Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Game Philosophy in Action

While I'm in Phoenix noodle on this post for a bit. I'ma try to post up some daily drivel on the PSP proceedings in Phoenix but no promises. Next week there will be a Phoenix wrap-up and part 2 of Game Philosophy & Officiating. (I know, you can hardly wait.) (Plus the long-awaited TBD experience in France.)

If you had a blank piece of paper and an opportunity to re-write the tourney paintball rule book what sort of game would you craft the rules to deliver? It's not, btw, a trick question. It is however a much more difficult question to answer than you might at first imagine. So this is your chance to give it a try. Don't worry about specific rules. Instead focus on the play of the game; what you'd like the game to be like and then consider what the rules would have to incorporate to make your perfect paintball game a reality.

Go on. Give it try. Where's the harm? You might even enjoy it. You might even have the next big idea. Could happen.


MikeMfromPrime said...

I'll have a crack at it. Actually feel like most rules are on point. Esp. ramping & BPS. Bottomline: More aggression. More big moves. No more ridiculous amounts of padding. More specificity on obv/inobvious hits. One-on-One Double OT.

1) When there is doubt whether there is a "mutual" or "simultaneous exchange", advantage will be given to the aggressing player. For ex. if a player comes to bunker the other instead of safely calling a mutual, the aggressing player is called clean.

2a) 5min overtime (not unlimited time) Overtime win adds an extra point (or half point) to point margin.
2b) If no winner in sudden death overtime, game is settled by best of 3 one-on-ones (no coaching, 1.5 minute limit). With a rotation of players (like Penalty shots in Hockey or Soccer)

3) All pack hits are inobvious (unless hit more than once). All foot hits are inobvious. All front of loader hits (not noticed by the player) are inobvious.

4) All spectators are required to be seated. They can't stand at the railing. (i.e. "snake" coaching limited as much as possible) Their voices should be assumed into the masses. Those 1000s of PB fans...haha
4b) Staffed members of a team can be on the snake-side just like any other spectator.

5) Or you just bring back the designated snake-coach (I know why they don't have it. But hey, this is my tournament rule-book)

6) D1 Race-to-7 w/ penalty boxes

7) Allow a 20 or 30 second timeout in addition to the single 2 minute timeout. This will get rid of that costly point or two because a player was chrono'd late or any other quickly fixed problem.

8) No Out of Bounds unless the player is actively trying to extract an advantage by stepping out of bounds. For ex. if he steps out after all opposing players are dead, who cares. If he steps a toe out, who cares. Feel like this is pretty much under effect anyway.

9) No padding in jerseys. Period.
9a) No beanies unless raining or under 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

10) All HK gear is banned from East Coast events. Juuust kidding. hahaha

Nick Brockdorff said...

I wouldn't actually change that much, and I would definitely not enter into the realm of excessively complicated game rules, which makes the game even less accessible to the general public, both as participants and viewers.

- Keep it SupAir
- Keep it 5man
- Remove the flag and go with the MS buzzers
- Keep it multible point matches
- Keep the current starting procedure (central base breakout)
- Keep the penalty boxes (and introduce them in Europe please)
- Keep the current field size
- Lower ROF slightly (8 BPS for instance)
- Fields in black or other dark colour(both turf & bunkers)
- Paint all white shell
- Non-oil & non-staining paint fills only
- Replace small bunkers (mini dorito, cake, new snake) with slightly larger ones
- Replace specific bunkers only every 5 years or so
- Increase the number of bunkers slightly (I'd like to see 50 bunkers in a field kit)
- Keep field designs secret until the day before the event
- Play matches by themselves (not that 2 matches at once crap they do in the MS)
- Get rid of the excessive padding going on in paintball these days. Go back to knee- elbow & head padding only, and only 1 layer of padding
- Alternatively, require all padding to have a hard outer shell

I think the game pretty is good the way it is, it just needs to be made more accessible to people of all ages/physiques and both genders, even at rental level.... and it needs to have greater uniformity, so that people can draw on past experiences to a greater degree, when they re-visit the sport.

Steve said...

The game should be fast. It should allow for big moves to be rewarded. It should reward communication and teamwork as much as athleticism. Movement should be encouraged. Ending the point should be simple. Penalties should be easy to understand and enforce (black and white). All divisions D-5 to Pro should play by the exact same rules.

Based on the above:

1. No coaching at all.
2. More bunkers.
3. MS buzzer, no flag.
4. A obvious hit, one you could check is a major. An unobvious hit is a minor. No room for ref descretion.
5. No penalty box. They effect the game too much as it is. A penalty could effect 3 points. Plus pro is the only division to use them.

Baca Loco said...

Okay, pretty good so far. Thanks guys. (Like we could'a stopped Nick anyway. :) )

I'ma bite my tongue for the time-being and hope for a lot more ideas & suggestions.

Let me ask one question though. For those who want more aggressive play or bigger action moments does the degree of difficulty matter? And for those who want Pro to D5 all playing by the same rules--and I assume--on the same field what are the characteristics you think currently separate the best from the beginner?

Missy Q said...

I would organise it so that under 18's played a Junior format, and that was the lower race2-3?. Adultsplay race2-5 in all divisions, Pro's could remain race2-7. Do 2 Jr divisions (eventually), replacing D3 and D4. D2 is the lowest adult entry level for a National event.
Make it mandatory that 17 years and under play in the jr divisions and 'graduate' to the standard game.
Pro teams could scout the young talent and include them on their junior squad until they graduate. Keep the lower price incentives for the Junior teams only. Maintain higher pricing for the adults, who would no longer have to subsidise their younger team-mates.
Do a focus on the young graduating talent at the end of every season.
Re-instate a Sunday Night players party accessible only to the standard (O-18) players, with booze, chicks and razzamataz.
Junior players get no party/perks due to their lower entry costs. Jr event begins and ends on the Saturday, they watch Sundays games.

Coaches box at the side of the field as per uefa, with penalties for stepping out of the box. No coaching other than from the coaching box, from anyone, including team-mates on the pit side.
No walking the flag in super-slow or doing that thing where you hang around waiting to see if the other team notice you're burning time. That is soooo lame for all concerned - If one team eliminates all 5 opposing players the game is automatically over and the horn sounds.
Bring back the VIP area - 0-21 only. Stack it with hot chicks and plenty of booze, add a DJ and webcast big-screen. No booze permitted anywhere else on the premises. VIP tickets are bought/earned, booze is free.

Vendors within 100m of the event location can set up at the event for free. They pay for any tentage/power/etc that they need for the booth, or provide their own. Fields within 100m are encouraged to attend with leaflets/info.

Put signs at major intersections for 1 week prior to the event. Print on disposable corrugated plastic, you will get 8-16 signs from 1 8'x4' sheet and these can be printed using a stencil.

Link every event to a local charity as a title sponsor. mandatory $1 case paint increase is donated to the local charity.
Contact local Radio & TV before every event, detail the charity work and request promotion. It is a gazillion times easier to secure free marketing from these people if you're helping a charity in the area

MikeMfromPrime said...

Bringing back the advancing the flag rule is an easy one. Definite YES. But wait, you really want to FORCE Jacob Edwards to play in a kiddy div.? Rhetorical. PB is about skill-level not age-level.

Different buzzer noises alternating, or unique, to each field is another must.

Baca, yes the degree of difficulty certainly matters. When I say, aggressive moves, I'm reminiscing on Ollie Lang '05 Cereal Killers stuff.

You already see these kinds of moves happening on the D-side of the field. Take Chicago last year. Berdnikov bunkering a Dynasty player in a 1on1 in OT. JRab finding that seam to hang the flag the point before. These moves demonstrate those "paintball instincts" to the audience in a way most other moves can't. The stuff only PB players can sense, or maybe only great PB players can. That "sixth sense" of knowing where the paint is, where two-three-four of your opponents are looking to allow a game-breaking move.

For a true beginner to a tournament player, it's the fear of getting shot. At someone's first time playing I'd want to conquer that first. Even for Pros, the Ironmen made each new player stand S1 to S1 and empty a full loader into each other. "Kay kid, you're still breathing. You'll never get shot worse than that. EVER."

From lower Divs-Pro. The first obvious difference is EVERYONE is shooting the whole game in Pro. Off break, between moves, filling gaps not just shooting at players they can see. Laning is a big one. It is rare for someone NOT to get shot off break in Pro. Playing in space is another observable one. Pros play out in space / standing out / edging WAY more than any other division. Sometimes you even wonder what they're doing out there if they get shot. The athleticism of the Pros is increasing as well. A few years ago a PB player would like any barcrawler. Now the gym is an expected part of a Pro player's routine. Though I still don't think it'll ever outweigh paintball IQ.

More generally, it's simply the amount of mistakes you're allowed to make. Accruing that experience over time against better opponents that consistently capitalize on your mistakes builds Pro players.

Nick Brockdorff said...

If you mean field layout/bunker shapes, when you ask if degree of difficulty matters for aggression, I say yes.

The more diffucult the props and layout is to play, the higher up the ladder we generally get, before we see aggressive play.

I fully understand the increasingly shrinking props are being made, in order to make the sport more demanding physically and technically.... I just don't think it is the right direction to take, as it becomes too hard for lower levels to play the game with any degree of success, especially because of the commitment to training regularly it requires.

10-12 years ago, when props were larger, it was still the best athletes, the most technically proficient and the smartest players that won, so I don't think the smaller props are changing the outcome of the game at the higher level anyway.

Reiner Schafer said...

And now for something completely different (hey, you knew it would happen).

Fast but not Furious:

Airball. Field layout never changes form one event to another and one year to another.

5-man - enough to take the "luck" aspect out of the game for the most part, but small enough to build teams easily - it's hard to get people to commit to anything these days, so small number teams make it easier to maintain.

Limited ammo - teams receive a certain amount of paintballs 2 minutes before scheduled game time to divide up amongst themselves. 8 bps max. ROF to encourage movement.

Each game consists of 5 short "periods" of 1.5 minutes each with 45 seconds between periods to reset and reload (teams only get paint at beginning of the game though, so they can choose how many paintballs they want to carry into each period). The whole game lasts 10 minutes (5 periods, 4 reset breaks). Visible time clock so all players can see easily. Any player not at starting point at start of period is not playing that period.

The fields have two "blue lines" about 1/8 of the way up the field. Teams can never have more than one player (defenceman) behind blue line. At start of game one player starts behind blue line, all others start on blue line and must breakout forward. A player can only move backwards behind his own blue line if the previous defenceman was eliminated.

One point scored for each time buzzer is sounded by players pressing one of two push buttons (close to the corners at opposition's end of field, behind the other team's blue line). Maximum 5 points per period per team (5 players times 1). Once a player has scored a point for his team, he is out of play.

Limited ammo and lower ROF will make movement easier, which will be necessary to score points during short periods. Standard bunker setups will enable teams to devise set plays and will mean teams don't need to practice frantically days prior to an event.

All bunkers are tapered at top (cones, dorritos, etc. A widengle lens camera is hoisted above playing field to catch entire field, making it possible for viewers to see each and every player on the field.

Nick Brockdorff said...

I don't really get the advantage to running the same field design year in and year out Reiner?

As for the rest of it, it sounds way too complicated for my taste.

Reiner Schafer said...

Are there any other combative team sports that change field designs from event to event? Or year to year? Soccer, hockey, basketball, football, rugby. lacrosse run with exactly the same field year after year.

Which part is too complicated? 2 buzzers instead of 1? The line to limit back players to just one at a time? It's a pretty simple game, start the game, push one of the buzzers without getting eliminated. The game itself is very simple, the possible strategies are endless, the way a good team sport should be.

Nick Brockdorff said...

I knew that would be your answer :)

The difference between all the sports you mention, and paintball, is that they get to utilise the entire field, and have a close to infinite range of "plays" they can run within the field.

In paintball, baring the odd blind spot here and there, players are forced to play the bunkers, and further, it is almost always fairly predictable what the next bunker to move to is for any given player.

As such, the game becomes incredibly stale and predictable, once you get to the point where everyone knows the best way to play the particular layout, after couple of events.

As luck would have it, we have a great chance to see this weekend.... I predict that by Saturday, people are getting sick of seeing the same plays again and again.

To me, the changing layouts is one of paintballs strengths, and I firmly believe we should hold onto that.

As for my comment on it being complicated, I was talking about the whole blue line thing, and a defensive player... I think it is an unnecessary complication.

But then, as you might have gathered over past debates, I am a purist, in the sense that I think the sport only needs to be about shoot or get shot, and any added complication to that, should be marginal.

Reiner Schafer said...

All right, I was just brain storming. Changing field layouts won't change the game that much. I was mostly thinking about cost savings for players.

The lower ROF and limited paint would make the bold move more possible. I'd also have a more dense bunker set to create more blind spots and more options, so games aren't as predictable.

The blue line certainly isn't overly complicated. A team doesn't need to keep anyone behind it if they don't want to. The point is that they can never have more than one player in the very back portion of the field. The majority of players are in the offensive, or at least the neutral zone, right from the start. This combined with relatively short periods would hopefully make for a game geared to offense rather than defense. Hopefully a fast paced game and an interesting game to spectate, but without breaking the bank of the players.

But hey, I've never played it, just picturing it in my head, and it wouldn't be the first thing that ended up being much different from what I pictured. :)

JoeMalaka said...

I can't pass this up for some reason it is calling to me.

-Go back to a smaller field size. I would also like the field kits used in the late stages of the NXL brought back as well.
-Buzzers get rid of the flags.
-Different divisions different game.
-Pro's 2 10 minute half's no point limit bring xball back. 1:30 between points. Keep it moving.
-D1, race-6, with no clock 2 min between points
-D2, race-5, with no clock 2 min between points
-D3, race-4, with no clock 2 min between points
-D4, 7-man round robin (this division is also an open division that allows anyone to play in)
-D5, 7-man round robin (this division is for beginners)

-capped ramping at 12
-Same field design through out an entire season, but the field design changes at world cup. It will add parody for the event and allow teams to practice and have a full understanding of the field they are about to play at the start of the next season. Along with a more prominent snake, I have felt that they have tried to modify and change up that side of the field too much, subscribe to the KISS principle and you'll be just fine.
-there are a couple rules that I would like to address that don't get brought up, malicious intent is 10 or more breaks on player from one player onto another so if you decided to run through and take 50 hits walk away just walk away. I read the the previous comments and by going with anything a player can see for an obvious hit doesn't qualify. We have all been hit on the nose of the hopper and didn't know it. (at least I have) We have all heard or think we know when our pack might have shot. To qualify those things is like defining zero, it just can't happen. I also believe every ref should have to wear a number and then will be subject to review by each team that played under them. There should also be an overhead camera to review each ref at each field. (being a ref is a thankless job but some take their power too far and others refuse to make a call) After that being said their payment should be performance based.

After all these changes to "the game" I still don't understand why there are not more moves guys used to make huge moves when the fields had less bunkers and guns moved faster. Maybe its a fear of losing that cases and individual to hide behind his gun and not make those moves. When you know you will still have that sponsor if you lose you make that move, but you don't make that move you can hold on to fourth and company a will keep you; you don't make that move. Maybe its a fear of getting shot. Or maybe people just realized you could hide behind your gun and shoot them down as they moved into your lane.

As I was asked a bit ago "when is the last time you saw a double x move not out of desperation in any level. I mean a good hard fisting double x move?" maybe the will to not lose takes over and the will to win is lost. and the person who does't want to lose the most wins, not the person who wants to win the most.

But as I write all this out, I still am holding on to my personal belief that UAPL should be the way tourney paintball is done. Its also the funnest and one of the most exciting I have ever played.

Missy Q said...

@ Mike@prime.
I would definitely separate by age.
To use your example, I think Jacob Edwards would be one of the graduating stars that is courted by the pro teams in his final year as a Jr player, and that would add to the theater of the Junior program. All major sports separate by age. There's no good reason for Paintball to be any different. Also, when securing sponsorships you can cast a wider net. Some sponsors are geared towards kids and want to reach that demographic specifically, others, like Bud etc, can't actually get involved with minors and so the younger players actually restrict what the leagues can bring in.
I know the age separation will likely never happen, and that it seems extreme, but I think if we were to do it all over again, starting in '98, it would have been a smart decision that would have helped both the game and the industry.

Nick Brockdorff said...

This whole obvious/inobvious thing never made sense to me..... why does it matter?

If you are playing with a hit, you should be penalised the same, whether you know you are hit or not.

I do think however, that the rules should better define what constitutes "playing", so that you are only penalised if you shoot your gun.

Anonymous said...

Here is a more outside-the-box idea: Right now paintball is played in a tournament format. What if instead, it was played with more of a long match regular season/playoffs format. By that I am suggesting that a team would travel to the home field of another team and play in a format that would last between 1.5 and 2 hours with somewhere around 45min to 1 hour of actual playing time. There would be perhaps an 8 to 12 game season with home and away games, etc leading to playoffs. The playoffs could be held as a large tournament at a neutral venue.

Travel would still be in the 4 to 6 event range (8 game season with 4 home games plus playoffs). It would foster more of a home town team atmosphere, where you could go to the local field and see your hometown team play a pro game instead of also having to travel to Galveston/Phoenix/etc.

This would not work as well for the lower divisions. One potential solution wold be to co-locate mini/regional qualifying touraments with the pro games in the same day/weekend.

Don Saavedra said...


Hahaha. No, I'm kidding.

Missy Q said...

I agee with Nick about the inobvious hit thing. It's too arbitary, and way too open to abuse.
You get hit, you're out. You continue playing, you get penalised. Who cares whether the player is aware of the hit or not.

Anonymous said...

I agree that unobvious hits can be arbitrary, and there is a lot of gray area. However, consider the more black and white case -- if a player gets gogged and plays on, should the penalty be the same as a player that took a pack hit and keeps playing?

They could clairify the obvious/unobvious by having areas considered to be 'unobvious' be colored in a special 'reserved' color. So perhaps packs/hopper fronts/shoes/whatever is deemed to be unobvious all need to be white and no other gear can be white (or pick some color, I used white for the sake argument). If the ref sees paint on white it is an 'unobvious' hit and the player is pulled with no penalty, if the ref sees paint anywhere else, it is an 'obvious' hit with a penalty.

Millennium Series said...

Rule book, what's a rule book?

Nick Brockdorff said...

" Missy Q said...
I agree with Nick"

- I feel a new signature coming on :P

"if a player gets gogged and plays on, should the penalty be the same as a player that took a pack hit and keeps playing?"


His impact on the result of the game is the same either way, and that is what should matter.

Penalties are there to make the game fair IMO - not to punish people for various degrees of wrongdoing.