By Jason “foolybear” Lineberger
In the United States there are a dozen or so scenario events that have emerged as bucket-list games that every woodsballer wants to hit at some point – Oklahoma D-Day, Super Game, Decay of Nations, Living Legends, World Challenge, and Castle Conquest, among others. Steadily rising on that must-play wishlist is a Cold War-themed game, Fulda Gap, pitting WARSAW against NATO in a battle over bases around Command Decision’s extensive scenario field. Think a thousand paintballers from 44 states and 7 countries, tanks, simulated chemical gas attacks, missions, a night game, and terrain that varies from a mock-up town to trench-lined bases to backwoods brush and open fields. Ready for November 2014 yet?
Like many of the marquee destination events, teams arrive early for Fulda Gap and the vendors line up to provide everything from food to parts to tech support. Showcase trailers created the full shopping experience, and Planet Eclipse sent a team of technicians to ensure that everyone shooting an Eclipse marker spent the maximum amount of time on the field, even after a sudden temperature drop on Friday night left other players scrambling to get their guns working.
The fun started on Friday with limited paint mini games and an anti-tank competition. The day wrapped up with the Legends game – a 20 player invitational meant to recognize those who have been instrumental in growing this event. The ten-on-ten format required players to use rental markers and one hopper of paint for two rounds. It started with light-hearted jokes and by the end it devolved to hilarious chaos as the “legends” put on a show for the audience lining the netting.
This year my team, Capital Offense, was once again tasked with wrecking shop behind enemy lines as WARSAW’s Spetsnaz. We brought in heavy hitters from the likes of Thunderstruck and SOVA to round out the unit, and with the serious advantage of our own mobile spawn point, we looked to drive a spear through the NATO defenses. A few years ago the NATO general stacked 150 players against Capital Offense, which slowed our assault for the first few hours, but this year, with no team specifically tasked with stopping WARSAW’s special forces, NATO stood to lose their real estate quickly. And they did.
At game-on the Spetsnaz shooters established control of the most remote base and used that to launch their attack. We immediately ran against the Commonwealth. The CEF (Commonwealth Expeditionary Forces) have a well-earned reputation for being smart, tenacious, and honest. They lived up to their rep, stalling the push across the DMZ, but the barrage from TCO’s custom LV1s proved to be too much. In short order the WARSAW special forces took Holiday, Duckett, Hamburger, and finally Fort Apache before pushing the fight right into the NATO insertion point at Sim City. In only two hours NATO went from owning the majority of the field to struggling for a toe-hold. And while NATO’s special forces made some bold sweeps towards the end of the day, even with a devastating barrage of air strikes and chemical attacks, their side never regained the momentum.
Feeling confident in their performance on Saturday, the Spetsnaz coalition marched out for night play fired up for victory. The teams had a couple chances to score points by turning the flags either red or blue for a points check at the top of each hour. Utilizing effective communications, WARSAWs night squads established control of all the bases, fought some skirmishes with NATO players attempting to sneak a flag flip, and ultimately controlled every base on the field for both counts.
Sunday’s game brought out a revitalized NATO who utilized their tanks to gain some ground, but again, WARSAW’s anti-tank gunners kept sending their enemies back to the insertion point. For every punch NATO brought, WARSAW threw a counter and followed it up with a strike of their own, and as time ran out, WARSAW stood victorious.
If Fulda Gap is not on your paintball bucketlist, add it today! From firefights with hundreds of players to small skirmishes in the woods, the game has it all. It’s the year-ending event for many east-coast teams, so the campsite is one big reunion. The vendors carry the latest gear, Valken brought in fresh winter paint (and it shot great), and players can get in as much game-time as they can handle. I’ve played every Fulda Gap game, and I wouldn’t miss it.
Foolybear on the Front Lines
While I love big stuff like massive charges or tank battles, my favorite moments of the game came from taking some of the more remote bases on the field. My team Capital Offense, joined SOVA, Thunderstruck, and WCP to take Fort Apache on both Saturday and Sunday. This fort sits along the tape line and with solid walls, several towers, and a lack of close cover, it’s a challenge to take it. On Saturday we did it in classic fashion. With an enemy tank closing in behind us and no choice but to make a move, it was guns up all the way. Runners cleared the open ground to stack up next to the walls while shooters hit every tower and view port from three sides. After that it was CQB to mop up the remaining defenders, and as the last three exited the building I recognized some of the participants from my summer scenario paintball camp! They did well for themselves – holding out for as long as they did.
What I loved about taking this fort was that this wasn’t a moment of individual glory. No one player cracked the defensive line with a stunning move. No, everyone knew their jobs; we spread the field, covered the angles, shot our targets, made our moves. Team paintball.
Thanks to Planet Eclipse for your amazing support of scenario paintball and Team Capital Offense. Fulda Gap left us fired up to make 2014 our best year yet!
Check foolybear’s calendar to see where he’ll be in action next. Do you like the photos in this article? Foolybear promises over a hundred more to be released on Instagram – so check him out there or on Twitter, both are @foolybear. Field owners and game producers – message foolybear on Twitter! He’s already booking 2014’s scenario tour.