So You Wanna Play A Big Game? Part 2
Each game is different (at least in theory) but I guarantee you will recognize some stock characters. For example, there are two kinds of sniper wannabes. The guys with ghillie suits, goggleflauge and night vision scopes don't even get serious about the game until nightfall. The other kind of sniper is more imaginative. The clothes don't matter and neither does the marker. What matters is the prospect of crawling through the underbrush, finding a concealed blind and waiting motionless for hours for a good shot. Scenario teams whose members are identified by their custom matching T-shirts with nicknames like, "Booger," "Stone Cold," and "Super Dave." To the aging guys with golf-ball sized wads of Redman stuffed in their lower lips and faded tattoos who aren't allowed to strap their black anodized survival knifes to their thighs. And the smaller than you'd think clique of combat-would-be-so-cool dipsticks living the dream while applying camo greasepaint to their faces with custom CAR-15 replica markers tucked in the crook of their arm. Along with the pseudo-tourney dorks wearing the latest stylin' fashions, clean and pressed, but can't figure out how to load a hopper or turn on their supergun. Despite the oddballs and the weirdos most of the players will be, more or less, regular Joes and Janes. The one thing they all share in common is an unwillingness to actually leave the game when hit. Not to suggest that cheating is rampant. That would imply that the rules remain in effect, even when large numbers attempt to circumvent them. The usual standard is the rules are only in effect as long as a referee can see you.
At this point you might be wondering what happens should a player actually leave the field after being hit. The logistics are simple. Eliminated players can return to the action from outside the field of play through re-entry points on the half-hour or on some similar pre-set arrangement. Additionally, many games feature medic characters who are allowed to "heal" players one way or another. If the medic feature exists it is routinely abused more aggressively than police violations of the Fourth Amendment.
Now we come to one of the unique features of scenario gaming; the aforementioned mission. The missions propel the scenario storylines forward and allow members of the competing teams to accumulate the points that will ultimately determine the winning team. Depending on the complexity of the scenario there can be all manner of special events or circumstances played out by the more zealous competitors. Stuff like night landings via submarine, artillery barrages, infiltrating the enemy base, the race to recover the downed satellite, abductions by UFOs, air insertions performed by mysterious black helicopters, dismantling ticking nuclear devices and conga lines of Brazilian beauties dancing on the beach during Carnivale. Sorry, that last one is one of my fantasies. How, you might wonder, are such deeds accomplished by guys running around with paintball guns? Most of the time it's done by using 'action' cards or the like wherein a player or team that possesses the requisite skills plays the card to perform the action. (Playing the card usually requires confirmation from a superior officer and notification of a referee who either confirms the action was performed or else adjudicates the results.) The realism might be heightened by loading everyone in a Jeep, calling it a helicopter, driving them out to the drop area and announcing something like; "Listen up. We are approaching LZ Alpha Delta Bravo. The LZ may be hot. We're going in hard and fast. Hit the ground running and good luck." Or maybe; "Stiff upper lip, Triple Zero. It's likely a suicide mission but we're counting on you to save the world. Tally Ho."
Meanwhile, everyone not partaking in the missions gather in various sized groups and run around for the duration shooting as many people as possible. Inevitably, as the game winds down the final outcome is too close to call. No matter what has happened in the preceding 24 hours the game invariably comes down to the final missions and the point totals are incredibly close though exactly who scored which points when and how is never clear. (I'm pretty sure these results are achieved by Fortune 500 accountants moonlighting on the weekends.) Anyway, a winning team is declared, the victorious general takes his bows and the organizer thanks all the little people who helped make the gala event possible before the awards are handed out and everyone goes home to take a very necessary shower.
No matter what part you played, when it's all said and done, what's important is that you can go home and lie to all your friends about the cool moves you made, the daring attacks you led and the heroic stands you made against all odds. Perhaps lie is a bit harsh. Let's just say embellish the truth a little, shall we? After all, if you've spent the weekend saving humanity from an invasion of alien insects what's some gilt around the edges? Half the fun is in the telling and the re-telling ...