Friday, September 26, 2008

Limited Paint

One of the lost comments to the ROF post suggested not worrying overmuch about actual ROF and instead limit the amount of paint. (That's my paraphrase and may not represent precisely the commenter's intent. Whatever.) Both in tourney play and recreationally. In tourney play this could be done by fiat and in rec play the suggestion was to do it by price. There are a few reasons why this isn't the best option in either case but my interest here relates to tournament play.
A brief observation: All tourney paintball is limited paint. Limited to what a player chooses to carry on the field. In 10-man days I never carried fewer than 12 pods. Nowadays you seldom see more than 7 though one of my guys likes 9. Either way there is a limit.
And, in point of fact, there is absolutely nothing keeping players and/or teams from shooting as little paint as they want. There is a PSP D1 xball team where nobody carries more than 4 pods and most of them only 2 or 3. Their choice. Nobody is making anybody shoot "lots" of paint unless you want to say the nature of the game demands it. (And if you go that route you have to be willing to say that any significant change in paint allowed would also alter the nature of the game.)
Of course what is meant is an intentionally restrictive limit that is enforced on everyone. Which is okay and probably even commendable as an introductory tournament format in say a 3-man or even 5-man rookie and/or young guns level event. Even beyond that I'm not going to object, given that all tourney paintball is limited in fact (if not by rule) except to point out what should be obvious. Namely, that any change made to "fix" a specific problem tends to be of greater significance than anyone intends, expects or prepares for. I'm not even saying that change is necessarily a bad thing given competitive paintball's relative youth–and considering some of the things I've advocated--but if the peeps who make these decisions are serious about their responsibility to the game it's the sort of thing that shouldn't be done without taking the time to consider the possible ramifications.
Think of it as Baca's Rule #11: Don't Screw With The Game Unless You've Got A Damned Good Idea What The Result Will Be.
Limited paint in broad application across the tournament spectrum would be a game altering factor and this is where I have some serious reservations. The same is true of factors like field dimensions, number and shape of props and certain features of layout design that have all influenced the way the game is played. As has the technology. I won't detail here the ways I think limited paint as a standard would alter (and in this case probably diminish) the competitive game as all I'm shooting for with this post is to encourage keeping the Big Picture in mind when looking at ways to "solve" problems. [I'll do something on how the game changes us soon which will include volume of paint in play.]

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