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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Surrounded - What's Your Move?

What's your move? When stupid plans are all you have left?
By Bruce 'Charon' Johnston

originally published in the March 2007 issue of Action Pursuit Games

A large pond protected us from a frontal assault. They couldn't come around to our left flank, as that route would take them right into our main line of defense. Their only option was to come through on our right, cross a road and run the tape to get around us.

We had a limited field of fire and a very inexperienced group but I felt confident that we could hold the line. I gave instructions to the players and everything was ready.

We were in the middle of a scenario game with multiple objectives, I'd been left with some players to hold three buildings, one of which was targeted for 'demolition' by the other side. The rest of my Tippinator teammates had traveled elsewhere on the field to help organize other squads.

The horn blew!

The expected hail of paint came down onto our position as the opposition rushed forward toward our right side. Some of my squad panicked. They hid! Others foolishly stuck their heads out to return fire and were promptly eliminated.

So much for the pre game instructions. It seemed like the plans went right out the window as soon as the paint started flying.

All was not completely lost however. When the first barrage subsided we were left badly outnumbered but had somehow managed to keep them on the other side of the road. The remaining defenders having overcome the initial shock of the fight bunkered down and tried to long ball the other team. The defenders inexperience showed as one by one they were eliminated from the game.

Things were starting to look grim and I realized it was just a matter of time before the other side rushed forward again and took us out of the game. As I emptied my final pod into the hopper I decided it was time to try something a little different.

I told the last remaining defender, "I'm going to cross the road and plug the hole they have been coming through in the hopes it would buy us time enough to end the round."

I told him "Once I cross the road he was to run back and forth between buildings. Yell orders like you have teammates listening and to shoot a few balls every time you move." I hoped the other team would think there was more defenders left then just him. He laughed and said he would do his best.

I crawled to the edge of the bushes and looked for cover on the other side of the road. As I was preparing to move three paint covered players walked toward me with their markers in the air heading to the respawn point. I had only one chance so I had better make it good.

As the eliminated players past I hopped out, walked beside them staying as low as possible while crossing my fingers, toes and eyes in the hope that this might actually work. A ref was watching so if in his mind I played dead then jumped back into the game he would pull me. I kept thinking "Boy this is dumb it will never work."

As the shot out group reached the tapeline I jumped from behind them to the other side of the road. It worked, I made it across the road undetected. "Oh no, it worked! I am now alone and surrounded by 12 - 15 opposition players with nowhere to go and nowhere to hide!"

A frontal assault would be useless. I had a brief flash of fear and panic. I didn't expect to make it this far now what?

Stupid plan number one worked, so lets try and make it two in a row. Instead of facing toward the other team I jumped behind a bush and knelt down facing toward the road I had just crossed and the building I was suppose to be defending. I started to slowly crawl backwards toward the other team.

Right on cue the last lone defender started his routine. He would yell and shoot from one building then crawl to another and repeat the process. Every time he fired the attacking team would duck behind their bunkers and return fire streams of paint at every building and bunker.

The last defender was so convincing that even I thought there was still a sizable force left defending the buildings, and I knew better. If he kept it up the subversion long enough the attacking team would run out of paint and we could walk up and barrel tag them all out.

I heard a rustle in the bushes behind me; two opposing players were crawling forward. They paused when they saw but I was aiming in the other direction. I quickly fired four or five shots harmlessly across the road to waylay their fears. After I fired they crawled up beside me.

My heart stopped when I looked down and realized I saw the blue team marker on their hoppers and my yellow marker was screaming, "Shoot me". Fortunately they were intent on looking for targets across the road and hadn't noticed my hopper. When I realized they hadn't noticed the bright yellow hopper band my heart started beating again.

As luck would have it one of the players now beside me was the bomb carrier. The bomb carrier was set as suicide bomber with simulated explosives on his gear. The bomber's objective was to run into the target building and say "boom" for the mission to be accomplished.

I didn't want to give them a chance to notice my hopper. I leaned over and said "OK guys there are only a couple of them left. We will give cover fire while you run the bomb into the blue house. It'll be a breeze. Ready. Go on three." Both players shook their heads enthusiastically and the bomber prepared to dash. "1 - 2 - 3 Go, Go, Go". The bomber was off like a scared rabbit straight to the blue house while his partner fired repeatedly. The bomber dove into the blue house and screamed "BOOM".

A ref walked up and said, "Great job. To bad you were supposed to blow up the white tower not the blue house. Wrong target genius, you're out." The bomber's cover man became quite agitated and started yelling at the bomber. He looked at me and said, "You told him the wrong building stupid."

I patted him on the shoulder and said "That's ok because you are out too." I showed him my hopper band then pointed my marker at him. His eyes became as big as pie plates when he realized he had been tricked. He walked off the field without a word.

The attacking team had only one bomb so no matter what happened from that point on, our tower would survive the game and we would get the points for a successful defense. 

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