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.


Rob and Erin said...

Sounds like the game was a blast. Good to see Recon has a blog! I look forward to it.

Anonymous said...

Great post. Lots of things to consider there. I'd love to hear ideas and best practices of how others have motivated those who stay in the background and camp out during a game.

Dawn said...

Thanks so much for your comments!
Sam I see you've been visiting a lot. We really appreciate it. :)

BTW, I liked this post so much, we'll have an expanded story in a future issue of RECON.

Whisperwolf said...

NICE POST! I haven't been a General myself but have been close to command either from inner base security or running many missions. I've gotten to see the styles of a handful of generals at fields in CT, NY, NJ and PA. I think your spot on.

I was at this weekend's West Point game and almost had and ex-Airforce Academy cadet come out. He mentioned the paintball games at the Airforce Academy not being open to the general public. I'm glad to see that they are now.

hmmm... that'd be a fun trip :)

Anonymous said...

I am currently reading Thomas Friedman's , "The World is Flat" and it has inspired me to join the Read/Write/Web or Web 2.0, whatever you want to call it. I really like the aspect of the dialogue that blogging allows. Plus, this gives me my fix on Recon articles!