War Report: Operation Soaking Thunder

The report resides in a post on iSoaker yet again, telling of another story of what happens when wars aren’t organized properly; when the wrong people are invited and when the game rules are not set intuitively. After some games in 2010 and 2011, I’ve come to realize that the problem also partially had to with how I tried to run the games, not just with the one person I invited.


War Report: 2009 Season Opener

This was a fairly typical war from 2009. It went quite well.

Quick Ratings:

Attendance: ***
6 of 12 of those who said they’d come came.

Gameplay Quality: *****
Many new games worked out well in a small group. Particuarly notable is zombies. Games ran well and were fun to play

Variety of Games: *****
Zombies, assault, team and FFA elimination games.

Player Behavior: *****
Players were very helpful and cooperative. (wow, I sound like a teacher now)

Pre-Planning: ****
Planning was not perfect; lots of stuff was taken out in anticipation of more players, making for very tedious cleanup.

Weather: ****
Sunny, occasional clouds, 86°-93° F
One person got sunburned. The only relief from the sun was to get blasted.

Armory/available blasters + Equipment:
CPS 1000, (2) 1200, 2000, 2100 (whose trigger broke again pretty soon), 2500, 2700, 4100
Max-D 2000, (2) 3000, 5000, 6000
XP 70 (new)
SC 400
WW Tiger Shark, WW Orca
(1, then 3) Flash Flood, Oozinator
CPH (Constant Pressure Homemade)
Douchenator WBL (Water Balloon Launcher, never used in war due to lack of players)
Assortment of off-brand piston pump and squirt guns
Assortment of water bottles – .5L and 2L
Water balloons (which were never used except to shoot from the launcher for fun)

Personal Notes: Flexibility is king; gametypes must adapt if fewer than expected number of players show up, spawn points are hardly ever as planned, etc. Don’t be afraid to think of new gametypes while playing, but don’t expect them to be terribly well-refined. And get a freaking case on that CPH’s pressure tubes!

In the morning: Pre-war

I woke up at 09:0, which is earlier than usual. I immediately got down to eat, then went to setup at around 10:00. The directions were posted to direct all guests to the backyard and avoid the new grass growing, and hoses were dragged out to the backyard on the pavement. The 3 B’s of our water wars: Blasters, Balloons, and Bottles, were dragged downstairs from my room and outside. The pavement provided relief from excessive dirt that comes up when guns are sitting around. Things were going smoothly until I had a little issue.

For those who don’t know, I built a specialized hose attachment for filling super chargers, regular blasters, and shooting. All 3 functions are able to be switched around just by flipping valves. Specifically, this.
The nipple that goes from the main valve to the nozzle was metal. Recently, I switched out some parts so that the whole system was T-shaped instead of being a single line, so the flow from the hose to the nozzle is direct, and so it’s easier to fill SC’s. I replaced the metal nipples with PVC ones, but their manufacturing was not of the highest quality, meaning my nozzles couldn’t tighten onto their threads properly. (the nozzles had no problems with other male NPT threads) So I go to shoot it and the pressure release was very sudden and blew off the nozzle. It landed on top of a pine tree and I couldn’t reach it so I wanted to blast it off. I took the other hose, with which I was sure that the nozzle was securely fastened, and again, the nozzle blows off into the tree. Pissed off, I go inside and retrieve a 2-3ft piece of CPVC, and back out. I recover the first nozzle and spent 30 minutes in the burning sun searching for the other one. (I haven’t found it yet) Finally, I put the nozzle I found back inside and replace the hoses’ nozzles with drilled endcaps. (which stayed on pretty well) I was planning on switching the connection back to the metal nipples, but won’t do it until I find the missing nozzle.

Pissed, tired, and sweating, I moved on and prepared everything else I needed to. The back door became the way to access stuff like drinking water, a pair of pliers, and even my cell phone. The step under the door was my seat. Later, I spent maybe 10 or 20 minutes setting up mines: the classic water bottle mines with 2 drilled holes and concealed with grass ripped out of the ground. They’re not terribly useful, but sure are amusing to surprise people with.

Afternoon: 13:00

The first 3 people arrive rather quickly and fairly on time. Jerry, Matt, and Frank came and hung around in the back while we waited for other people. Perhaps 10 minutes later, I start calling them. Perhaps 3 or 4 don’t answer or say they’re not coming, while 3 or 4 others said they’d show up later. (only 2 of them did) Faisal came and we started a light weapons only FFA elimination game consisting of 2 rounds with all of us 5. At first, I moved slowing from tree to tree, dual wielding a pair of Max-D 3000’s and with a Max-D 2000 in my pocket. Most of the shots I fired were to keep people away, but the elimination process was going through quickly. I was almost eliminated one time, hit with a few droplets. I managed to retreat while the others eliminated each other. Then Faisal comes out, firing a long shot from his Max-D 6000 that completely missed as I pulse-fired my 3000’s at him. On the second round, I ran all the way along a long (but stealthy) route to the other base to attack from there. It was useless, only giving people time to eliminate each other, and wasted a lot of energy. I got back to the base and got to the pine tree before anyone knew I was there. Only Faisal was alive, and was looking for me. He notices me behind the tree and I end up guarding both sides of the tree w/ each gun. end up in the same position as before; me and Faisal ready to attack each other. This time, the reverse happens: I miss most of my pulses and he unloads a full shot at me. The light weapons only rule put an interesting twist on the fight, allowing for faster action, dual wielding antics, and all sorts of fun. (and no hose whoring)

After these 2 rounds, we went into teams. Me and Faisal vs. Jerry, Frank, and Matt. Base to base. Our new kill rules were almost implied without actually saying them. If you’re hit with just a few droplets the first time, you can get away. The next few droplets and you’re out. (which will now become our standard kill rule since our combat always creates a clear distinction between a few droplets and a good shot. This time, me and Faisal take the initiative rather than the funny camp n’ ambush plan I was thinking of. We move up along the line of trees while the other team does the same. Unfortunately, some people spotted me as I moved up ahead while they were still far away. It ended up in a few cat-mouse chases – someone always had to focus on one player but be wary of another one who may charge in. Here, I got some kills off 2 people who came too close. On one of them, Matt was close to the line of bushes, in range to attack. We fired at each other at roughly the same time, then I dodge into the tree. (dodging into cover works very well in Nerf) Matt did not dodge the other one. Later, I went back and apparently Faisal was eliminated by Jerry. We exchanged tap shots while I hid through the trees and Jerry was in the open. Eventually, I got a good shot in and won. On the next round, it was the same process of attacking through the trees but went much faster. Faisal eliminated the majority of the team this time, then ran out from behind a bush. I fired at someone at the other team who was already eliminated, then accidently shot at Faisal, but the round already ended.

Next up was CTF soakfest. I could not answer the question of how to wrestle over the flag, which was asked about a dozen times (we should’ve done respawn instead since there weren’t a lot of people, just 2v3 like before), but we go ahead and play. The rule here is simple: if you’re hit, drop the flag if you’re carrying it. I stated no rules on any other actions with the flag. Starting off, I told Faisal to go for it while I held off Jerry. I tease him with a few shots but he doesn’t fire back, just waits patiently for something to get my attention. He wouldn’t even try to run around and go for it. Later, Faisal comes back from having trouble getting the flag. I told him to watch Jerry (which he does for long enough) as I went in to get the flag. Matt and Frank were defending it, but I managed to grab it and get it a few feet before getting shot. I fired back to keep them out a bit, then, while they weren’t shooting, I kicked the flag forewards again and again. It took some time, but I eventually managed to grab it and run halfway across the field before getting hit by Jerry. I kicked it some more, passed it to Faisal, then drove Jerry off. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out so well since Faisal wasn’t sure where to score, then I stated that he’d need both flags. However, it was too late, Jerry already took the flag out as we return to the base to capture, so we ended up with a simple flag switch. Rather than finishing the game, we ended it there, and won since we got the flag sooner.

After this, we take a small break and shoot off some water balloons from the Douchenator. We tried to shoot one to Boulan Park but I couldn’t get it to happen; at 60 PSI, 1 balloon, and 45°, it only went out about 200ft or so. After this, Frank leaves.

Later on, Eddie arrives, bringing his little brother, Kenny. They brought a pair of Flash Floods along. We filled and got ready, then started 2 rounds of the most epic game of the war: Zombies. On the first round, Faisal was the alpha (first) zombie. The humans were to gather in the base, armed as much as possible with 2 hoses and CPS’s, while the alpha zombie merely gets the ooze function of the Oozinator and has to move out of the area. It was rather funny watching people trying to fill up the Oozinator, only to find that they couldn’t pump because I removed the cap. (some of those cap stoppers can be slipped out, so I did that and left the cap inside. We started and not too long after, Matt becomes infected. Me, Eddie, and others start backing out of the base, going more mobile and running around. Eventually, I manage to get away and run to the front of the church. (which is behind the church from the base) Later, I saw Eddie there, startled a bit that it was another zombie. He was hiding there and waited for the others to pursue. The others had already been infected and only Eddie and I were still human. He waits in the area too long as I cowardly run away. I ran all the way to Frank’s house, ignoring the fact that my new sandals were rubbing the skin on my foot right off and hurting it like hell. I finally make it and hide there for a long time. Eventually, I hear people calling out for me, stating that I won and that the round was over. I stay there anyway, hoping they’d pursue and try to attack. They don’t, so I return to the base.

The next round was longer and more difficult. As the survivor of the last round, I was the alpha for this one. I made little effort to avoid getting shot at, since it was 92° out anyways. However, everyone stayed put in the base and seldom strayed from the safety of the 2 hoses. I was constantly getting hit with the house this round, from the few droplets while in cover, to full face shots while charging through. I could’ve tripped over all the equipment all over the place as well but safely made it through. My glasses really saved my eyes from the wrath of the hoses, but didn’t stop the blinding effect when water fills them up. This threw off my shots somewhat, and I belive the hose users were also dodging them. Finally, I charge at Matt and turn him into a zombie. Later, we got Jerry, but had trouble getting Eddie and Faisal. We must’ve made at least 5 or 6 charges into the base only to get hosed in the face again and again, and then I tried to organize the charges. I tried to have Matt and Jerry divert fire from Faisal, then I’d charge in and attack. Even this did not work, since Eddie would take care of the 2 and Faisal would hose me down. On one charge, I grabbed a barricade as a shield to protect from the hose, and still couldn’t hit Eddie. I fired so many shots that I ran out and had to pick up a 2L on one of the charges. (which I favored over the piston guns at the moment, plus it was easier to grab) There was one problem though; I needed to fill up the bottle. This was the turning point, where I moved to the front of the house. The 2 hoses in the backyard were connected with one to the back and one to the front, so I turn off and disconnect the front and filled up my 2L. Eddie comes by, disappointed that I’d do such a dishonorable thing, and I prepare to attack with the 2L. He grabs the 2700 and holds me back as I charge in, then Matt and Jerry took care of him. Next was Faisal. With only one hose, the breakout could not be contained and I end up getting the shot that turned him to zombie. Nex t, I go to the back to fill up the 2L again, while working with the hose. I reconnected it and dragged the nozzle back to where it was. By the time I was done, every other zombie had already gotten Kenny, who apparently ran away to the front of the church as we attacked the base.

The last game we played was assault. After a somewhat long break, when Jerry had to leave, I finally come up with a game idea for it. We would start the game as part of the typical assault plant-the-bomb game. When the round starts, the bomb is already in place with a 2-minute timer going off. The offense has to diffuse it while the defense has to protect it for the time limit. While the time limit was a bit too long (3 minutes, then 2), it was a fairly interesting game. The bomb was the Oozinator’s canister, placed next to the Douchenator and CPS 2000. To diffuse, one has to touch the bomb and count 1 super soaker… to 5 super soaker. When diffused, the attacking team wins. In every game, the bomb was diffused, though I almost stopped one by 2 seconds. The spawn points were one about 60 ft from the bomb for the defense and about 200ft for assault. Respawning made for an interesting element in here.

Cleanup was a pain. I had to make at least 3 trips in and out of the house for each set of items: guns, tons of bottles, buckets, etc. I also had to wrap up the hoses, put the barricades away, the launcher and equipment, etc. The 2100 also broke, but was already pumped up so I had to open it up to shoot it out. Everything took at least 3 hours but was well worth it.


Battlefield Pictures: