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Event report from scenario Big Game – September 2020
Wednesday October 21, 2020


As soon as you drive to the Battlegrounds site, you can feel the special appeal of this playing field in Poland, just behind the German border. Over ancient cobblestones – which were probably already there when there were only horse-drawn carriages for locomotion – laboriously tarred forest paths, across the characteristic pine forest, you go, sometimes at walking speed, in the direction of the access control. It was specially built for the Scenario Big Game (SBG) this year. In Corona times everything is a little different and so we are greeted at the control without the usual firm handshake. Instead, an infrared thermometer is used to check for elevated temperature. Safety requirements, which are implemented excellently on site, immediately catch your eye. The conditions that have made the SBG24 (yes, already the 24th of its kind) possible are then very readily accepted.

Anyone who has never been to the Battleground with Bertl Wolowitz and Hartmut Schön in Poland will find it difficult to imagine how the ambience affects someone who arrives. First of all, a demilitarized artillery piece catches the eye of the visitor, marking the entrance to the site like a lonely guard. Behind, on a lush piece of lawn, the first players are already dozing in the sun. A large barracks building, two-storey with a basement, accommodates up to 150 players in multi-bed rooms and bunk beds on the first floor. When entering the building, the office, the shop, the material issue and the registration, as well as the company restaurant "SprengChemie" are a short walk away. Here the day begins with an extensive breakfast buffet for only 5 euros (!) and ends with pepper schnitzel or homemade burgers and one or two cold drinks to wash it down. The operators Michael and Mandy are always with the guests and fulfill every heart's desire. Of course, with around 1,000 players who are on site at the SBG and roaring hungry at the same time, even the most experienced kitchen crew will reach their limits. Therefore, there were several caterers especially for the event in the outdoor area who offered spring rolls, steak and sausage rolls, handmade coffee specialties and soft ice cream. The newly renovated washrooms and toilets are located in the basement of the building and offer sufficient space and comfort even at peak times. After a strenuous day of play with a number of kilometers on the clock, you're thankful for a hot shower – which is continuously guaranteed here, even when there's a big rush.

Outside the building, directly at the main entrance, is the air station with high-quality compressors so that the fun is always maintained. 200bar and 300bar filling stations are ready to supply the players with fresh air quickly and without long waiting times. If you drive past the main building, the Chronystation appears on the left-hand side. Permanently installed, with mobile targets and well lit, it is possible to record and zero in the markers 24 hours a day. Several players can enter the secured area at the same time and take care of their markers here. The campsite is seamlessly connected to the Chronystation. What used to be an almost impenetrable pine forest has now been a fully-fledged campsite, including free basic electricity supply, for some time now. Many volunteers felled countless trees before the event to ensure the arriving players maximum space. For each felled tree, the operator needed a permit and a new tree had to be planted elsewhere – you can imagine what a hassle that is. Various fresh water stations on site now offer additional services for mobile homes and self-sufficient campers. The atmosphere at the campsite is like a beehive. Countless people in camouflage clothing or in screamingly colorful jerseys scurry about, tournament markers and scenario knifing take turns. There is hustle and bustle everywhere, it seems like an invisible choreography to which everyone present is dancing. The atmosphere is characterized by loud music, people sit together who didn't know each other before, but all have the same quirk: paintball! Players from various nations tell their heroic stories from the field, with one or two cold drinks circulating and there is a relaxed atmosphere. If you can handle it a little louder, you can camp directly behind the main building in the direction of the railway tracks. A train rushes past here about twice a day, not without using its piercing signal horn. In addition to a newly installed sanitary container with showers and toilets, it is not far to the newly built festival site.

Here, an impressive stage made of sea containers towers over the entire event! The event technology, stage accessories and power supply are hidden in the containers. And it is in no way inferior to a normal event stage – lighting technology, sound technology, smoke screen – there is nothing that this monster does not have or cannot do. This level of technology has already proven itself, because live bands really got the guests going on tour on this stage on Friday and Saturday evening. Anyone who likes cultivated conversation on such an evening was not directly in the front row, because the loudspeakers and basses did what they were bought for – they rip. Bertl moderated from the stage as a solo entertainer through the program points and to ensure the right flair for the players, with the finest but rough humor and highly motivating contributions. After all, according to Bertl, we booked an “active holiday and not a wellness trip”. With his charming manner, he makes it very easy for newcomers who visit the field for the first time to feel at home and welcome. You don't have to be afraid of missing important announcements, because thanks to the strategically placed loudspeakers on the campsite, you can still hear when the next item on the program begins, what the schedule is and where the teams are at the start, even from the farthest corner . In addition, every player receives a player's package with a printed map and program when they register in the main building. However, experience has shown that it is an advantage to keep yourself informed via the loudspeaker. The trade show is located around the stage, in the so-called "Paintcamp", staged apocalyptically by original Hesco barriers, camouflage nets, event vehicles and razor wire fences. Here you can find everything a player's heart desires for the big events: clothing, markers, accessories, news, patches, merchandise and various free stuff that is the icing on the cake at such an event. Newly installed sea containers offer the exhibitors invaluable added value, since assembly and dismantling and damage caused by the obligatory rain, which tended to hit quickly and heavily, are completely eliminated here. A wooden staircase led to the roofs of the containers. This was a completely new experience this year: a priceless view of the crowd and the stage! Deckchairs and a mobile beer dispenser offered absolutely ingenious festival flair. In addition to numerous well-known exhibitors such as Paint-Xtreme/Magfed.de, PlanetEclipse/Paintball.de (represented by their unmistakable Butch, who helped various players to have fun by repairing non-playable markers at the last minute), PBmerch4Fun, Paintsupply, Patchwerk and the Paintball Channel , Thomas Liebner, owner and operator of Delicious Delight, also did the honors. With his mobile coffee station, he offered a successful change from the usual alcohol-heavy drinks. With his way of treating the customer standing in front of him as the most important person at the moment, he contributes to the feel-good factor. Not least because of the excellently brewed coffee specialties as well as small delicacies and soft ice cream. So much for the external circumstances and general conditions of this paintball festival, which can be called unique in Europe. Now let's get to the heart of the matter: the gameplay of the SBG. On an area of approx. 55 hectares, divided into 16 differently designed playing fields, which are combined to form a gigantic large playing field, almost 1000 players are spread out at SBG. In addition to the Biggame field, the slightly outside Magfed area has another 38 hectares of playing space, plus six side event fields, two of which are illuminated. A highlight is the CQB bunker, which has twelve illuminated and sound-capable rooms. The total area used during the event is a whopping 105 hectares!

Two factions fight for victory in the Main Event. Blue vs Red, Team Tactic (TT) vs Guerrillos United (GU). Fixed regulars stand next to new visitors, all looking the same when Bertl declares the games open. The team captains gather their men around them, final instructions are shouted, the crowd is heated up, even the last one has now understood that for the team, for achieving victory, it means: Always forward, never backwards! Even if that means damn long marches across country. The Marshal Crew is ready on the field. When entering the field, there is a partial chronograph to rule out hotguns, because the following applies everywhere: Safety First! The ladies and gentlemen of the Marshal Crew do a very good, if thankless, job. They provide information about what is happening in the game, if possible, clean up hits and sometimes hand out a handkerchief when the opponent complains about allegedly unfair practices. The signal siren sounds. 500 reds meet 500 blues, the air is filled with the sounds of battle, instructions, the whine of Firststrike and paint slamming into trees and enemies. The missions are always designed according to the event theme, this time it was about water after the apocalypse, based on "Mad Max Fury Road". Something needs to be found or stolen from someone, taken somewhere without being defected yourself. Water is pumped off, secured in water reservoirs and "detoxified". Game objects are exchanged for information, flags are hidden, searched for, found, repositioned – and in between, event vehicles drive.

Featuring: real armored vehicles, vintage jeeps, troop carriers, and there are mobile mock mortars and cannons that provide great fun on both sides of the game front. As a player, you are at best in the front line, urging your people to follow suit, launching a surprise attack on the enemy and, if the marshal has seen it, reap a card as a reward: "Medal of Honor" is on it. At the end of the day, the players highlighted in this way are awarded the "Medal of Honor" in front of the assembled team during the stage show. But before that happens, let's go into the realistic gameplay: You sit holed up behind a wooden barricade, alternately looking out to the left and right to keep the suspected opponent in check. At the same time, the paint flies around your head like fruit flies around dried fruit. It hails smoke grenades that obscure your view, and the engine noise of the event vehicles is everywhere. The next moment your people start attacking behind you and you can't help but sprint out of cover and join the runners – knowing full well that the enemy is prepared and paints you with paint. The gameplay goes straight through the ruins of buildings, past vehicle wrecks, up the sand hills affectionately known as “Tittenhills”, further through the fort secured by man-high spruce trunks and through the ditch system. Not a fiber of clothing and equipment remains dry, because in addition to exercise, the unmerciful temperatures in the sandy pine forest ensure that the sweat runs down the body in streams. Arrived at the destination of your mission, you no longer know whether you are male or female, the only thing that counts: did we rock and successfully complete the mission or do we have to go full throttle again in the last few minutes? While the GU defends itself against the TT, the Magfed Big Game takes place outside the large playing field on the “Sprengchemie” site. What was initially launched a few years ago as an additional goodie for the Magfed community has blossomed over time into an independent event alongside the event. Here three factions play against each other: Team Red, Team Yellow, Team Blackwater. The latter have the actual task of intervening as a troublemaker in the game and alternately supporting the weaker-looking faction. This causes some confusion and funny moments, when the just friendly Blackwater troops suddenly stand in front of you with markers at the ready and you didn't even notice that the wind had shifted. In the Magfedgame, the terrain is more urban, thanks to numerous building complexes, ruined bunkers and crumbling covers. It smells woody and sandy, the soft moss under your boots cushions every step and when the sun is beating down, you long for an ice-cold drink after walking 15 kilometers at the latest. You sneak around the buildings as silently as possible, always trying not to crack any telltale branch under your own weight and thus give away your position. It's good if you can sneak up silently and almost hear your opponent's breath. Stupid when the spark goes off at exactly that moment and the colleague asks for support because "he's standing here behind the tree, on this building, where the roof is so overgrown…". There are also such moments, and these moments make the experience something special, because you realize that we are all just playing here.

The team spirit arises in the first few minutes of these scenes on the field – something that characterizes the SBG: You don't have a permanent team of your own yet? Nobody here knows you yet? You don't have a plan for all the shooting, but have a lot of fun with it? No problem – there's always a connection and it's easy to find one. Another reason why the SBG is becoming increasingly popular: nobody is excluded, everyone has the same goal here: to have maximum fun on and off the field. It's getting dark in the green hell of Brozek. The right time to perform the traditional night game. Whether "Zombie Game", "Last Man Standing" or "Capture the Flag" – each game mode is feasible and designed according to the wishes of the player. The two illuminated fields near the road also make it easy for the spectators to stand at the edge with a cool Tyskie and watch what reserves the tireless people can still conjure up after a strenuous game day. At the end of the day, after a grandiose stage show by bands, Bertl and everyone involved, the entire player community celebrates victory as well as defeat, the event, life and themselves. The most epic heroic stories are spun, expanded, rewritten and retold. New legends are born and old ones celebrated.

That – and only THAT! – is the true core of the unique Scenario Big Game!

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