Friday, February 19, 2010

UWL: Scenario/Tourney Hybrid?

The UWL (Ultimate Woodsball League) is into its second year and this coming weekend there will be an event in Ft. Myers, Florida. [Not so fast. The event date has moved to the weekend of March 27th.] Tom Cole was generous enough to offer me (and teammates) an opportunity to play in the Florida game but unfortunately it is on a previously scheduled practice weekend. If you are unfamiliar with the format check out their website. The UWL is working some of the same territory as the SPPL. While over at the new and improved Big Bullet you can find info for a more traditional form of 10-man tournament woodsball with the NPL.

I confess I don't have a huge interest in traditional tournament woodsball--been there, done that, enjoyed it (mostly) at the time--though it would probably better suit what few worn out and tired skills I have left; slow, sneaky & experienced. But I do kinda like the sound of the UWL game. There's strategy, tactics, complexity and the opportunity to utilise the whole laundry list of paintball skills even if there is an emphasis (perhaps) on a more traditional skill set. Anyway, I wanted to mention the available opportunities in order to encourage anyone who thinks it could be fun to give it a try. With the trend in major league tourney ball to younger and faster it would be great to see a more diverse player base have competitive paintball options. Maybe one answer to where paintball is today--and where it will be tomorrow--is more choices, not just a change in primary industry attention.

I also wanted to pose a question or three, too. Is the UWL's target player normally a scenario player or an Old Skool tourney guy? Or, the likely answer, both? But even so is this a formula for growing competitive paintball? I'm not sure. On one hand the concept is planting seeds that might grow and spread. On the other it's drawing its target participant from a different niche with a nostalgia tour of sorts. It's called Old Skool for a reason. Don't get me wrong. I still like the game concept. I'm not a snob about different forms of competitive paintball. I'm glad it's out there and available--I'm just wondering if the current top down approach will ever produce anything more than a modestly attended handful of events. Of course it could be I'm dumping too many expectations on something that wasn't ever intended to be more than what it is. But maybe I'm not. Read this at the UWL website.

If the majority of the players are crossovers from scenario is that growth? Does it really serve to reestablish competitive paintball in a woodsball environment? Again, I'm not sure. It may very well prove to be aspirational but that's a pretty big leap. It seems to me if you want to build to a national level competitive woodsball series you also need to begin looking at where the growth will come from and how it will happen. Back in the day future major league 10-man team players started locally playing 3-man and 5-man. Just like most modern tourney players do. If competitive woodsball is ever going to grow and be a viable option don't potential (future) players need a place to start? Maybe something as simple as encouraging UWL host fields to offer introductory tourney woodsball events along with the big show when it comes to town?


Don Saavedra said...

The UWL is a blast to play, and one of it's key features is how fun it is. If I were Tom, I would re-structure how the current/former pros are utilized... I would split them up amongst the scenario teams that attend to heighten their fun. And then, maybe at the end of the even throw all of the pro's out on the field for one big blow out game that everyone can watch and cheer for.

I believe introducing a competitive environment for those who generally think of what they do in paintball as being very seperate from what is done on tournament fields is a boost. It helps generate interest in the top levels, might inspire more crossing over... and if the UWL experience is both fun and challenging, it might turn someone who is part-time in to a more die-hard hobbyist, even if they never step foot on another tournament field.

Bottom line, and really the only thing Mr. Cole should be worrying about, is the UWL is a fantastic experience and one that should be had. C'mon, Baca. Why can't the UWL be a team practice?

Baca Loco said...

The UWL can't be a team practice because it would be a waste of time and money unless your focus is on playing competitive woodsball and then it would be your preferred form of competition.
Did you read the link I included to the UWL website to see what the league says about itself?
If the league wants to reestablish competitive woodsball it needs to do more than be there for the crossover crowd and the dwindling numbers of Old Skoolers. I'm not saying don't have fun and I'm not saying they are doing anything wrong. I kinda thought I went out of my way to make that clear but apparently not. :) said...

Damn...I was going to be playing that this weekend with the TechPB Infantry...the new date is the same weekend as NOCER's Holy Grail game...

Brandon Lambertson 909 said...

I understand what Tom is trying to do with his league and I am happy he's doing it. Personally, I don't take his sites explanation of what his leagues format is trying to be as a literal reference to it being better than current formats. (and I'm not saying you thought that either Baca) I see it as more of a "fist pump" for us old farts who went from the woods to the stadiums and walked away from competitive paintball missing the feeling of how much more we loved paintball when we started in the woods and not because of the format as much as for that brotherhood that was felt amongst everyone. I'm not saying everything is evil now, but there was something about that period of time that was just more wholesome (for the lack of a better term) which made the transition from the woods to the grass arena an exciting journey. I think today, that same journey for the new players seems less inviting.

Baca Loco said...

I've heard those sentiments a number of times, Brandon, and I think it's a fascinating line of enquiry and merits some thought and some posts. Thoughtful as always.

David Justin said...

Hey Baca,

What are your thoughts on the WTL Woodsball Tournament League?


Baca Loco said...

Thanks for the head's up. To be honest I hadn't heard of it before but I've looked over the website, video, rules, etc. After only a cursory review I don't think I know enough to critique the league. I favor competitive formats and your inclusion of young guns, pistol and pump have the potential to bring in a diversity of player types. I didn't see any game objective--other than elimination--or point scoring methods listed which seem to me to be a deficiency (assuming I didn't just miss them.) Oh, and I didn't see any woods. :) Best of luck with the league and feel free to drop me an update any time.