War Report: Two-Day Event

This was quite probably the most unique event HBWW has hosted. The event spans two days and I even got a video of it which I never finished editing. (But will post immediately once it’s done.)

:: Map ::

:: Report in a Nutshell ::
> Games Played <
Day 1: 2-Tier Assault, 1HK elimination
Day 2: 1HK elimination, 2-flag CTF
Water Weaponry: Everything except WBL’s

:: Intro ::
Every once in a while, HBWW will do something to shift the way our water wars are done, and this particular event represents quite a few differences from what we typically do. The main change here is my insistence on getting in war footage, so I got a webcam that I sat inside on a window and bagged up my $200+ digital camera to take footage on the field. No group pictures or anything were taken, but quite a few good skirmishes were captured. At an earlier event this year, I also hooked up a computer and monitor and displayed a map to the backyard door for convenience, which I did again for this event.

:: Day 1 ::
6/26/2011, 14:00-18:00 (official event time), 4 players, HBWW standard neighborhood area.

Our base setup is pretty typical; I have homemades and WBL’s crowded in one place and stock blasters nearby. Following is a manifest of the equipment I brought out:

Blasters and Equipment:
CPS: (3) splashzooka, 10k, 12k yellow, 12k silver, 2000, 2100, 2500, 2700, 4100
WW: Orca, Tiger Shark, Vindicator
Max-D: 2000, (2) 3000, 6000 (+1 6000 brought by participant), XP 270, SC 400, Flash Flood, Oozinator, S750
CPH, P312, P323 (WBL’s)
(2) VHS
Blast Shield (sled), Large Bubble-Wrap, Large Blue Tarp (all legal shields but were not used on Day 1)
and lots of .5L bottles, water containers, water balloon holding canisters, etc.

Today, the VHS setup was slightly different than before. To fill the Splashzookas and SC 400, a small adapter is needed, but a QFD can also be attached directly. However, the QFD approach had problems later with sealing.

3 other participants showed up and we played 2v2 games for the most part as no one wanted to play FFA. I loaded up with my yellow 12k and MD2k, and grabbed a water bottle or two but rarely, if ever, used it. We started off with a 2-phase assault game. The objective of the first phase was to fill up two apple juice containers with water using any means necessary, with one container placed on the north side of Lone Pine and another placed to the west side (garage doors) of HQ. The assault team would loose if they ran out of water before achieving all objectives. Assault team spawns outside the base at Pines South, and defense spawns at the base. (Back area of HQ) The second phase was 1-flag CTF where the attacking team takes over the base defense was operating at first phase, and the defending team falls back to the front of the house. The flag was located at Island, and the attacking team would operate on a time limit to capture it.

Surely enough, the game did not go according to plan, mostly since the rules were not made all that clear, and that no one has actually tried playing it. Also, we were constantly having to restart the game to fine-tune the rules. In particular, I found that instant spawning does NOT work well for defense, only for attackers. There were issues with instant spawn points acting as invincible zones that were placed in range of the objectives. Needless to day, I was not thinking very carefully when positioning them.

The games themselves however, were still fun. Many intense fights occured, with shots being exchanged between trees. Most of the fights took place along the tree group containing the Fruit Trees as well as between 5-bush.

That said, a lot of confusion happened as to the state of the objectives and how filled they were, and in the end the flag was captured without even switching phases. There were also consistency issues with hit rules, which were too vaguely defined. The best example of this is when I ran by one of our objectives where both attackers were filling up. I shot both but both said it wasn’t a kill. However, we later resolved this issue and it was not present on the second day nor in later games on the first day.

The verdict: Keep the phases together, keep defense at the same spawn point set between phases, keep defense on a spawn-interval basis, and make clear the need to declare an objective as captured. Also look into allowing defense to steal/empty objectives before they are filled up. Also, leave hit rules to allow for lesser amounts of water to make a kill.

We continued trying this game out for a while. Sometime along, we fill up several water balloons, some for defense and some for offense. The whole process of everything combined: water balloon fillings, rule adjustments, confusion, etc. was so drawn out that we never switched sides for attack and defense.

One of the most memorable moments was when I was behind a pine tree while the two attackers were near their spawn. I took out a water balloon and was thinking about how to throw it, then I quickly tossed it and fired off the 12k immediately after. The target player tried to catch it but missed, and during that time was shot up. Point taken: water balloons are still useful and work excellently as a multi-tier distraction/attack. The engagements that took place along 5-bush were less successful for me.

Other engagements took place in the open, right at the back of HQ. One of them was where both teams attacked in the open, firing shots and tossing balloons, with neither side able to get a kill on the other.

We did eventually switch teams around and then played elimination, which used up much more space on the map resulting in many of the fights happening off-camera. Most of these rounds happened cleanly with little or no problems.

The weather varied slightly during the game, with ever changing wind patterns and going from cloudy to sunny. Nothing dramatic, like rain nor strong winds, happened though. Equipment worked well and was in good condition for the day as well.

Afterwards, we all agreed that we should run a Day 2 to try to get more people to attend.

:: Day 2 ::
6/27/2011, 14:00-18:00 (official event time), 9 players, HBWW standard neighborhood area.

At first, Day 2 was looking to be pretty bleak, being stuck with 2v2 and up to 3v3 again. Out of the 34 I invited, few RSVP’d as attending. 4 RSVP’d to the Facebook event and 2 others said (via chat) that they’d attend, with one of those chatters dropping out at the last minute. Another friend who attended yesterday also dropped out, and things were looking to be an absolute mess.

To my surprise, it was quite the opposite. A friend who attended yesterday brought along 3 of his friends over, and at least 2-3 unexpecteds showed up. We ended up with 9 players and eventually splitting off into 5v4.

Before we did that however, it was time for some shenanigsns with the water balloon launcher. The guy who brought his friends over insisted that we fired off some more balloons so we did. Some even volunteered to be human test targets, which had ridiculous and hilarious consequences. No one was seriously injured though.

Later on we made two attempts to start off a game with the 5 or so of us, but then the last participants started showing up just after the games began. We cancelled that and filled up, then finally got started.

We played several elimination rounds which again, took place all over the playing area. However, the starting points took place with one between Lone Pine and Bush Line, and the other on HQ’s driveway. Regardless, a lot of fights happened around the Church near Pines North, Tall Trees North, and even to the Front of the Church. I used a variety of different water blasters today. I started off with my CPH and then later decided to go super-light and switched to the 270. It was unfortunate that it still leaked from the cap, or I would’ve used the Tiger Shark or MD6k that time.

My most memorable moment amist our games happened at the east end of the Church. I ran up to the corner of the back wall and peeked around down the east wall and to the front. The same guy I got with the water balloon combo attack yesterday was stationed around the outer wall and dealing with targets at the front of the Church. I patiently stayed behind the wall, watching him closely and waited for the moment when he’d run out of there. At one point, I thought he saw me, but this was not the case, so I stayed where I was. Finally, he runs out to the front of the Church, and I dashed as quickly as I could across the east side of the Church and hid behind the corner of the way. When my nemesis finally required, I blasted him in the back with the 270 which was a huge surprise for him as well as for his teammate, who was just outside away from the wall to the north of Tall Trees North. Unfortunately, I did not expect him and was not able to make a kill. (He had a 12k or something, so there was no way I’d get in range to make a kill safely with a 270.) I continued hiding behind the wall, but another opponent closed in from just slightly to the south. They had me cornered and I had nowhere to run, so I eventually dashed out from behind the wall, across the front of the Church, and ran all the way to Pines North to regroup. We went out of the southwest side of the Church, and there was an opponent lying prone in the middle-west of the ditch just where the terrain started to level off. He had a 2000 but was a sitting duck, so our team moved around to engage. Unfortunately, I got too close and was shot with several large droplets to the face without getting a kill, but the rest of the team finished him off. The rest of the match was mostly a stalemate and very little occurred. I can’t even remember exactly how it ended.

Later, I switched back to the CPH, and we switch to CTF (1HK infinite lives, 30-second interval respawn; front side spawns at HQ’s front door and back side at HQ’s back door) with one base at the back of HQ and another at the front, setup where the VHS’s were. The flag for the backside was located at a tree stump just slightly to the west of Lone Pine. The flag for the frontside was located at the very center of the 2-tree Island. My team was stationed at the front and the opposing team at the back. Sometime along, the bladder on my CPH shot off while I was at the east end of HQ, which happened during the game so I had to make a run for the nearest blaster around; a 4100 sitting on the grass on the east side of Lone Pine. I got shot out after I grabbed it though, but it was worth having an extra blaster around. Overall, the game was fun but there were some messy issues. No one declared when they picked up the flag or dropped it, and eventually both flags disappeared. Supposedly, we scored in the end though, but I can’t remember it clearly. I do remember however, one of my teammates capturing the back hose and driving out the opposing team to their spawns.

The second round was more interesting, as the opposing team complained about balance; they had one less player and were getting absolutely creamed. They proposed that their flag be moved all the way to the back of the Church, which they placed on top of a plastic storage box which can be barely seen on the map. (It appears just to the west of the L-shaped concrete pathway with the two grills, as a small grey square placed directly with its back to the building’s south wall.)

We agreed to this proposal, and their defeat was just as humiliating as the first, though took a bit more effort. I used more different blasters this round than I did before, but used the 2500 for the most park. My teammate who captured the hose the first time did so again, but we lost control of it after we were shot out by the opposing team waiting to spawn. Spawn camping is not all that easy because it is not clear when the player is in which allows them to fire at you. However, we eventually regained control of the back side again. Our defending players (2 out of our team of 5) did not have any issues either but despite that, we left them with a hose and a CPS while we attacked.

There were two incidents when I attacked those who guarded the flag, both of which failed. One of the guards was carring a 2000 while I was using a 2500, making things tricky. However, eventually they were eliminated and I made a dash for the flag, carrying it all the way down to Fruit Trees, the driveway, and to our flag at Island. Another glorious flag scoring was made.

We were pretty much done at this point, and most people left except for two others, so we did several rounds of 3-player FFA elimination. The three Splashzookas were great for this, so we each grabbed one and declared no-refilling between the first few rounds. All other blasters and both hoses were off limits, and we strictly limited the playing area. The limits however, were too strict and we ended up expanding to allow the front of the house instead of just the backyard. The fights were fast and intense, and most rounds were finished in a few minutes, some in seconds. Spawn points were scattered around the playing area and were alternated between players.

At one point, I nearly went prone and crawled quietly near the foliage on the east side of HQ. I saw someone approach behind me through the foliage but was not sure if he saw me, and I was caught in a small area worried that someone would be ahead. I mis-judged the opponent’s distance, and as I was going to make a break for the backyard, he charged up and eliminated me.

Day 2 was a lot more lively and fun than Day 1, but unfortunately, we ran into several equipment issues during Day 2, some caused by bad luck and others caused by carelessness.

CPH: Bladder detatched, may need to trim LRT. On the plus side, the bladder seems to be fully intact.
2700: Trigger repair broke. Also needs a K-mod.
12k (silver): Pump handle broke off.
XP 270: Cap leak.
Vindicator: Stiff trigger. Seems to be fine now, but lubrication would be a good idea.

There’s also a red S750 and yellow/green MD2k that had problems from before, both of which went through numerous attempts to be fixed with epoxy, but such fixes never lasted. These blasters were brought out to the war, but were not listed above and were not used after Day 1.

Clean up was a real pain as well. In particular, the long hose at the front was improperly wrapped up after Day 1, so I had to spend 45 minutes untangling it. This also caused a problem for us during the CTF game, where the hose would not extend far enough for us to attack the back of HQ with it. After the hose was wrapped up, clean-up went more smoothly than before thanks to experience from previous wars.

Nonetheless, the two days were eventful, well run, well played, and a lot of fun for everyone. (Especially everyone else who doesn’t have to clean up nor repair all that equipment, haha.) Not sure what our plans are for next time, but it’ll be interesting. One of my neighbor-friends who lives at the house designated as Base-T returns from a trip soon, in just over a week, and we may organize our 2-base wars again sometime after he returns.

I collected video footage for both days, with a webcam setup indoors to record 3 hours of footage and with a digital camera I used to record during elimination games. Both days gathered up about 3 hours of footage to clean up and edit, and it will be available when I’m done with it.

:: Conclusion ::
Strongly encouraging friends to invite their friends helps a lot, and may help solve attendance issues. Games need to be much better thought out and need better ways to explain their rules. Most gametypes need to be setup on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the number of players and the location being played, as well as consider the range of water weaponry seriously before placing down objectives. Also, the faster and more seamless a multi-phase game can be played, the better. Switching spawn points, if necessary, needs to be done quickly and as seamlessly as possible. Most important is to be flexible and allow players to make decisions/amendments to rules when things don’t go as planned. This was a strong point for us on both days to avoid excessively rigid gameplay and to avoid frustrating players. However, we also need to require players to loudly declare when they make changes to the state of an objective.

The CPH worked surprisingly well while it lasted. Needs a bit more power to the stream at times, particularly when windy, but it worked well overall and I got some kills with it. The new pump I made from last time still works fairly well, and the PC case holds up. This is the first time I’ve used a homemade extensively in a water war without problems, and the bladder shot-off was mostly the result of having never tightened the clamps in a long time.

War Report: Season Starter Skirmish (2011)

This is the first war of 2011; went quite well and new games were experimented with.

Location: Troy, MI

Attendance: 3-4 Players

Games played:
> 1-flag CTF
> 1-target Soakn’ Dunk
> 1HK elimination
> Soakfest
> Epic WBL target practice

I was in a real rush after I woke up again; had to setup the base and move all the water guns downstairs and out the backyard. This time I also hooked up a computer by a window to show the official 2011 HBWW game map and hooked up another computer to blast music, with a stereo system’s speakers pointed at an open window. However, I later decided against this and shut the windows to avoid accidents. The day before, I was scrambling to get water guns repaired and to make the new pump work. So far, no problems, but the CPH was not cooperating; the pump kept bouncing (air trapped between pump seal and water, happens all the time for backpack based blasters) which was incredibly annoying, and I stopped using it eventually.

Only one of my friends showed up first and it took about 1 and a half hours for #2 to show up. After that we did some FFA skirmishes; 1HK elimination and attempted a few single-sided games where one player takes turns defending, but nothing worked out so I didn’t bother anymore. We did another elimination round and broke off into a soakfest.

After that we moved to target practice. We shot about 10-20 balloons from the PWN323MB and PWN312BS. One of the shots was targeted for the playground (see map). I fired at 40 PSI but it went much farther than I expected and nearly hit Base-T. It landed on the patio of the house and was less than a foot from hitting the wall.

We did a next series of shots with targets spaced out after. Very difficult to hit and we didn’t get even close to many of them. The launchers generally performed surprisingly well today, and many shots tended to go too far instead of too short. We also only had one in 10 balloons or less burst before exiting the barrel. There were only one or two shots that failed today. Performance decreased as the sabots for the 312 wore out, and some shots curved pretty badly as a result. We also fired two shotgunned shots, w/ four balloons each stacked up. Amazing stuff, despite being very inaccurate. Sometime along, one of the shots I fired hit the back wall of the church flat on, and afterwards, someone else fired a shot that well directly over the church.

After that, I took a last shot at the driveway of HQ and fired a balloon to the park (way off-map) which was about 400-500ft away. I don’t know how far it went into the park, but I know there were people playing baseball there who would’ve seen the shot land, which we never found. After that, someone else arrived and we did some 2v2 games. We didn’t do 1HK elimination but we went directly to assault/defend games. We tried 1-flag CTF at first but switched to single-sided Soakn’ Dunk.

Soakn’ Dunk is really just a variant Soakn’ Destroy with a completely new type of objective we invented on the spot: the Ball and Container objective. Earlier, someone wanted to fire a tennis ball from the 323 so we did just that, and the ball was later used as part of the objective for the game we played.

Here’s how the Ball and Container worked: We had a medium-large sized cooler and to score, one has to open the cooler and get the ball inside. Once opened, the cooler may not be closed again by the defending team, and when hit, the person carrying the ball may choose to leave the ball in the area (which defense, again, cannot touch), or may choose to bring it back and try to toss it into the cooler. Time limit per round was 2:30 at first but was moved to 3:30 later. Since I only had two watches, we had one Wait Spawn Point for defense at the base near the cooler, with a spawning interval of 10 seconds. Assault got an Instant Spawn Point well outside the base slightly to the northwest of the fruit trees area. (No mines were placed so ignore those.)

This was a tricky game that needs some fine-tuning. We allowed defense to use one hose and consequentially, no one was able to score. Also, the pressure in the 10k got stuck yet again and I had to unscrew it and pull the valve manually afterwards. I will eventually make a better solution for that as several other water guns need it too. In addition, the trigger for the 2500 somehow broke again, which I’ll also have to take care of as it’s not even mine.

Didn’t do much after the war, just hung around. As usual, no pictures; I already have too much to worry about without having to get a camera out and about.

To do:
– Write-up on new pump solution, and perhaps see how long it’ll last.
– Add Ball and Cooler objective and specify games.
– Fix crap.
– Strange new idea: Basketball and Net objective; a merger of two sports!
– Fix more crap.
– Expand further on games that are friendly to 3, 4, and 5 players.
– Did I mention, fix crap?

Will repost this to other places later, depending how busy/lazy I am.

Edit: Dunk n’ Destroy renamed to Soakn’ Dunk.

Edit: More details:

Skirmish Elimination: First match we did, hoses were only allowed for refilling. Game was 3-player FFA. For the most part, I ran across the battlefield for a good portion of the game in trying to avoid being targeted so that the other 2 players would eliminate one or both of each other. This worked out initially, as I spawned to the north of Fruit Trees and just south of Pines. After a lot of running about, I met up with one of the players and exchanged a few far-ranged shots intended to keep distance. Later, I charged all the way to the Front of Base-T to loose him, before the other player took him out. After that, I lost the last engagement w/ the remaining player, which took place to the north of the Playground and close to the Tall Trees. Anyway, I used a CPS 2k with MD2k sidearm.

Skirmish Elimination (Hoses Allowed): Allowing hoses didn’t change too much, except for when I made an ill-timed charge to shut off one of them and got hit before it happened. A similar incident happened later in Soakn’ Dunk, but I successfully shut down the hose the moment I was hit. Before that, I also ran about the area and tried to stay hidden while observing the action, but later someone charged me so I ran out from the Bush Line (where I started that round) and ran from south between the two off-limits houses and my demise took place at HQ’s Front hose instead of near Base-T. For this round, I used a 12k and Flash Flood instead of the 2k. I dropped the FF at one point after firing off a shot and got it quite messy.

After this, we broke off into a soakfest. Nothing unusual, just people running around with hoses, and me running around with my 12k and a shield.

In the middle of all this, we attempted a different single-sided soakfest game. One player gets all the guns and both hoses, and the other two have 30 seconds to try to score a hit using water containers only. I said water bottles only, but I was hit quickly with a water balloon canister (large drink cup w/ hook for putting on a belt) shortly after the round started. The idea was to alternate defending players, but I quickly gave up on this game, and the 4th player joined us anyway while we were shooting water balloons.

1-flag CTF: Spawn rules needed adjustment and made this game extensively difficult for the attacking team. After the first round where neither team scored, I adjusted the rules and changed the objective to the Ball and Cooler.

Soakn’ Dunk: 2v2. Initially, we gave defense a 15-second spawning time. They lost miserably since they didn’t use the one hose they were allowed to until I made note of it later, and we reduced their spawn time to 10 seconds. The main difference however, is that they made use of their hose, which neither team could score against while attacking. At one point, I shut the hose off, but it got re-activated later. At another point, I was suppressed behind one of the tall bushes as the hose rained down, and to my dismay, I was stuck there as my 12k shots could not get a kill. The hose guy couldn’t and didn’t get me either, based on the rules we went with. However, when it was our turn to defend, I switched places with same guy I was dealing with in the previous round; I was at the hose and he was behind the bush. However, that time, I charged after him (he wasn’t carrying anything with decent range) and drove him out. I’d say we did a bit better attacking than the other team, as my teammate managed to get the Cooler open, but it fell shut again as he did the job in haste.

Overall, a fairly fun small event but as happens too often, I couldn’t get enough people to attend so we did what we could. General rule of thumb is to expect no more than 1/3 of those you invite to show up, but in this case 1/5 or less is a much more accurate figure. Also, if you schedule a war at 2:00pm, be prepared for most of those who would actually show up to show up after 3:00 or 4:00. Extremely annoying, but nothing unusual.