|Date||27 - 29th July 2018|
|Venue||NPF Bassets Pole|
|Promoter||NPF Bassets Pole|
|Players||Rocket, Ricktion, Little Dave, Gibbo, Hamster, Capt Price|
|Result||Loss / Aquatic Loss|
Paintfest one of the 'Big 3' scenario paintball events to be held every year in the UK. It is held at the National Paintball Fields (NPF), one of the older paintball sites in the UK. It's well established with excellent game zones and interesting structures all over the field.
NFP is near Bassetts Pole, an area at the Staffordshire/West Midlands/Warwickshire tripoint. The name derives from a marker post set up by the Bassett family - owners of the Drayton Estate (hence the nearby village of Drayton Bassett). This delineated the boundary with the Middleton estates of the De Frevilles/Willoughbys/Grazebrooks and the Shenstone estates of the Grazebrooks. There are recorded episodes of several armed encounters with men from the bordering estates around this spot. Almost as many encounters with men from bordering estates as with your mum has.
The site is located on the A446, with easy access to the A38. Part of the A38 shares your mother's nickname of the Devon Expressway.
Due to the seasonal weather, Paintfest is usually played sub-aquatically; typically it is a jovial affair with camping, plenty of beer, and little-to-no shark attacks.
This year was the 7th year for the UE crew, and every year there is something different. Sometimes it rains, sometimes it heaves it down. This year there was a lot more paintball variety at least, with Airsoft / MagFed / Secnario & Speedball all at the same event.
Also, the facilities were better this year, with more showers and toilets and event Glamping camp site!
The game area was not huge but perfectly suited for the medium number of players, with great levels of thick plant cover and multiple brick buildings that created a brilliant play area. The day consisted of several different game scenarios which were then switched around to ensure no specific advantage was given to either team.
Now for those that don't get hints: it always rains at Paintfest. It's just a rule that cannot be broken.
This year the UK was in the grips of the biggest heat wave for 40 years, offering 6 weeks without rain, crunchy melanoma, and average daily temperatures above 30 degrees. We hoped things might be different. However the laws of physics have been thoroughly researched by our Fact hunting team of interns, and they came to the conclusion that these are immutable. Paintfest thus changed weather patterns, not unlike August "Gus" Gorman and his weather satellite Vulcan. Or that weird bit that doesn't quite make sense at the end of Dune with Paul Atreidies.
They're remaking that, you know? It better be good. You'll struggle to beat Sean Young stabbing the fuck out of Harkonnens... or Sting with his bangers out in a steam room. All definitely-straight paintballers will know and agree that Sting's bangers are for us all to know and love.
Due to the fact that those of us in UE at least hold the pretence of jobs, we made it down in dribs and drabs on the Friday afternoon/night when work let us escape. We made our way to the event and had our traditional pre-game crying session. After that we were refreshed and ready to explore the event.
After having a good mooch around, and some catching up with vendors and players who pretend to like us, we had an equipment dust-down and we were set to go.
To go for a Chinese that is.
After a diabetes causing amount of food, and some nice ales, we got back to the hotel... because we're sophisticated, and probably a bit past-it.
We spend the first part of the day trying to dodge cross dressing-interviewer extraordinaire Kate 'Widenbar' Adie, doing a warzone interview with embedded troops on deployment. Luckily we hide behind the burger van until game-on.
At least, that's our excuse for joining the game about 30 mins after the start. You may call this tardiness, but we call it inspired tactical manoeuvre. Since the players who started on time were now running out of paint we were able to be an effective relief force, much like your mother. Immediately we began an attack on the helicopter field, which was being held by the opposition.
After 20 minutes of hard fighting we got the flag and changed to our side. The fighting was pretty intense, with some great play and a well designed field that made advancing possible, but difficult. As we slowly progressed forward, the time ticked on. Paint and gas became an issues, and the numbers started to thin, and after some brave defending, the flag finally was changed back after an hour of possession.
Once the respawns had got themselves back in the game, the opposition had the advantage. We mounted several brave pushes, finally breaking down the right hand flank and allowing the general to score some needed points.
All in all, this was a solid game. Although we were up against it a bit, this hard fighting is actually a lot of fun. We considered the day a good success.
As is tradition, we minced off to the hotel for a middle-class shower and some slap up grub. After a decent curry we hit the local pub. We originally had plans to go to the main party, and just as we were about to order a taxi, the heavens opened, just as the laws of physics predicted.
A quick check on the facebook live feed showed a great party, but one populated by the underwater Gungas from the Phantom Menace. This was gutting as we genuinely wanted to attend the main event. With heavy hearts we realised that without fins and gills this would be a poor choice, and so sat in a pub with beer and heavy hearts.
And comfy seats.
And dry clothes.
Sunday Main Game (Diamond Wars)
Did I mention the rain?
At the 10am game-start it was top grade summer English weather. We minced for a few hours, trying to wait out the driving rain. 2 hours later the weather started to relent. We got ourselves ready and got stuck in.
By the time we joined the fray, the field was wide open with no real front line. It was easy to punch through in places before being forced back and was really quite fun to be running up and down the field with position changing hands all the time. This makes a change from some other events of just fighting over a single trench all day. We got to play on the whole site, which by the way, is massive!
For our part we managed, to get all the way to the enemy start line at one point before being annihilated by a massive force waiting in the spawn point.