reinforce to the players that this isn't just a run-of-the-mill woodsball game, and will keep them looking for anything out of the ordinary (ie props!).

Hopefully that'll give you a decent idea of the basics to be a commander or general in a small scenario paintball game. Look to see more about the Air Force Academy game in an upcoming edition of RECON. Feel free to leave comments with your thoughts and ideas, and I'll see y'all out on the field!

Oh, I did win, if you were curious. I can't take credit though. As I mentioned, Rule #1.

When Good Surrenders Go Bad

Myself, Tippinators teammate Josh 'Cornbread' Boiduk and Brandon Miller were able to sneak deep behind enemy lines during Warriors in the Woods VII - Operation Iceberg, held April 13 at Mersey Road Paintball. The unsuspecting players thought they were advancing through a safe area toward the main lines. The advancing players were asked to surrender but one player decided to fight it out. The cameraman added slow motion to show who fired first.

After the eliminated players respawned they gathered a force to hunt us down. Close to 100 players changed direction to dig us out, opening a hole in their lines that our team was able to drive through.

Read all about Warriors in the Woods VII - Operation Iceberg in an upcoming issue of RECON Magazine.

..:: ::..

Live, From Australia

Wayne Montle, RECON's multimedia correspondent and host of Blast Radius Woodsball Podcast, drops us a quick line to share this cool vid. http://youtube.com/watch?v=W99L2t38QXs

He says, "Check out the helicopter insertion that was a part of Operation: Invasion 3!! Life is good down under!"

We'll have more reports about "bushball" here on the blog and in future issues of RECON.


Prayers for Monty, Please...

I awoke Wednesday morning (I think it was Wednesday) to some disturbing news. Our very own Monty Doom had one of the worst MS attacks he's had in about 2-and-a-half years.

I spoke to him for about a half hour today and he's doing a bit better, but is on a lot of medication and very aggressive steroid treatment.

Whenever I speak to Monty, his inner strength astounds me. He just keeps going. After giving me an update on his health, he wanted to talk about RECON and his assignments, of all things!

Needless to say, his write-up of the CPX game on this site will be delayed a bit, but he will have the article done in time for our next issue, with some help from friends and fellow RECON staff. I told him he needs to focus on getting better. He won't be attending Castle Conquest XXV at EMR, either, in a few weeks. I told him we would all rather have him around for many, many paintball seasons to come, even if it means him missing a game or two this year.

I just wanted to share this news with RECON readers and as much of the woodsball family as this blog is reaching right now.

(photo: Monty and Blue of EMR)


"New" Kid in Town?

There's a new blogger out there, this one designed to give TB Wright a run for his money, as reported in this week's Ford Report.

He is striving to expose all that is wrong and evil in scenario paintball over at PaintballRejects.com.

But, I have to say, (a little bit of ego here), what really made my morning was seeing my name on the list of "who he's not." The list is a veritable who's-who of scenario 'ball, and he listed my name! Woo-hoo. (Yes, I still get a bit starstruck...as far as this game goes, I'm still a bit of a newbie myself.)

I have my own ideas of who he is, and I probably have a leg up in my guess, since I've worked with most of the top writers in paintball and can discern writers' voices pretty well. But I'll keep my thoughts to myself right now... leaving you with this clue: Who's name is notably missing from this list, a paintballer who strives to expose all that is wrong in the sport? (And, incidentally, claims not to be sponsored although I know he gets kit from a handful of top companies and sports their stickers on his gear.) Think about it.

Feel free to post your guesses below.


Some Exciting News in the RECON World


After a very rocky start, our next issue of RECON, the long-awaited Vol. 4, Issue 1, is at the printer. The printer predicts a ship date of April 18, with subscriptions mailed April 22. So everyone should have/be able to get RECON by the final week of April. I just hope it was worth the wait--a lot of pressure here! LOL Please write in, post on our forums, or leave a comment here and let me know what you think!

While everyone in the paintball world (or so it seemed) was out at CPX Sports for the Viper Living Legends game, I was here in New York digging out from a mountain of work.

But that's okay, because I will get a special treat in May, when I visit the Planet Eclipse U.S. headquarters in Rhode Island to interview "Uncle Ray" Veasey about the company's increased involvement in, and support of, scenario and woodsball. TJ and I have wanted to visit Eclipse HQ for about three years now (since the '05 Ego came out.) We finally have the time and reason to do it!

Trust me, TJ will bring his Nikon D80, and he'll be snapping photos of everything they let him! That coverage will come to you in Vol. 4, Issue 3. (We have a special industry interview surprise lined up for Vol. 4, Issue 2... someone who is much-loved by SpecOps fans the world-over.)

Monty Doom was out in Chicago covering the Living Legends game for RECON Magazine, and he'll stop by in a few days to give you his personal, inside-scoop wrap up of the game right here, even before you get to read the full article in the magazine. I also hope to convince Wayne Montle of Blast Radius Woodsball Podcast to check in every so often from Australia!

Until then, play safe, play fair, keep paintball fun for everyone!



How Not to Shoot Your Teammates

Rule Number 1 of paintball is to play safe. Every paintball field in the world has two rules that are non-negotiable.

1. All players must wear a protective mask at all times when on the field.
2. All players must use a barrel blocking device when not in the playing area.

There is, however, a third rule that should be added to the list.

3. All players are responsible for pointing their marker in a safe direction at all times.

While playing at my local field’s walk-on day I had moved ahead of the rest of my team and waited for them to catch up. I felt a sting on the side of my face and could taste paint. At first I thought, "How could I have missed someone?" I thought an opposing player had eliminated me from a concealed position.

I turned toward the direction of the shot to see a young player, from my team, with a rental marker, less than 10 feet away, waving to me followed by, "Sorry man, it just went off."

Tippinators Captain Bruce Johnston shows off a hit from a teammateWhile walking off the field, barrel bag on and marker raised, nobody knew I was hit. It wasn’t until I got to the staging area and took off my mask that I could tell by the reactions of my friends it was a unique hit. The entire ball went under my mask and broke on the inside.

The young player felt bad and apologized to me after the game and it didn't hurt as bad as the photo makes it look. But the incident could have been avoided if the player had his marker pointed in a safe direction.

Whether you are on the field, on the chrono range, or even in the staging area with a barrel cover on, you must be responsible for the direction your marker is pointing at all times.

In my case, a wipe with paper towel, the application of a band aid and I was in the next game.

Paintball is statistically one of the safest sports in the world. It is up to each of us, as players, to keep it that way. One way to do that, and how not to shoot your teammates, is to know where your marker is pointing at all times.

..:: ::..


The Dilemma

I've been facing a dilemma of late, which most of you have probably known before. Which marker do I use on a given day of play? On one hand, I have the Phantom, light, small, elegant. I used this almost exclusively last year, so I really got to know how it shoots. It's stock class, which both provides a bit of a challenge and makes it impossible for someone to get heated because “that kid overshot me”. I just love how that one feels.

On the other hand, there's the Mini, by far the most innovative marker to have come out in a while. The Mini shoots plenty of paint if I get in a bind, is also small and light, and is so easy to operate and maintain. Don't call me a tourney player, but there is just something nice about being able to put that much paint out. When I put a stock and an Apex tip on it, it shoots downright beautifully. Slap on a Dagger vest with a few full pods of paint, and I feel like I can really make more of an impact for my team than I would playing pump.

(David "Torch" McClannahan at BlackCat's "24" Scenario, Fort Ord, CA)

Problem is, neither marker is as idealized as I would make them. The phantom tends to make me a wanted man on the field (“get the pump guy, he must be good”), and with paint getting smaller every time I play, is prone to rollouts. That's a quick way to the deadbox. The Mini combined with my rather aggressive play style have caused me to be labeled as a tourney player on occasion, and after playing pump for so long, having a hopper and tank can really irritate me some days.

It'd be easy to say, well, Ian, use the Phantom for fun, and the Mini when you are competing. But that doesn't quite fit. Oftentimes the Mini is just as fun to use, and the Phantom makes me think outside the box in a way that will help my team out more. I never think of just walking through a firefight to pull a flag if I'm shooting the Mini.

I suppose that's the reason this is a dilemma, because I don't have a neat and clean solution. Until I do, I'll just have to take both to the field, and decide as I go. Oh well. At least this way, I'll always have a backup marker.

Lo's next game: Korea 2022 at the US Air Force Academy, April 12 in Colorado Springs, CO. Marker unknown.

Welcome to RECON, The Blog!

Thanks for stopping by! With RECON, Issue 4:1 at the printer and our new Web site almost set to launch, I felt it was time to launch our blog, too.

Check back often to read about the latest in woodsball news, upcoming events, and other goodies from the RECON editorial staff. Over the next few weeks, I'll be updating this site regularly with important information for woodsball players, including a calendar of events, handy links, and more.