The Rock writeup
|Date||August 6th, 2022|
|Result||Victory, multiple knitting patterns claimed|
The UE Euro advance squad journeyed to the Norwegian Big game, "The Rock". It was an adventure... no a saga. However, be warned that this writeup is exceptionally factual and will likely undermine your viking knowledge. It is recommended that you have a solid revision session, perhaps a read of Norse Mythology, or just man-up and literally travel through time like a dedicated student. Either way, pay attention like Heimdall and strap in. It's story time.
A Saga Begins
Like every good saga, this writeup needs an epic start. A saga begins at the beginning. Except not really, because that's the yawning void of Ginnungagap.. but you get the idea. Let's try again:
Much like The Lord of the Rings, or a quest from the norse gods, our story begins many, many moons ago in the age of paintballing heroes. Universal Exports fought side by side with great warriors from the North who went under the name of GPL Oslo. So great was their power and girth that they could charge a smoke-filled fortress full of angry paintball fighters, armed with just a Norwegian flag. Indeed, they were so gifted that they could make enemy shield bearers surrender without a hopper attached to their markers... and only minimal frontal nudity and Rakfisk.
Yes it's true. All that, and still while being moderately decent fellows!
Now, anyone who ever walked on the same planet as Manowar knows that such power can only be granted by Odin alone. Or possibly Ymir, but ... best to stick to the Marvel version of the Norse Gods, because you're a pretend viking.
We know you are. Everyone knows. They talk about you in Fólkvangr. Anyways - back to the story.
Yet the Allfather, who still has a keen eye on his former realm, was much concerned that his future table companion had grown soft and diabetic over the plague-ridden years of Corona. Hence, it was little surprise that He would task UE to test his warriors to ensure that they would kick ass again. UE have proven a match and a menace to Scandinavian personnel and property earlier this year.
And thus it was so. Last winter, we used entirely modern communication to contact Jonas. He was confused as most Norwegians communicate by Ratatoskr or Huginn and Muninn. Fortunately he was simply making gaudy and clashing knitware and rotting some fish, so he was able to quickly relearn how to use a Nokia.
He is the sailing master of GPL, and was our fellow bunker inmate at many North v South games. He was very pleased to hear of our mission and suggested to rally the GPL troops and to meet to do battle at the valley of Oltedal near Stavanger at a game called the Rock. He put us into contact with Erik Kaiser, war chief of the local paintball tribe and site owner. He described to us what seemed like a perfect match – an epic side in a fjord, two days of paintball with up to 150 players, cheap tickets and paint with free camping and plenty of dogging spots. Rental markers were Etha 2s. For UE it would be just a hop onto the next flight to Stavanger and all would be ready on site.
While our Anglosaxon team mates were tempted at first by this promise and the hope to get a glimpse at lovely Lagertha from Vikings, however just like all paintballers girlfriends, she never existed. One by one most of UE had to decline - muttering something like they have to fortify their monastaries or something like that. The faithful few prepared to sail to Norway, with good oars to sail to distant shores.
We accepted the mission by lord Odin to:
- find the glorious warriors of GPL to bring them back to the battlefield
- stand with Vikings to slay some other Vikings
- find out the whereabouts of lovely Lagertha
- find out some good knitting patterns
Sadly, we did get a call from Jonas just a few days before the game and he told us that none of the GPL players could attend the game do to an unimportant issue as somebody had a wedding. They agreed to meet us in Oslo after the game to ensure that the true Norwegian culture of knitting and rotting fish in sand could be shared. While we agreed to this, it was much frowned upon by Lord Odin, who decreed that henceforth GPL shall stand for "Girl-vikings in Pink Longships" until they have made amends.
Our travels would lead us to Hirtshals in Northern Denmark where our galley would depart for Norway. After a six-hour trip, we arrived to find our ferry was delayed and would limp over to Norway with a three-hour delay. On a ship called "Fjord Faster" this makes you feel as if the Trickster already had a hand in it. We did arrive at our halfway point at the excellent Camp Apta near Farsund in the middle of the night.
This proved to be a blessing, as we did wake up to find out that we stayed at the end of a fjord in a landscape straight out of Lord of the Rings. Our further trip would lead us to Stavanger, where the modern Norway was founded by King Harold Fairhair. It also is the center of Norwegian oil industry and fjord cruises. After posing for a quick photo session at the most Viking monument ever (the famous knitting needles in the ground) in our typical UE modesty, we decided to head for a short walk to the Preikestolen rock. This cliff is a precipice where you are only a dick's length from a 2000ft vertical drop to certain doom. On the map this looked like a straightforward 2 mile walk and with the paintball game on the next day in mind, we decided to "take it easy". As it turned out, the 2 mile walk actually was a thousand feet uphill over the most gruesome rocky path with easily 2000 other hillwalkers trying to navigate it in parallel to us. After 2 hours of scrambling that got more jaw dropping by the minute, we did reach the most epic view over the Lysefjord 600m below.
A quick 90 min "easy walk" down the same rocky nightmare we did arrive at our car to find an invitation message from Erik to visit the paintball site and have a look before the game.
Erik, who was over the moon that we did make it to his game, did show us to the most challenging paintball ground we have ever seen – an ankle-deep bog with sheer rocks sticking out of the ground. While there were quite a lot of wooden barricades there was next to no cover. The site was commanded by the eponymous Rock, a 60x60x60ft boulder. The guidance was "You can play on it, through it or under it, if you want.. oh wait, the passage under it is under water right now, so maybe don't do that or you'll drown.". There was also a massive castle. A very proud Erik showed us the wooden behemoth we cunningly called Ragnar Lodbroks death trap. It is a two-story contraption with false walls, walkways, that end up in dead ends, and arrow slits. With intel, but no idea how to approach attacking a building like that, we decided to consider our options.
Anyway, our original plan was to camp on site, but no other players had arrived yet and there was a herd of cattle and probably some wolves somewhere in the nearby woods. We decided to move into an excellent wooden cabin at an abandoned theme park in the neighborhood.
Paintball took a nosedive in Norway during Corona, and because of this the game was reduced to one instead of two days. We did wake up to a gloomy and rainy day with little hopes of more than a few players turning up. We could not have been more wrong. When arriving at the site, there were a good 30 to 40 players already there. Those who were made up for a hundred. Erik did explain to us that they play with 300 fps in Norway so I tried to turn up my new EMEK as far as possible and promptly killed an o-ring in my ASA.
This is when we first noticed that:
- all Norwegians are fluent in English
- are the most talented knitters in europe
- are the most decent, friendly and helpful people that walk the earth
Immediately, the local players by the name of Sören and Hakon, the local sniping expert of Oltedal Paintball Team, offered their help. In the meantime, Jonathan, the boss of the local team Syndicate did have a chat with Gero and offered to take him into the game as a marshal and photographer. This was a shame as the rest of UE has planned to lock him in a radio control tower for the rest of his active career. Gero made his first return onto battlefield after his accident two years ago. He took our UE radio with him to eventually broadcast enemy positions and movements that of course were not used to any advantage.
The first two games were be a snatch and grab mission. Seven crates were to be liberated and transferred to the respective spawn points or transferred to the castle for double points. I joined Erik's home team, while the opposing team had a couple of excellent and experienced players but also a group of six noobs who started to realize what they had gotten themselves into. "Wait, this is a game with INTERNATIONAL players?".
Our spawn point was about 200m away from a gravel road that marks the center of the field and where most of the crates could be found. To reach them, you had to cross a boggy stream and climb over a ridge to even get a glimpse onto the road. As it turned out this was not much of a disadvantage, because we could use The Rock and a few excellent wooden barricades as cover. Well that, and the spawn point of the other team was in massive bog without any cover. While the Vikings charged forth and hopped over the bogs like Sleipnir, I ended up slipping in a bog and smashing my knee. Time for a slower approach.
For the first part of the game, I provided covering fire with Dennis, Erik's son, who at age 12 played an excellent game. We also helped carrying crates to our spawn with some fire and movement tactics. About 30 min into the game, we started to get the lay of the land and worked out which rocks or bogs were safe step in and in which not to.
The second game was a reverse of the first. While we had to start in the bog, we did have the advantage that our team could quickly control the area where most of the crates were located. The other team were allowed to place two players in a sniper tower next to the castle, though. This would give them the chance to score double points for every crate transferred to the castle and still win the game.
Erik suggested to split up the team. Half of us would try to get their hands on the crates, while the other half including me would sneak up the backside of the castle to deny the other team entry to it. As approached the castle it was already taken over by the other team and proved to be the death trap it looked like. When approaching, you would at best see one of the arrow slits open and a stream of paint flying at you. At 300 fps, everything within 300 ft was a killing zone. Three futile attempts later, we decided to focus on getting the crates and leave the castle be. As plenty of other players were holed up in the castle we managed to quickly control most of the field and drive the other team into their spawn with a number of excellent flanking manoeuvres by Erik, Hakon and me. With UE once again at the forefront, this game ended with a 2:0 lead for UE.
The next mission would be an assault on the castle with the other team including the noobs on the "easy" defense with the task to hold the castle for 30 min. They would be allowed one respawn in our backs at half time. By this time, the weather did clear up and the site presented itself at its best – with the epic scenery of Oltedal in the background. Erik's crew launched a massive amount of smoke and set off.
The biggest problem was to get to the castle in the first place. It was located on a rocky cliff site. Following Erik and Sören, we approached it from several sites, thinning out the defenders one by one. At some point during the game, an opening seemed to present itself and we managed to get to the castle walls. This was due to Erik, who snuck up a hill behind the castle and blasted two hoppers into the upper rank of the castle with auto fire – right over Gero's head, who did not notice he even was there!
Following another Oltedal player into the castle we got into a sneaky passage that allowed us to see through the wooden planks into the castle's yard where another enemy player was waiting in ambush position. We also scoped out a noob player standing on the upper rank right above me chatting to his friends. Just for the LOLs I did fire half my hopper into the ceiling leaving him with a fresh set of brown pants that day!
With four players, we managed to clear out one of the two courtyards of the castle but had to get into another one behind that to capture in order win the game. By that time, a small bird with a voice remarkable similar to Gero's did tell me that the other team was respawning in our backs. While concentrating on shooting the last enemy players, another player just 90 seconds later walked past us, turned around and called us out! It was probably the bravest guy on the other team who silently shot out every last one of our team mates and pulled off this stunt!
Walking back to the respawn point with little more than eight minutes to go, I met Erik, who was clearly unhappy to be sent off his real estate. Places around the table in Valhalla were available – and he made sure we would put our damn feet underneath it. Charging into the castle, we cleared the courtyard in UE fashion. With little more than a minute to spare we hacked the castle!
Leaving the field for lunch, we found out that the castle did fall in the last minute because the noob players did pack it in as the professionalism of Erik's crew and also our presence with the UE banner of demotivation scared them a bit. One game was skipped and new teams assigned, which did put me on the opposing team of Sören and on the same team with Hakon.
After lunch the event changed to a quick set of capture the flag style short games. These were pretty intense, with Sören and I trying to shoot each other out. A special mention goes to Hakon the sniper for suddenly appearing in a wooden building behind enemy lines, cheekily waving at us with a TPX and then shooting out other players one by one. As it turned out, his second superpower (after knitting) is that he actually built most of the side and thus knows every nook and cranny of it...
In the end, we had an amazing day of paintball on one of the most spectacular and challenging sites I have ever played on. While there were only 30 players due to relaunching after covid, it felt like 300 that day and at the end of it, everybody was friends. I could not stress enough how well we were received by the Oltedal crew and all the other players.
If not for the game or the landscape or all the other stuff around the trip – just visiting those people is enough of a reason to got to Oltedal again. If this game is played with 200 players, as it used to be a few years ago, it definitely belongs into the Big Leagues with all the games we normally go to. It is remeniscent of Paintugal. But with different gods. And with larger beer bottles. And much larger price tags.
In summary - this has great potential and we're looking forward to the next one.
During the lunch break and other downtimes, a lot of war stories were exchanged, friendships founded and Gero and me could explain to the Norwegians why we were there and that we wanted them to be part of the bigger paintball world. We did show them videos of NvS and UBG and quite a few eyebrows were raised. When the guys come for a visit we will repay them their kindness and hospitality!
With one of our missions completed and the good graces of Lord Odin, we set our sights on Oslo to visit our favorite girl vikings. While the Norwegians are better road builders than the dwarves of Moria, it still takes about a good day's trip to get from Stavanger to Oslo. With a pit stop half way, we made it into Oslo. It is a spectacularly beautiful city. Norway is a bit of an opposite approach to Eastern Germany: In contrast to the latter, where NOTHING works with a credit card, in Norway NOTHING works with cash.
We had to park in one of the winter sports resorts at the outskirts of the city then in order to buy a ticket for the public transport we hack our smart phones, then hack our respective banks, then after that the Russian hackers who were hacking the banks. All of this to make our way to the city center to link up with GPL.
Our hotel was right next to the Royal Palace and as it turns out, Jonas works there to bling up King Haakons gardens. GPL team captain Lars works in a hotel right next to that, so we decided to have a casual after work supper/pub crawl in downtown Oslo. There was much catching up to do, telling of war stories from times past and plenty of plans to be made. Corona did hit the viking's homeland hard, with plenty of paintball sites closing down and many of the GPL boys were only able to work part-time as rentboy demand really declined. Throw in the usual lockdowns and the recruitment problems we all experienced the situation is really dire in the land of knitting. Nevertheless, it was fantastic to see the guys again, and they really did appreciate our visit.
Many flagons of mead later, we were reminiscing about great battles at NvS and plans for the game that were foiled by Corona. A number of further flagons of mead later we left our Viking friends to return to their families but not without a promise that if not at one of the next NvS games, that they will show up at a future UBG.