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Sunday, May 3, 2009

Risk - The Paintball Scenario

In a departure from the usual reenacting historic battles or emulating television or movies the Tippinators Paintball Team, to create something not before seen by the players of Eastern Canada, on May 3rd, 2009 produced a scenario event based on a board game – RISK.

Like the Parker Brothers (now a division of Hasbro) game of strategic global domination, Mersey Road Paintball in East River, Nova Scotia, was divided into six territories for which two teams had to compete. Each territory had a point value based on size and accessibility. To further simulate the board game the playing field had large sections taped off as oceans, creating choke points and forced zones of conflict.

Point scoring was simple for the teams. Every ten minute period a team controlled a territory points were awarded. In addition to the ten minute awarding of points, timed ten minute respawns replicated the end of game turns.

Event organizer Chris Landry of the Tippinators was the pleased with the games acceptance. “Basing a paintball scenario on a popular board game is outside the box thinking for sure.” Landry continued, “Since the 1950’s people have loved RISK and a lot of players came out just to see how the game would work.”

Due to the multiple objectives, and defined avenues of advance, the game was fast moving with multiple changes in zone occupation throughout the day. Constant shifts of momentum and changes of territory occupation kept the players interest and hungry to continue in an effort to dominate the world.

Unlike the board game, players on the field are unable to see the big picture, Landry’s solution to the problem was simple. “We allowed the refs, who were in contact with each other, to act as source of intel to the players.” Landry said. “Players were given a broad overview of how much territory they held and suggested whether to send players to the north or south side of the field.” Players coming from the respawn could decide to sure up lines of defense or exploit weaknesses of the other team.

The players universally appreciated the use of intelligence as it helped the game flow. “Having an idea of what was happening elsewhere made the game much more interesting.” Said Ed Bryant of Halifax. “Each respawn meant a new challenge at a different part of the field; it kept us on our toes all day.”

The eagerness of the players to keep up the fight was evident by the lack of people in the staging area while the game was in progress. “You would see a player literally run off the field, get paint get air and run back.” Commented Landry, “One of the signs that you have discovered the winning formula for a scenario is the players not wanting to stop.”

Due to the overwhelming success of RISK Landry was asked about the theme for the Tippinators next scenario. “ I’m not sure. Maybe Monopoly? Have everyone fighting for Boardwalk and ignoring Baltic.” After a thoughtful pause Landry concluded with a smile “We would have to hide GO, I can’t afford to give every player $200.”

The success of RISK shows that a producer can step outside the reenactment mode for a scenario game. The most important elements of a scenario are clearly defined objectives, simplified game play, organized and dedicated staff and a most importantly a group of paintballers will to go out, shoot paint and have fun. 

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