North versus South writeup

North versus South writeup

Event info:

Date 3rd-5th May 2019
Venue RAF Swynnerton
Promoter Warped
Players Rocket, Ricktion, Hammertime, Hampster, Mr P, Justin, Little Dave, Soap, Charlie Two, Gero, Brexit
Hangers on Lima Alpha, Charlie Three
Result Win, Loss, Win, Win

Introduction

North vs South, for the European paintballing community, is definitely not a matter of life and death; it's far more important. Over the last decade the game has attracted European top teams such as our brothers and sisters from CEP, GPL Oslo and Lima Bravo.

Last year's game proved to be so epic that it's only really possible to describe it using Manowar lyrics. It was a close call between teams North and South, so Jim from The Warped team decided to arrange a rematch. Also, it involved the notorious home-made tanks that would even have gotten Field-Marshal Rommel sexually aroused if they ever would have passed an MOT.

After many minutes of preparation, UE descended upon Swynnerton with burning hearts and livers made of steel. What is clear is that those 350 million pounds are going to be desperately needed in the NHS real soon for ongoing liver destruction. UE's German detachment left Aachen in Germany on Friday morning and caused the usual trouble in Calais. The ever vigilant female supermodel customs officers grabbed the bag of our new recruit Lukas (which was stuffed with a tourney marker, a M4 magfed marker, a shedload of mags and a TPX) for the X-ray machine. When at the machine, the offers were heard saying in French:

There are fucking GUNS in this bag!

It's OK, the boss allows it. Send them off to England!

We reached Swynnerton at 4.30 pm and joined UE... only to be recruited for the Hunters Club at the evasion game at 7pm by Ricktion.

Friday night: Invasion game

As every year, a Friday night out at NvS does not mean booze and karaoke but running for your life.

Unless you are with the Hunters' club, that is.

This was the first time for our part of the team to join the Hunters team. We attended the team meeting to see the hunters' tactics, only to find out why we struggled to run the evasion in the past. The tactics involved GPL on vehicle patrol, CEP, UE and Hostile Intentions on foot patrol as well as Lima Bravo as blocking and sniper squad.

As it turned out, it was pouring down with rain at 5°C one hour before the start, so most of Lima Bravo did the sensible thing and stayed in the bunker to read Jane Austen novels and do related cosplay.

UE and Hostile Intentions joined forces in a combined team and spent most of the time looking for new team names/medical conditions, many of which can be treated with Viagra these days. Due to the rain, very few runners turned up at the start gate. The game was looking like it was about to be cancelled. The Hunters Club therefore decided to set up a strobe light disco in the main base on site with DJ Pyro expert on the turntables. Sadly, the game started soon after and the hunters put their game faces on.

Our squad was patrolling the Northern edge on the main road and arrived at the central main base 30 min after the game's start, taking defensive positions and laying ambushes. While we got pretty soaked, this turned out to be good fun.

We set up positions lying prone around a junction near the main base. Runners trying to sneak past almost stepped on Hostile Intentions, only to be lit up by stobe lights in the last moment. Little did they know that it was in fact full moon and Ricktion's secret veganwolf genes were activated. He took control of the team and developed a pretty vicious tactic to run up to scared runners and light them up with flashlights in the last moment once we were at their flank. Even from a hunter's perspective, it was scary to see the only day of the year when Rick craves the flesh of vertebrates!

About 90 min in the game, we decided to leave the central part of the evasion area and head towards the finish. Not surprisingly, many paths had turned into ankle deep mud, lakes or streams. By the time we reached the finish area, there were a mere 12 min left to play, so we left the field hand handed the remaining human sacrifices to CEP.

It was the first time to cross the finish line in evasion in five years, which felt good, even though (or maybe because of the good company!) I did it as a hunter. The rest of the evening involved a hot shower, a fair bit of cider and many war stories. It also involve a high praise from Jim: he said that the Hunter's Club is acting exactly the way he wants it, as we made the night dark and full of terrors.

Saturday: UK Versus

Sunshine and relatively mild weather made for a good start into Saturday's two games: North vs Rest of the World and South vs Rest of the World. The whole UE squad assembled 30 min before the game's start. In contrast to last year's game, we were not the only team showing up with shields and the knowledge to use them... Every team and its dog seemed to have some.

The Away Team flag

Our Rest of the world (ROW) team included the usual suspects, UE, GPL, CEP and Lima Bravo and was furthermore reinforced by the US Psycho Clown Posse. The ROW was commanded by Lima Bravo's Rainier Pol who used the combat to try to get over Mr. Darcy leaving him the night before...

The game was a mixed hold and control game as well as a transport mission. Briefly, a team could score by collecting gold bars, transporting them to the peninsula. These were then to be put them into a boat that would have Admiral Nelson made cry tears of desperation and disbelieve and ship them over the river. Or, alternatively, kick in some doors, assault enemy buildings and keep the Northerner/Southerners out.

In good old UE tradition, we came up with an intricately complicated plan which ended in utter chaos and fighting the Northerners at close quarters. About 50 mins into the game, most of the team met outside of the field to refill air and paint. This turned out to be a very good decision, as the chaos got the team separated and we did not work together all too well.

The decision was to regroup and join the game 30 min before the end and to attack the Star Destroyers at close quarters or something like that. In the end, we managed to take one of the enemy's buildings (Castle Howard) within the last 30 min in a single, very effective attack and to hold it for the rest of the game. This did score us 50 points twice. As it later turned out, we did lose the game 225 to 325 points or so, but the main point was that we made the right decision to take a break when we could not achieve anything on the field and to go back in as one team.

The UE shield wall

During the break between both Uk versus games, Ricktion suggested not to interfere with the gold transport mission, but to disrupt the South's attempts to succeed by holding one of the ports. At the game's start we watched in lazy disbelief that our 70 odd ROW squad had to take on more than 250 UK players. We split off to continue doing what we did best in the first game and aimed to capture & control buildings that would give us points at regular intervals. The first half of the game included a pitch battle for Castle Howard that we could capture relatively early in the game. With the respawn changing after 30 min, this turned into a proper Alamo situation that ended with Ricktion, Brexit, Rocket and Gero as the last UE fighters holding off 20 to 30 Southerners. Justin, Hamster, Lukas and me tried to keep the Southerners of their backsides, we in turn were surrounded.

We could only hold the building about 45 or so minutes, but according to the marshall, this meant we scored twice. After a short break, we reconsolidated and focused on the central building of the battlefield, Warwick castle. This building was notoriously hard to attack, as forest and bushes on three sides surround it. By the time we reached the building, Mr P had stealthy moved in with some ROW forces and captured it. We set up a perimeter to hold it. As we were already close to the game's end, we did the classical UE thing and spontaneously decided to attack Castle Howard in the last three minutes of the game. After a short sprint over the field, we did arrive in front of the Castle with 60 seconds to go. Following a Valhalla charge, we stormed the flag, but were beaten by the clock with our flag change happening seconds after the game end.

Our change of tactics in the end was a very clever decision: As it turned out, we defeated the South with 375 to 325 points! As Jim from Warped said at the final presentation: A 1:1 ratio of UK to ROW players would result in a ROW win within 10 minutes. 2:1 wouldn't be enough either... in fact he aims for a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio. The international teams are more determined, work together both internally and externally.

So: excellent communication, international cooperation and mutual respect allow one to overcome seemingly impossible odds. Interesting fact, isn't it? It was like a European Union of Teams, that became much stronger, more efficient, important and reliable because of their membership of this union. I wonder what the UK could learn from this...

The evening entertainments included a solid rehydrating with isotonic Cider and Ale. We also watched the tank parade and paintball eating, enjoying the fast food and exchanging more war stories. A very cool thing at this year's game was a get together of most of UE in the bunker to network with Lima Bravo, GPL, Hostile Intentions, the Australians and so on.

The later parts of the evening saw some drinking with the Dutch, releasing the Kraken with the Norwegians and sharing a bottle of Macallan with the Australians, as well as a bit of Mortal Kombat live action role-play by Ricktion a.k.a. Sub Zero. However, he rather ran out of air a bit in the end.

Sunday - North vs. South Survival

Following Saturday night's brutal violation of responsible drinkers units, the Swynnerton bunker dwellers started relatively slow on Sunday morning: Lima Bravo was partially awake, I was entirely sick, the Australians unconscious and GPL's entire leadership was still in Valhalla and discussing battle plans with Odin himself.

Southern General Duncan the Decorator Martin did announce a change of strategy from the previous year and to go on the offensive where possible in the hope that the North expected us to play more tactical and defensive. This turned out to be a good idea.

Mr P

About 30 minutes before game on, we joined the UE main force with Ricktion who settled Scorpion's Revenge, a minor tyre situation, shortly before. Today's mission was the same as last year, a mixed hold & control mission combined with two parallel snatch & grab missions.

The main base had to be controlled twice a day at a certain point. The power station building next to the entrance had to be held five times but scored less points then the main base. The infamous fuel tanker which may have cost us last year's game was back in game. Water canisters were delivered every 30 min and had to be transported straight across the field to the fuel station at the Northern edge of the field. There was a further medical station that could be supplied with blood samples. Blood was not resupplied on a regular basis, therefore quickly became less interesting.

We were able to use the more advantageous Western entry at the start of the game, and thus we could quickly secure the fuel tanker and advanced towards the main base. This would make the transport of canisters much easier later on in the game.

For about 90 minutes, we held the main base with a mixed force of teams and had a number of skirmishes with small groups of Northern players. By about 11:00, we started a number of patrols to the North and East of the main base to secure a path for the canisters and rejoined the Southern defenders of the main base by about 1130. There were only a few coordinated attacks of the Northern forces but were punctuated with a fair bit of annoying tank support. The Northern tanks drivers did a better job than our Southern armour which remained relatively harmless.

A short time afterwards, our patrol forces appeared with two red canisters that had to be carried to the fuel station, so a small force of UE members decided to transport these with about 30 players in tow. In parallel, Ricktion deployed the voice, and arranged for a 200+ player attack onto the fuel station from its Southern side.

While we could get safely to about 200 yards of the building, we found a number of entrenched Northerners in a labyrinth of brick walls. Rocket did take the lead and did manoeuver us through what seemed like the National Bramble Museum, which if you're interested, has an excellent gift shop. Bless him though, as he led from the front he slowly took hedgehog form.

Finally, we ended up very close to the building defended by 5 to 6 Northern players. Sadly, communication failed a bit here and we were ambushed by a few SAS players with riot shields while making a run for the building and were lit up quite well.

After this setback, decided to take a break similar to the previous day, to refill air and paint and clear our minds. We surprisingly bumped into a very pleased Duncan Martin, who told us that we not only successfully secured the main base (scoring many points) but were in the lead so clearly that the Northern General already congratulated him to the win.

By about 1pm we rejoined the game with a strategy similar to the one used in the morning. The first objective was the fuel tanker, which was not defended at all. We did set up a defensive perimeter for about 30 min, collecting two fuel drops and then proceeding to the main base. This time, however, Northern forces were defending it heavily. While we managed to clear the defenders around the perimeter, we struggled with those in the guard towers and the main building.

About 20 minutes later, we set up two assault teams with 3 to 4 riot shields each on both the Western and Eastern entrance ready to attempt a breach. The building was pitch black and filled by the smoke of at least two dozen of Enola Gaye's finest products, which made for a frightening prospect.

In the end, we did ask the defenders to surrender only to find out that we almost charged into our own second assault team. The building really needs a few light bulbs and a reasonable set of defenses on the inside in the future.

However, by 1500 the main base was in our hands and bit by bit, single groups of Northern players did attack the adjacent buildings and walls to cut off our respawn. Both GPL and CEP ran attack after attack to clear shooters from these buildings but by 1520, the North started to attack in full force. 300+ players and the Northern tank were harassing the Western walls of the base. In the meantime, Southern general Black Widow as well as Rocket and Ricktion did coordinate the defense of the base and did very well.

Most of the UE player played a major role in defending it with Little Dave at the Western guard tower, and Hammertime, Mr. P, Justin, Lukas, Gero, Hamster and me all over the place. It is within this time that other players could be overheard saying things like let's stick with UE, they really have a plan, which was the funniest comment of the entire weekend.

Soap shows no mercy

The decisive time of 4pm approached, and with paint and air running low the North managed to get a few players inside the compound. A shield wall of Southerners held the flag post with a roman turtle formation style shield wall. This was the moment when our very own Justin submitted his proposal for play of the day, when he charged unarmed straight into the Northern shield wall, leaned over the shields and barrel tagged the players - all without being hit!

In parallel, GPL's bona fide berserker Ron did a similar stunt by charging a group of Southerner guns blazing. Well, without a hopper on the marker, as he ran out of paint 5 min before. However, the Southern players did surrender nevertheless, probably from homoerotic viking intimidation.

By that time, Northern players had secured the Southern and Western wall of the base and threatened to wrestle the base out of our hands in the very last moment. By consolidating our remaining players and recruiting two riot shields, we cleared the Southern wall and finally secured the base for good to bring the game over the 1600 deadline.

After a quick return to the safe zone on the Northern tank to the festival area, we quickly packed in our stuff. We had a quick shower and enjoyed the final presentation to find out that for the second time in a decade, the South had won - with 900 to 600 points. Epic!

The evening finally concluded with the usual Stafford-based dinner in an Indian restaurant with British, Dutch, Portuguese, German and American players from at least five different teams around the same table. If paintballing could get any better than this weekend, please show me, because I will not believe it until I see it myself. NvS has now finally evolved from the best UK game to the best European game with a good shot at being the Woodball World Cup, given that people visit from Australia and the US.

Extra shout out to Wolfpack from Spain, who enjoyed the night out also. However it seems they'd never seen a British woman before, so we'll be sure to return your jaws from the Wetherspoons floor via express courier... just as soon the the dangerous erections subside.

Summary

Many, many thanks to all the international teams that worked with us over the weekend, most notably our brothers and sisters from Lima Bravo, CEP and GPL. More importantly, many thanks to Jim and the Warped team for organizing the best paintball game imaginable. We'll be back, assuming they keep treating us like the royalty we think we are!