Wednesday, November 30, 2011

It's Official!

Below is the joint statement issued by the PSP & NPPL in the wake of a final effort to bring the merger to fruition. If VFTD was a paintball news site (or beholden to industry support and advertising) that's the way I'd leave it too. But VFTD isn't so ... it looks like CYA to me. "Remain committed and optimistic .." Yeah, right.
Here's the (rumored) dealio. Some time in the last day (or two?) a final ditch effort was made to see if a deal could be reached. As is clear in the statement it didn't work out. After the (apparent) debacle in Vegas--hey, that's the way that effort is rumored (there's that word again) to have gone--VFTD wants to know what really happened. The truth may never get out but--here's a prediction--the first stories are likely to be just that, stories. Who initiated this last ditch effort? Why? What did it amount to? So many questions. So few answers. So far.

Subject: PSP & NPPL joint Press Release

Dear Industry Members, Teams, Players and Supporters,

In June of this year, the PSP management and the NPPL management met in Las Vegas for a meeting to construct the framework for a merged or newly combined entity to host one paintball tournament event series for 2012 and beyond. Both the PSP and the NPPL supported by the majority of the industry felt that given the past erosion of our industry and the current economic uncertainty, that one league hosting a series of events would be the best thing for everyone involved. After additional meetings in New Jersey, Orlando and Las Vegas combined with countless phone conferences and email correspondence, we were unable to come to an agreement that satisfied both parties. Given the time that is left in the calendar year and the quickly approaching 2012 tournament season, we have exhausted the time to negotiate further.

The PSP & NPPL staff fully recognizes the benefits of a combined league for 2012 and with the most genuine of intentions, deployed all assets and made every effort to make one league a reality for the paintball community. We believe the PSP & NPPL organizations pursued the negotiations with the same intentions and shared our desire to be successful. The PSP & NPPL both recognize the termination of negotiations as a temporary setback but remain committed and optimistic to merging for one league in the future. We want to thank the staff of both the PSP & NPPL and sincerely appreciate the efforts they made to consummate a combined entity.

The PSP & NPPL Management

Silly Season

Is in full force and doesn't show any signs of letting up. From here on out all bets are off. I'ma repeat about a third of what I'm hearing and I'm not even gonna worry about it's accuracy. If you don't want unvetted rumors--stop reading them. At this point I'm quite certain most of the rumor makers and powers that be in paintball don't know what's happening either so we're all in good company. Yes of course peeps have plans and everyone is trying to make moves but everything is so unsettled right now yesterday's rumor is today's deal is tomorrow's never gonna happen. Sit back, put your feet up and enjoy--but don't put any stock in any of this nonsense. (Unless I tell you otherwise.)
(Btw, I am working on World Cup Practice, part 4 and will post it soon-ish.)
The on again off again major league merger is definitely off. (Until it isn't.) As of right this minute it appears that both leagues will go about their regular bidness. Could that change? Sure, when pigs fly and NASA discovers those moon rocks they collected are petrified cream cheese. Never say never but it looks like a real long shot right now.
And again I gotta ask--since nobody has come up with a good answer yet--why so many players seem to think the merger has any real meaning for them or competitive paintball generally? If you read the rubbish being posted most of the hysterical merger mania seems to be convinced that a merger would usher in a new golden era of tournament paintball and in no time at all the President (or at least Beyonce) would be singing the national anthem before a championship final being broadcast live to billions of instant fans. Seriously, what possesses people to believe that sort of nonsense?
Back to the merger. The real issue (assuming the merger stays off the table) is how the sponsors respond, if they do, or if everything remains bidness as usual. Yes, I've said this before and it remains true today. And as before there's no telling--yet. Rumor has it the industry players generally know where they stand and what their intentions are but everyone is watching everyone else to see who, if anyone, is gonna break ranks first. And if that happens all bets are off. Again.
Okay, now about Procaps. Remember the whole Smarts Parts rigamarole? The on again off again, it's sold, it's not routine that went on for some time? (Months.) Well, it's looking like that may prove to be the case with Procaps. Reports of the sale were premature and it seems three paintball companies put in bids with GI's being the highest in total but not in cash. (According to the latest.) The three companies are the same ones as has been previously rumored; GI, KEE & Tippmann. (Yep, that Tippmann.) It may be knowledge of being the top bidder is what set off the premature rejoicing at GI--but at any rate it's all rumored now to be moot--as the bank (the ever ubiquitous "bank") has rejected all the bids. If so it's back to the drawing board for everybody. Sure, why not?
A potentially important related issue for competitive paintball teams and players is how the sale, non-sale & whoever ends up with Procaps, if it's a paintball company, affects sponsorship deals for next season. In recent years the process has lagged, with the industry dragging its metaphoric feet, and with the whole Procaps thing up in the air there's no telling how it might impact sponsorships.
With respect to the latest RL rumors there's conflicting claims. Middle or so of last season the rumor started floating that Sergey Leontiev (owner of RL) was backing off his prior commitments to the team and that was part of the internal issues going on there that resulted in the poor showing in Jersey, the rumored retirements (I mentioned last time) etc. If that was true to begin with, it is now being rumored that whatever the problems were they've been settled and Sergey (and his money) are back in full force. As to the make-up of next season's roster there's conflicting stories about the U.S. players--did they quit first?--and the apparent factoids that the Russians have been looking at some other non-Russian players recently. It wouldn't surprise me if they ended up with an all Russian roster but it also wouldn't surprise me if they didn't.
Finally there's some deep chatter, way deep chatter, about the NPPL making some substantial changes to their format. It may be something that's under discussion but frankly I don't put much, if any, stock in it at present. If I hear more about it and it sounds at any point like it might really happen I'll get into it in more detail--but for the time being it's just a seriously outlandish rumor. (Even for me--and even unvetted.)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Outer Limits of Rumorology

Or as our Brit friends would write (assuming basic literacy, which is, more and more, a dangerous assumption given the factoid literacy rates in the Western world have declined in recent decades despite [or because of?] the gold star mentality of what passes for educators these days) 'Outer Limits of Rumourology'. As VFTD regulars know I have a penchant for beating a dead horse or am otherwise unable to leave well enough alone so here's one last--for now--post with rumors; about rumors. It is the paintball silly season after all.
The kids over at ProPaintball recently posted their latest player and team rumors and one of them included a reference to TBD. Rumor suggests the Legion will be returning to an all Russian roster next year and that leaves their American players without a team. And further that TBD (among others) is talking to J-Rab about joining Damage. To forestall a spate of J-Rab questions I'll tell y'all what I know. The team has been talking to Justin informally off and on ever since he played 7-man with us a couple years ago. And the subject has been discussed internally so as far as it goes the rumor is correct. On the subject of the Russian Legion generally there's been another rumor floating around since at least New Jersey PSP that has two of the Legion's home grown regulars retiring--at least from PSP competition. If that (and the Federov rumor) proves to be correct it could be a very different Russian Legion next year.
Hold the presses! One of the earliest rumored players in the Procaps sweepstakes is once again rumored to be back in the mix. Hint: it's a paintball company, d'oh! (That at present doesn't have paint-making capability.) I first heard this rumor during the holiday weekend and have as yet not been able to get additional sources to confirm. I'm mentioning it now because if accurate it makes the Procaps Sold post premature at best and wrong at worst. I find it hard to credit but who knows? (Of course it could be the GI Kidz jumped the gun and what was claimed to be a done deal was in fact the beginning of what was expected to be a done deal. And, yes, that means more than one of my sources for that rumor came from within. And I've since heard the GI brass attempted to put the fear of God or unemployment in their employees to keep their mouths shut in the future.) With the original GI buys Procaps rumor the initial source was a regular, and to-date impeccable source that was later confirmed by two other independent sources. (I even got a price--but decided to stay away from that.) The latest hasn't seemed to be as well sourced but ... hey, this is paintball so almost anything is possible I suppose. Regardless Procaps is still on the block.
And last and certainly least is not so much a rumor as a, oh I don't know, hopeful wannabe rumor? Btw, this is about the Millennium Series, sorta. In the past I've heard rumors about the licensing fees and entries suggesting that all teams aren't charged equally (This is news?)--and that plenty of people know it--but nobody will talk about it, particularly those gaining an advantage if it's true. But that isn't the latest. In fact that's old (old) news. The latest (also really a recycled rumor too) wannabe rumor is that the MS also cuts deals on sponsorships with industry partners--at least with certain industry sponsors. (Of course if you'd seen the sponsorship packet they put out each year and the prices you'd be amazed that anybody paid those prices.) This isn't really a rumor, it's an unsubstantiated complaint. And like the licensing business what it's really all about is that whatever group of participants are unsatisfied with the MS want somebody else to change things for them. So pretty much big time Europaintball as usual. So why did I mention this particular wannabe rumor? Because if there's any fire generating these puffs of smoke this is somebody's opportunity to make a real case. Or not. And if not, it remains bidness as usual--and after last year in the MS maybe that's not such a bad thing after all.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Numbers Game

The final numbers are in for the 2011 season major league paintball participation. Back in July I posted on the mid-term--(Buy the Numbers?)--and while the numbers are correct I got it wrong. I predicted by the end of the year participation numbers would stabilize across both leagues and end up similar to 2010 numbers. As it turned out both leagues saw real numbers rise. Good for everybody.
Since my views are already pretty well known I'ma just give y'all the rest of the numbers and you people can fight about what it means, or ought to mean and what comes next. In keeping with prior practice I've left the Pro teams out of both equations. (Read the other post if you want to know why.) I've also broken the numbers down by format; 7-man teams compared to Xball Lite teams (even though 5-man in the NPPL doesn't directly compare to Race 2-2.) In four events PSP averaged 160 teams and the NPPL averaged 79 teams. [There is a discrepancy however. NPPL's team list for Vegas had (has?) 136 teams but after the event the league only ranked 103 teams in the various division rankings. They left out the new D4 7-man so I used the Team List number of 15. And then of course Mutiny was a no show which left Vegas turnout at a potential high of 135 to a low of 117. Similar discrepancies exist between the Chicago & DC lists and final rankings as well with the lists in all 3 cases being the larger number. The total plus/minus over the season is 33 teams. I used the rankings because those numbers reflect post event results and seemed to me more likely to be correct with respect to teams that actually competed. To be consistent I also checked both the APPA's paid list against PSP's ranking results and those numbers matched for each event.] For the NPPL it was a significant bump. Between 2009 and 2010 NPPL 3.0 only improved by four teams per event average whereas this past season the bump was up 13 teams per event on average (although virtually all the gains can be attributed to HB & Vegas.)
The direct format comparison saw an average of 53 7-man teams per event and 90 Race 2-X teams. That is an 7-man increase of 9 teams per event over last year. So of the plus 13 teams per NPPL event 9 were in the primary format. And the 90 Race 2-X is a decline of 3 teams per event over 2010 but the PSP more than made up that difference in Race 2-2. Much of the PSP losses in recent years have been from the 5-man ranks and the gains of 2011 were plus 21 teams (80 versus 59) over 2010.
So there you have it.
I would ask one question though. While I know the industry wishes for a single national league what exactly do the players who want one league think it will do either for them or for paintball? Riddle me that.

And just so the Eurokids don't feel left out--it seems one CPL spot is already up for sale and if this off season mirrors last year the MS will be scrambling to try and find teams. I suspect it won't be as bad--assuming the goal is to hold the line at or near 2011 team numbers--because the league had event limits in 2011 that were below 2010 attendance numbers (for the most part) and if the Euro trend is similar to the U.S. (which saw rising participation numbers) there should be teams to fill in the spots that might otherwise have gone missing from normal attrition. (It's a good thing too since the MS went far and wide last year scouring the east and all the distant corners of near Euroland for replacement teams already so that is an option that won't be available again in the near term.) Of course all bets are off if the failing eurozone economies explode the Euro and the whole things starts tumbling like falling dominoes.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

December Will Be Mailbag Month!

December posts will be devoted to Baca's Mailbag. (Unless timely & interesting news demands a comment or two.) All postings in December will be in response to questions, comments, observations, etc. either posted on VFTD's Facebook page or delivered to my own private Tora Bora via the email link on the sidebar. So it's up to you, slackers. If you want some VFTD to occupy you through the dark days of winter you know what you have to do--hope somebody else sends in some stuff.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving (minus the cranberries!)

To one and all. (I'm feeling magnanimous.) Even though it is an American holiday and VFTD has an international following it is worth a moment of reflection on everyone's part to acknowledge and be grateful for family, friends and all the good things in life.

Paintball Myths

There's a thread in the WCA (Asia) forum at the Nation about girls in paintball. Specifically about girls playing at World Cup Asia but as such posts always do it quickly devolved into the usual irrational nonsense--except for one sensible girl, IceBox. (You go girl!) Let me see if I have this right: Girls are every bit the equal of guys, Grrl Power, girls are tough, capable and can do anything a guy can do. Except, apparently, on a paintball field where if the girls aren't treated with the utmost care like little porcelain dolls they'll run away and never come back again. So when there aren't enough girls playing paintball it's all the guys' fault. Newsflash: I hate to break it to you but that's a cognitive disconnect, kids. Pick one. You can't have both.
How many girls play Airsoft?

On the flipside there's the common claim (almost invariably offered up by young males) that competitive paintball (and depending on the conversation pretty much all other forms of paintball) demands aggressive hardcore play--and as a hyper aggressive game it's not for everybody who isn't drenched head-to-toe in testosterone. Every time I read one of those kind of posts it makes me smile. It's the (unintended) gift that just keeps on giving. Especially the ones in which the writer really seems to believe it. One of the unwritten truths of paintball is that most of the (younger in particular) participants have little to no sports backgrounds. (And for purposes of this post and the point being made baseball doesn't count unless you use your Louisville Slugger for a Saturday night rumble with the Jets or the Sharks.) If they did they'd know how silly their claims are. And then there's what you see on most fields the world over. I'm sorry but hiding behind your primary spraying away at 12 bps pod after pod is not raw untempered aggression. And that heart-pumping adrenaline dump that makes 5 minutes seem like an eternity? That's not berserker aggression, it's called fear. But whatever you do keep writing those posts, kids. I can always use the laugh.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

2011 World Cup Practice, part 3

It's back! (World Cup practice posts, d'oh.) Despite a lack of popular demand. (This one's for you, Devon.) (Okay, not really just for you but it does prove I almost keep up to date with VFTD's Facebook page.)

To quickly recap parts 1 & 2 practice is for developing players and the skills required to be successful in actual tournaments. Versatility is a key training goal. Not only does the proper sort of training make players stronger where they were weak but it instills confidence in the individual and in the group as a unit. It is self-reinforcing and allows the coach or captain to go from strength to strength. I have watched all the PSP uploaded videos of our matches a number of times. My objective is to look for things I didn't see during the actual match--because during the match I'm watching our opponents, not my guys--so that I can perhaps pick up on things we need to work on. And trust me, I always find fault somewhere. (And sometimes it's even me.)
No player will do anything in a match that he hasn't done or won't do in practice. Read that over again and let it sink in. (Now read it again.) Whatever limitations your players show in practice you can safely expect 10-20% less from them in a real match. (One where the score goes up on the big board.) (And, yes, there are of course exceptions but as a general rule players tend to back off a little, or a lot, from practice to the real deal.) As a consequence the only place players really learn to expand their game is in practice. (To know something intellectually doesn't automatically translate into action.) And once a player has a couple of years of competition under their belt it often requires that you intentionally push them places they otherwise wouldn't go. (Players tend to settle, get comfortable in specific roles, want to do the things they already do well, etc.)
One caveat. Last time (practice part 2) I mentioned moving players around and the fact we made that call while also prepping the event layout the weekend before Cup. I want to caution lower division teams with less experienced players about doing the same. Developing versatility is a process and should be worked on primarily in practices that aren't layout prep. The reason for this is confidence and team cohesion. With a young, building team and/or inexperienced players last minute changes of that nature can (and usually do) play havoc with player and team self-confidence. (There's lots of stress, mixed in with the excitement, for developing young teams contemplating a big event. Following routines and focusing on the positive as your lead-in is normally the best approach.)
Back the Cup layout.
Part 2 left off with a description of the back and forth process involved in determining how we would play with respect to a single prop; the D-side MT. Part 3 will dissect playing the D-wire and the various control options. Beginning with the Home shooter the diagram illustrates 4 lanes. Lane 1 is an occasional lane best used after edging the MT consistently and changing the opponent's path. Lanes 2 & 3 are the primary OTB lanes. Lane 4 may or may not be available depending on the actual physical field set-up but it's a tight lane and less effective than 3. The first half of Saturday we shot Lane 2. I wanted to be able to get paint on any D-side runner, including dropping short into the MR, but we could not put a consistent lane up in that close to the breakout. So we moved to Lane 3--and began putting paint on their runners consistently. (Once the opponent is forced to take the MR on the breakout more often than not playing the dead zones--blue dots--becomes an effective option to either lane the MR and/or attack the Home shooter before they can get out.) (Home shooter can also be the dead zone shooter.) The only effective D-wire control bunkers are in Orange and Purple. (The Violet option of playing the MT D-side offered only marginal utility and even less than it appears on the diagram due to the narrow laning window.) (Green can only cover very limited lanes and cannot be relied on to control movement.) The cross field Orange is one of those situations that require a constant paint stream, more or less, and actually only pins the opponent in D1. As a consequence we used this option randomly--unless we were under heavy D-side pressure (which as a practical matter didn't happen)--to slow upfield D-wire progress and force the opposition to always be aware of the possibility. In concert with Orange we used Purple (MR) for layers of contain. Given that the the MR has a positional disadvantage versus the D1, corner TCK and wire-side MT the object is not to gunfight edges, it's to inhibit (deny) movement.
Okay, given that post breakout movement on the D-wire has the potential to overwhelm efforts to deny movement control guns aren't enough. (And are, of course, also fundamentally defense-oriented requiring a transition from defense to offense.) The other factor at play is what I call proximity tension. Proximity tension is what happens when opposing players get close to each other. Too close and you risk getting bunkered. Too far and you may give up additional spots but in any case proximity tension means that the first team to get upfield position tends, simply by already being in a spot, to inhibit their opponents up wire movement.
Early on Saturday Dynasty took aggressive advantage of pushing the D-wire when we couldn't contain the wire lead with our lanes OTB. Once we began shooting an effective lane, Lane 3, it forced Dynasty to mix up their D-side breakouts. (Dynasty hadn't done much better with their contain and the result was a lot of back and forth bunkering action.) Overall the edge went to Dynasty as their support/insert players were more aggressive. (Remember they were also doing a very effective job early of getting into the snake adding heavy snake cross field pressure at the same time.)
Another important element is running lanes and the critical distinction is spacing at the intersection of the shooting and running lanes. The MR placement tends to force a flat run early regardless of primary bunker. Since the primary lanes OTB are on both sides of the MR the goal is to get as much separation between the two running lanes as possible in order to force your opponent to have to pick which lane they will shoot OTB. On this layout then a tight run around the MR into the wire side MT (diving it even!) is a necessary option along with a baseline run to the corner. (A lot of teams simply ran deep all the time and that is not going to work consistently against a good laning team.) 
Given that consistent and effective contain was really mostly a delaying tactic our goal became to get on the wire quickly and up the wire even faster. Once the objective is clear the issue then becomes execution. Can the players consistently do what is required to achieve your goal(s)? If yes, you're good to go. If no, then you need to reconsider your options because it does no good to ask players to do something they simply can't so in that sense we return to training for versatility in order to open up the available options for competing on any type of layout.

Next time--putting it altogether. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Rumor Game

Before I get started it occurs to me that perhaps it's worthwhile to be transparent on any association I presently have with GI Sportz. I know and like a number of the staff. My team is sponsored by GI Sportz and I hope that relationship continues but I'm out of that loop (though I am from time to time consulted for my opinion.) There was also the briefest of conversations about an opportunity that might come my way (all I'm going to say)--and I hope this situation hasn't nixed that possibility. That's it.

In recalling the JT brouhaha--December '09--a whole bunch of great posts & comments--(and a few irate and threatening phone calls)--I remembered putting up a post called Rumorology, The Unseen Game (or something to that effect) and would like to take a moment, once again, to comment on rumors in a general way. The intent at VFTD is to the best of my ability post only rumors I believe are accurate. I am not concerned if they are inconvenient or anything else as long as they're accurate. Have all of VFTD's rumors been 100% correct? No, but when they haven't been absolutely factually correct they have almost always been close.
The reason I focus on accuracy isn't because I like to be right--although I do--it's because there are potentially other less than positive ramifications from rumors sometimes. Fallout if you will. And I have no wish to cause any "fallout" needlessly. At which point you and I may disagree about the definition of 'needless' but that's beside the point. Nor is VFTD some sort of paintball crusader who thinks the little guy has a "right to know" and that posting rumors is some sort of public service. (Although sometimes the little guy does have a right to know and there are damn few reliable outlets in those cases.)

About fallout. Imagine a competitor gets wind of a situation, a buy out, a move, a failed contract negotiation with a supplier or any other number of things that might be spun as a problem for a third party. What will happen to your deals with the XYZ widget company if the ABC widget company buys them? Any uncertainty may become somebody else's opportunity. The same circumstances exist any time a company is in the midst of any kind of significant change. It happens all the time on Wall Street and the stock market can climb or falter, shifting millions or billions of dollars, on the flimsiest of rumors. To one extent or another the same is potentially true in the world of paintball. The need exists to control such situations and manage the change with as few hiccups as possible.

A Reply From GI

The plot thickens. I have received both emails and phone calls direct to my secret bunker--somebody leaked the information--and in response I am happy to post, as a courtesy & with permission, the contents of one of the emails. The sender is Opie Thomas, who is a big muckety-muck at GI and who I have known for a number of years on a friendly basis. As have most if not all of the PB industry and many others involved in the game. I have no intention of challenging his statement. What I have done is follow up with my sources and after having done so decided not to remove the original post or issue a retraction. What I will do is leave it up to y'all to make up your own minds--such as they are.


This is Opie from Gi Sportz. I am writing to let you know that as of right now GI Sportz has not purchased Procaps. Unless you see a Press Release from us stating so, the rumors are not fact.


David 'Opie' Thomas

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What Doesn't Happen In Vegas

I don't have anything new on the merger (Kaboom!) front but when has that stopped me before? If, in fact, this signals the end of serious talks about a merger for the foreseeable future--and there seems little doubt that it does--then a post mortem is in order. And if it's all some sort of misunderstanding--I didn't know she was your wife when she stepped out of my shower--we can consider it just another one of those wacky Vegas misadventures along the rocky road to happiness--but it's not. But seriously, odds are, given the rumors exploding last weekend in Vegas, and the sudden posting of an HB event schedule for 2012 it sure sounds like everything went Kaboom! So what happens now? Is top flight national competition paintball in trouble? And what about some of the reported rumors? And how does the sale of Procaps effect national level competitive paintball, if at all?

While I'm not privvy to any first person insider info--go figure--I think there are a few reasonable conclusions that can be drawn (and I'm willing to climb out on a limb and offer a few up.) Back in September I posted a couple of merger-related posts. The first one, Merger Counterfactual, addressed the possibilities of what happens if there is or isn't a merger. I stand by that post and have a rumor or two to toss into the pot as I go all in. In Monday's post I alluded to the rumor that KEE was threatening a hard line with its sponsored teams if there was no merger. A hard line that favors the PSP. (There's even been some talk of a united industry--minus PE--determined to break the 2 league sponsorship cycle--but color me skeptical of that one.) If true that would mean KEE would likely pressure teams like Dynasty, Infamous and XSV to abandon the NPPL. (Of course the reverse could also be true but that isn't the way the rumors were flying.) And think of all the teams shooting Axes & RPS paint. That doesn't paint a pretty picture for the NPPL's future success.

Merger Machinations was also posted in September. In that post I identified some impediments to the merger I believed to be accurate. (And I've had no reason or received any info to suggest otherwise since.) Admittedly there are more current rumors but only the folks in the room discussing the merger know what actually happened and why and I would be very surprised (shocked actually) if the whole process wasn't covered by non-disclosure agreements. [I use them with some regularity and while not foolproof non-disclosures provide some extra legal protections again sensitive or proprietary information being leaked.] That is however just a supposition on my part. That said all the "insider" rumors about the meeting are coming from one side; the NPPL side.

What's perhaps more interesting than speculating about exactly what happened is speculating about what will happen next. Rumorology has suggested (for some time now) that there will be more events next season--rumor says 5 but who knows, is back to the old schedule of 6 events possible? I would guess not but that would only be a guess. Further I would expect the PSP to maintain the status quo when it comes to rules and format and such. After a reputedly successful 2011 (and the general playership aversion to change) a little continuity would likely prove quite popular. (Although a return to the shorter field might be change everyone could appreciate--and would help reverse the more paint, fewer points trend of 2011.) And then there's the sale of Procaps. Richmond has always flagshipped his paint brand with high visibility sponsorships--the current GI Sportz line-up for example--and there's no reason to imagine that will change. The question really is--will DraXXus be retained as a separate brand line (that incidentally ends up competing with GI) or will  Procaps be subsumed into GI? And what happens to DraXXus sponsored teams as a result? Does GI spread the wealth and go with the numbers or focus their resources on a few well chosen teams? (Last year, KEE picked up a number of teams on the relative cheap with their Axes & RPS deals because there wasn't any real alternatives available.) Will the Procaps sale force further belt tightening and if it does what will that mean? In the Pro division it will likely mean a number of the NPPL only Pro teams won't have any real option about where they play; it will be NPPL or nothing.
And then there are the players. How many players play for multiple teams? How many teams are made up largely of players who also play elsewhere? Back in the day the NXL attempted to restrict player movement and I can imagine a time, in the not so distant future, when that becomes a more viable policy. When the NXL tried to restrict player movement there was too much money and too many options available to make it stick but that isn't the paintball universe of today.
Recently the league wars have been relatively mild low grade conflicts, schoolyard pissing contests if you will, but if the industry really does pick a side will it signal a heating up of the war? In the aftermath of whatever caused the merger to fail are there hard feelings, bruised egos and bitter recriminations? Frankly that's the stuff of paintball wars past--will it be the basis for a hot war going forward?
So many questions. So much unknown and/or uncertain going forward. At least there will be something to talk about over the winter.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Procaps Sold!

After hitting a detour at Moose Jaw and taking a wrong turn at Medicine Hat Mr. Curious hitched a ride to Saskatoon where he was able to hire a dog sled for the remainder of his journey in the Great White North. When news of Procaps financial distress finally became public recently Mr. C was already on the hunt and re-doubled his efforts to nail this story down. Rumors have been swirling like an icy wind that a couple of paintball concerns were potentially interested in buying the company and VFTD received the news by carrier pigeon from Mr. Curious mere moments ago. In a wickedly entertaining twist of the fates it seems that Richmond Italia (GI Sportz) is the new owner in a move that reunites Mr. Italia (and a number of his staff) with the company he originally founded more than a decade ago. Reports are the deal was inked yesterday. No word on when an official announcement will be forthcoming.

UPDATE: It seems the folks at Procaps are playing dumb (or outright denying) the done deal but VFTD has confirmed the sale from a number of sources.

Monday, November 14, 2011

What Happens In Vegas ...

stays in Vegas--buried out in the desert if it's particularly inconvenient. I have always found it deeply ironic that the NPPL, desperate to be the glitz & glamor league, loves Vegas and a dozen apt metaphors spring to mind but I'm in 'Don't Worry, Be Happy' mode and simply don't have the energy at the moment. Maybe it's because I'm in the middle of a paintball holiday. We left Vegas late Saturday night, or Sunday morning if you prefer, and I haven't thought about talked about or read about anything paintball since then. The only things I know happened (according to passed along info) is that TonTons beat Ironmen at the Intercontinental Cup piggy-backing WCA & that some friends came second in Vegas and won the D3 series.
I'm not going to rail about the league's shortcomings. Again. I'm not going to rant about the merger; do it or don't. I'm not going to mock the industry or decry what passes for media. Not today anyway 'cus I just don't care. And I'm rather enjoying not caring. And honestly even on my best rant-filled day I don't take any of this too seriously. It's just paintball. What passed for democracy in Europe is dead. The Rule of Law in America is now a sad joke. There are a lot more important things to care about than paintball.
However, this is a blog about competitive paintball and I was in Vegas (briefly) for the final NPPL event of the year so I feel a certain obligation to comment on it. So on to the disclaimer.
I have resigned myself to this year's situation--just as the season finally ends. Good timing, I know. My guys are capable of competing for titles but we struggle without proper preparation. The circumstances this year didn't allow the same sort of prep we managed last year. Of course that has no impact on the standings or results and those are what they are and they continue to frustrate me. And in Vegas we did what we've been doing; making small mistakes and giving up bodies carelessly and it cost us. For the record then I do not (and never have claimed) we would be winners if it weren't for the refs. That is a loser's mentality. Winners overcome. And sometimes that includes poor officiating.
So--when I again (in good spirits) recount the continuing issues with officiating and tie it (again) into a failure at the institutional level y'all can decide for yourselves if I'm objective or not. But before I do I want to cover a few other items related to the event or the NPPL.
As most of you likely know Mutiny didn't show up (apparently) at the last minute. I say apparently because if they gave any advance to anyone it came as a surprise to us and everyone I talked to about it. (Apparently.) I don't know what the problem was but it altered our bracket by reducing the number of teams and games played in the prelim. [In the Pros that isn't really that big a deal but in divisional play teams rightfully have an expectation of the terms of the competition and teams dropping out last minute can affect that competition.]
On the merger front everything seemed rosy leading into the event but seemed to go south as the event went on. The expectation was that the PSP principles would be present and that a final deal might get done during the weekend. (And if I post this only to discover something has been settled and announced boy will I look silly but at least you'll know I wasn't kidding when I said I was in the middle a paintball holiday.) I didn't see any PSP peeps--but I didn't look for any either. The talk on Saturday in the paddock was considerably less positive than the latest public pronouncements. The mood was more pessimistic (unless you were and are anti-merger) and the talk was about what the fallout might be if no merger occured. There was the rumor of tough talk from "key" industry powers pushing a hard line and using their sponsorship dollar influence to push teams into one camp or the other--as a practical matter that meant from the NPPL into the PSP. But who knows? I don't although the chatter at the event seemed more substantial than the blatant disinformation that's been popping up on the web in recent weeks.
There were 3 fields at Vegas in what was the largest turnout NPPL 3.0 has ever had; 136 or 138 teams. (I can't remember which and I'm too lazy to check.) At some point I'll figure out if this year's team numbers suggest any substantive statistical uptick. [Prior to the event the NPPL posted an announcement for HB 2012. I'm now wondering if that was, and is, a sign of a crumbling merger effort.] The set-up was better than last year's as it was closer to the Riviera and the majority of the players. No more pretense that anybody in Vegas not playing gives a rat's rear end. The Riviera remains a dump with the typical Motel Six room putting the Riviera's rooms, including the suites, to shame. As in NPPL days past one of the fields was short some turf. Back in the day they used to spray paint the tarmac green. The daily game schedules on Friday and Saturday ran from 8 am to around 7:30 pm each day and even with daylight savings time the sun was setting between 5 and 5:30 leaving at least a couple of hours each day to be played in the dark with artificial lighting. Virtue was on hand again with their chips in Pro guns keeping track of max ROF and such and (apparently) either at the Captain's Meeting or elsewhere the idea of installing the chips in all competitor's guns was broached leaving the divisional kids wondering how and who was going to pay for that. (Although I think we already know, don't we?) Regardless it remains intriguing technology with some obvious and perhaps some, so far, less obvious practical applications. We'll see.
Going in Joey & I thought the most likely upshot of the criticism leveled at DC officiating would be some flag happy reffing--and so it turned out for the most part. (Which frequently resulted in refs running around pulling bodies and pow-wowing after the fact to decide why they'd done what they'd done.) I didn't count them but it also looked like there were more refs on the Pro field as well. Just goes to show you numbers don't equal quality. And while there wasn't any big mishaps--at least on Saturday on the grandstand field--the status quo remained in force. Tom still has a job with the league (which still seems to be trying to keep everyone happy) and the owner's group liaison to officials interjected his opinions (directions?) regarding on field calls even as he was competing with his team. Even with the best of intentions and everyone's agreement that kind of behavior is a gross conflict of interest and shouldn't happen under any circumstances. And everybody knows it. And then there were numerous examples of inconsistency (bias?) when it came to enforcing the rules. One that was repeated a number of times involved another team owner who also plays. In our game with his team he was one of the two last players left on his team. He was bunkered clean out of the snake corner and the ref called him out. The player who bunkered him shot at the other opposing player across the back of the field as two other of our players came thru the center. He called himself out and then proceded to keep talking ... and playing as he lowered his gun and shot one of our live players collecting the flag. Our on field team captain immediately began objecting and the refs started throwing flags. All the penalties were on us. The team owner started yelling that our player who had bunkered him was out of bounds--even though he ran him down highway--and then he started shooting again. Even though a ref had called him out; he had acknowledged he was eliminated, he was talking and shooting his gun after he was eliminated nobody threw a flag on him. Then or any other time during the Saturday prelims. Instead it was decided that even though our player had bunkered him clean he had afterwards stepped out of bounds and then fired his gun earning a two for one and our on field captain was eliminated when he spoke and that was a one for one. It's so absurd it's laughable except when it's happening to you--and when similar scenes are repeated over and over. (Despite our poor play at the end of the day we were in a position to go through and missed on body count.) I know it sounds like a spoof--but it isn't. And there are plenty more stories like that from one afternoon of play but it isn't important.
What is important is that the league has seemingly done nothing to address the very real institutional problems they have with officiating oversight--and reffing in general. It is an issue that has plagued (and helped sink) every iteration of the NPPL and will continue to be a problem until they treat it seriously instead of as a public relations issue to be swept under the rug. But, hey, that's on them. Personally I can hardly wait to see the post-event statement proclaiming the greatest event ever played and congratulating everyone involved on making paintball history. Yeah, that sounds about right. Don't worry, be happy.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Inside the Merger Talk & Rumorology

Actually not so much really. At least not enough to merit that post title but it got your heart racing, didn't it? (Most of you excited, fewer of you horrified.) [I'd gladly apologize for leading you on except of course I'm not sorry 'cus I think it's kinda funny. In an admittedly cruel sorta way.] Rumor has it stuff like revisiting ROF and notions like limited paint have been part of the discussions. And I don't mind saying I find it a little disconcerting. Mostly because too many of the people at the table have no business being there unless you count enormous egos, entrenched opinions and self-interested motives as appropriate first principles. Did I sugarcoat that too much? Do I need to be more forthright? Was that really necessary? Naw, but I enjoyed it--and frankly, it's the truth. Hey, I always say once you start digging a hole, dig it deep!

As you might have guessed the real subject is paint usage. And as it happens I have some numbers available. But first I want to offer for the record, again, that there is no data that supports changing the ROF as a paint saving measure. (We've had ROF changes based on the notion that it will trickle down to local recreational fields and/or that it will lower the threshold to tourney entry. How's that worked out? We've had the PSP change their ROF three times and if there's any data to demonstrate those changes made any quantifiable difference in paint usage I haven't heard about it.) Now of course if the change is substantial enough, 12 bps to Billy Ball, yes, there will be lower paint consumption as a result. But with that significant a change you're also playing a different game too.
Uncertain? Other paint usage factors include pack size, pod size, (total paint carried) bunker placement & game time. Without taking the other factors into account how can anyone categorically say--and possibly change the game again--on the basis the change will somehow save paint. Will it really? If so, how much? And what consideration is being given to potential peripheral consequences? If you really want to save paint leave the ROF alone and open up the OTB shooting lanes. If laners OTB increase their kill percentages you are guaranteed to save paint. First that eliminated player won't be shooting the paint on his back and when you remove 20% or more of your opponent's players off the bat the game transitions into a close almost immediately. Of course doing that may not make the current player base particularly happy, but hey, it saved paint.
The same applies to limited paint--which is a practice already in place. Everybody plays with limited paint. What is meant is a restricted by rule limit to the maximum paint allowed on the field at any one time. However, depending on just how limited an amount of paint is being discussed it will, without any doubt, alter the nature and play of the game. In the lower divisions this isn't necessarily a bad thing but it would a terrible decision at the pro level as it would dumb down the game considerably. (See the link to an old post below which discusses this in more detail.)
And now for the numbers I promised. For the sake of round numbers let's say the current ROF is 12. Let's also agree that a hopper (loader) holds 180 paintballs. And let's use D1/D2 Race 2 format of a 15 minute game Race 2-5. The game parameters then is fifteen minutes of game time or first team to 5 points with a max number of 9 points played per match. At 12 bps a player could conceivably shoot 10800 paintballs in 15 minutes. A team of 5 could shoot 54000 paintballs. In practice that potential is limited by the number of pods a player carries. If we assume an average of 7 pods--which is probably a little high--plus hopper a 5-man squad is carrying 5100 paintballs; around 2 and one half cases. How often does a team shoot that much paint in a point? (Almost never.) And what are the game conditions that promote heavy paint use?
At 12 bps a player empties his hopper in 15 seconds. At 10 bps the same player empties the same hopper in 18 seconds. Is that 3 seconds a hopper fill going to save paint? (No.) Does it reduce the amount of paint in hand? (No.)
Take a moment and revisit the PSP Galveston event where an attempt was made to both encourage older, fatter, slower players into coming back to tourney play along with a field layout that would promote faster points. (Faster points equal less paint shot per point potentially.) How did that work out? My point isn't that the league screwed up. My point is that making singular changes alone, especially the ones being discussed, are unlikely to achieve the results desired unless the change is so dramatic it changes the game too--and even when an effort was made to "improve" the pace of play the desired results didn't occur because even with the best intentions and best efforts the complexity of the game wasn't properly evaluated or understood.
The last thing a newly unified league needs is a host of changes the results of which can't be predicted with anything like certainty.
For more on ROF and its relationship to how the game is played today read this post from the archives. (I'm feeling more lazy than usual today and didn't feel like repeating myself. Again.)

In other rumorology there's lots of behind-the-scenes talk about the off season musical chairs of pro players already--along with some speculation about the future of a few pro teams as well. It's too soon to start talking names and details because as far as I know nothing (much) has been finalized just yet. But as soon as these rumors start turning into near factoids I'm sure Mr. Curious will have the skinny. (And I don't mean Kevin.) Okay, here's a taste; could be some Ironmen on the move and apparently Yaya is dialling up a serious phone bill calling ballers.

Monday, November 7, 2011

2011 World Cup Asia layout analysis

I know I said I wasn't going to do any more of these for a while but Mr. Allan Phang of PALS (and much more) made a special request--and it is World Cup Asia--so here you go.
This layout fits a recent trend of more technical and demanding fields coming from our friends at Adrenaline Games. (Which isn't a bad thing.) (I don't know if they were responsible but it looks like it.) The one unfortunate element to this layout is the MTs filling the four corners. (See Orange.) Largely because this layout will encourage a team's defensive tendencies and those MTs will look like impregnable fortresses off in their corners. The other characteristics trending toward defensive choices are the two MDs positioned on either side of the breakout. Add the fact that neither the first snake or the D-wire offer many clean kill lanes but will either be difficult to get into or hard to stay alive in and a defensive game plan begins to look like a good option. Then there is the fact that many of the props in the Home 30 look like they give you opportunities to cross up lanes all over the field. (If you divided the field into thirds, from wire to wire, the Home 30(s) would be the sections at each end, approximately.) However, on closer examination I think you'll discover that the Pins, along with some other intervening props, do a good job of allowing lines of sight but break up the shooting lanes well enough to make a lot of those cross field lanes only marginally effective as a feature of your game plan or general strategy. (In addition, a commitment to cross field lanes will tend to give up rotations on the wire. What I mean is many of the bunkers that appear to give cross field opportunities are also the same bunkers that allow you to contest movement on the same wire.)
I am not suggesting that a team shouldn't choose to play this field from a primarily defensive posture. I wouldn't but it might be the proper choice for some teams. The deciding factor is the relative skill, across each team, when matched up with their opponents. In order to play this layout aggressively it will be necessary to contest key edges and dominate certain lanes--along with getting the advantage OTB more often that not.
How you and your opponent play the Pink Zone OTB will be critical to your success or failure. The placement of the Home Can well up into the mid-field increases the risk of keeping laners inside but it would be a mistake to assume teams won't attempt, at least on occasion to keep laners at, or near, Home to shoot lanes OTB and take their primaries on the delay. As a unit your team needs to be prepared in advance to make necessary adjustments from match to match. For example, there are a number of ways to counter inside laners--with edgers, by matching them and being more patient, attacking the center to cut off the ability to get wide late or by getting wide and turning wide guns back inside. Of course the options are more sophisticated than that too. For example, your opponent is running snake OTB and to assist the runner they are stepping out an edger to take anyone in the Home Zone off his lane. You have two good counter options for this: your Home laner shoots a close lane aimed at the edger and a second laner steps off the board shooting the snake lane, or, Home continues to shoot the wide lane and your counter is the step off player who looks to shoot the edger. (For more detail look here & here.) [I was looking for past posts on countering laners OTB and didn't find any--which doesn't mean they don't exist in the archive somewhere--but maybe a follow-up is in order.]
Let's talk about the Red TCK. The run is to take it slightly wide, gun up, and come back into the TCK while defending yourself by shooting the zone around your opponent's TCK. The Pins will handle the rest and if you, as a team, run either the snake corner or the snake often enough to keep your opponent honest the snake TCK will become an easy primary and the natural secondary in the progression into the snake. (However, the corner also offers a good option for making the bump into the snake.) Sure but why is the TCK red? Because it is likely to be the critical control bunker on the snake side of the field. If you can control the TCK, or get routine eliminations from it, you will stymie your opponents attack and if you can contain a primary opponent in the TCK you pin his teammates in their primaries as well. Don't get me wrong, you have to deny the snake first and foremost but assuming you are doing that consistently all snake attacks will revolve around movement into and out of the TCK.
So what's up with the Green Brick? It could be the key to successfully playing this layout. It is relatively easy to make this prop as an occasional primary--go for it too often OTB and your opponent will be expecting it and have a gun dedicated to stopping you--or a quick fill as a secondary from a number of other primary options (Home Can, D-side MD and insert Temple) and once a player is in the Green Brick that player has a number of active options. It offers a good crossfield lane on the snake section one to two gap, snake two and the gap between the corner MT and the first snake section. And it also can function as an offensive transition prop by being a launch position to move into the center of the field or rotate from the inside out over to the D-wire. Given the gap between the D-wire SD and the 45 Temple the Green Brick offers an excellent alternative means of reaching the 45 Temple particularly in concert with another teammate's active support.
One last note regarding the Orange MTs. When pushing to close a point out the corner player(s) must close the gap between themselves and their lead players. A failure to do so reduces your active offense, reduces the number of players and guns your remaining opponents must contest and could result, if you lose a lead, in giving up a body unnecessarily along with a big chunk of field position. The inclination will be to stay in the MT--it must be resisted--and the MT player must move upfield to support the close of the point.

I hope this helps some of the participants in their preparation for this coming weekend's competition and good luck to everyone competing in the event.  

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Random (paintball-related) Rants

I'm in the middle of  part 3 of the World Cup Practice posts but didn't feel like finishing it. Or perhaps more accurately got side-tracked, again. One thing I've been meaning to talk about are the logistics of a merger in the sense of how it might affect the actual competition irrespective of any format change. And then there's a couple of items that came up today.
The first isn't really new but my resolve to do something about it coalesced today. I am referring to the seemingly endless fount of email pressers the big event series spam you with as part of their "service" to their sponsors. I have objected to the volume in the past and nobody cared. (Which is fine.) But even as I ranted about it I let it continue resignedly accepting it as a personal sacrifice for the good the game sorta thing. Yeah, well, I'm done with that. Before I continue maybe I ought to make it plain that I am not a gearhead. Never have been. (If you are your tolerance of such mailers may accordingly differ from mine.) Never had more than a passing interest in the stuff of paintball so getting slammed with notices of those new barrels or that new shoe or whatever I couldn't care less and with the rising volume it has just become a nuisance. But the good folks at PALS have taken it beyond annoying and into stalker-ish territory. 18 email promotions in the last four days was the final straw. I couldn't easily unsubscribe so I relegated all PALS email to my Junk folder. And odds are they won't be the only ones. (I don't like direct mail either.)
In the last day or so somebody started a thread in the PSP forum over at the Nation ostensibly querying views on the Coaching Question. Referring, as usual, to sideline coaching, hollering, incoherent screaming, sign waving and the like. He did so by setting up the false dichotomy of more run throughs versus sideline coaching and equating run throughs as competitive paintball's version of the slam dunk. Once upon a time in basketball the dunk was exciting. When it didn't happen that often. Today, the way the pro game in particular is played, there may be a dozen dunks in a game. Whoop-de-doo. The more routine an action becomes the less interesting or special it becomes--not the other way 'round. Personally I'd rather see 48 minutes of good hoops than a highlight reel of outsized men jamming the rock through the hole at close range. But I get the analogy--even if it is flawed. The problem here is, that much like the OWS (and all the lookalike protests it has spawned) they may have identified a legit issue but their "fix" doesn't actually address that issue. A sideline coach never stopped a well-executed take down. Period. End of story. Now if the real issue is getting the take down and living to tell the tale that's a different issue--but even that isn't because sideline coaching makes it impossible or even nearly so. Time to move on.
Separate from the will-a-merger-change-the-format chatter is the question of what the Pro division looks like in the aftermath and how the merger might impact the other divisions. In recent years the Pro field in the PSP has been the exclusive province of the Pro teams until Sunday and even then the pro refs are exclusive to pro matches. In the PSP not only does the format contribute to a best outcome but so does the quality of the officiating. (It's not perfect but it's a damn sight closer than anything the NPPL has ever put on their center court--with one exception.) A continuation of the basic practices will either limit the number of pro teams or force an expansion of the pro reffing cadre and its supervision. And that is not a minor consideration. There has also been some talk of bringing back the Semi-Pro Division. Part of the problem is that NPPL has 10 pro teams that do not already participate in the PSP and the showing of (Pro 7-man competitive) Portland Uprising recently has to be viewed as a cautionary tale by the rest. So, A) there isn't room under the current system for everyone, and B) it isn't unreasonable to assume that some number of the potential new guys aren't going to be competitive--at least initially. Toss into the mix that only 11 of the current participants in the NPPL have "owner" status (and that may not mean 11 teams) and the plot thickens some more. One would have to assume that "owners" have a leg up but even then there are a few teams that currently have rostered players who also play on other teams and there's no telling exactly how that could shake out--although that is almost certainly part of the reason there are board members dead set against a merger. Whatever happens it isn't going to be as easy as simply deciding to do it. Part of whatever happens will be predicated on what already is.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Update from the Canuckistan Wilderness

Mr. Curious says it appears the Great White North Paint Co. will not be filing Chapter 11 but instead has a buyer prepared to step in and take over. No word yet on who the buyer is or exactly what the time table for the buy out will be.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Vegas Addendum

It seems our friends over at the NPPL have posted some additional event info & a code of conduct for Vegas. And since it's posted at their website and not on Pev's Facebook page I was concerned that many of the first timers might miss it. (A link is posted on the NPPL Facebook page.) So I've decided to cover the highlights in brief. Consider it a VFTD public service. (Post title is link to the NPPL page.)
(O/T--if you're wondering about part 3 of the World Cup layout practice I'll probably get around to it but this stuff just came up, along with a couple other things and it wasn't like the practice posts were lighting the world on fire so ... There you go.)
The big one is keep your markers under wraps except on the field, the chrono area or the players paddock. Otherwise you might be ejected or suspended for 3 games. That includes hotels, cars, walking the street, dashing thru the airport, etc. Hide your gats. No, it isn't any clearer than that but just don't do it and you'll probably be fine.
If you choose to park in the Convention Center lot it may not be free. The last two years it's been $10 a day.
The use of unauthorized paint will result in severe penalties. We're not saying what those penalties are but they will be severe--you can count on that. And you better not spill any paint outside the authorized event area--or else.
All teams must attend the Captain's Meeting. (Unfortunately they don't specify the penalty for not attending but it's, you know, probably severe. Yes, I'm kidding. I hope.) Subjects to be discussed; no swearing, zero tolerance, ref's discretion if swearing non-aggressive or non-malicious. Also zero tolerance for talking after being eliminated. Again at ref's discretion. (No, I'm not making this up. Note to NPPL kids--zero tolerance and ref's discretion are not compatible concepts. It's one or the other. Can't be both.) And finally, to all you blatant cheaters, better watch out 'cus the refs will be on you like white on rice.
[I'm assuming some of this is in response to DC. The only other response the league had to the failures and criticism regarding the DC event was to post a heart-warming paean to the virtues of officiating. For real. See here.]
Next up is registration. Bring cash and a government ID and remember your team captain is solely responsible for any illegal roster inclusions and may, as a consequence, be subject to severe penalties and forfeitures before, during or after the tournament. I wish I knew what those severe penalties were as they is popping up everywhere. And what exactly does a team captain forfeit? Or does that apply to the team? But if the captain is solely responsible I ... I'm left scratching my head.
Any player caught on the field without a wristband will be, say it with me now, subject to severe penalties and probably suspended for the event. How is one probably suspended? Is this another one of those zero tolerance at the ref's discretion situations? Players caught without a signed waiver--I can't wait for this to happen--will suffer the consequences. (Direct quote.) OMG, not the consequences!
Under the heading of ID cards here's a couple of quoted sections. "The penalty for not playing with a card, suspension from event, loss of points and a minimum $500.00 fine, due immediately from the offender or team captain." So let me see if I understand this correctly. If I have a player ID but don't play I am subject to suspension, loss of team points and a fine? Seems kinda harsh to me. Then there's this: "Please make sure your information is accurate, or you and your team could be subject to prize forfeiture, penalties, civil legal action and/or suspensions."  Which translated means we have no good way to verify anything so we're hoping to scare you into compliance. Civil legal action? Really?
There's a drugs and alcohol section too done with the same precision as the rest of this announcement. As it reads you could be booted for taking aspirin--but of course that isn't what they mean even if it is what they said.
And when you arrive, look around and wonder where the huge trade show & exhibition are the NPPL wants you to know that it's ... "at the Beach."

I have a confession to make. A small part of me kinda hopes these guys are responsible for all the press releases in the new PNSPPPL.