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The United Big Game
Sunday September 25, 2022


As one of the participants said so beautifully on site – "Father's Day is Mahlwinkel time" and so we are all the more pleased that the United Big Game , the largest paintball event on German soil, is going to its original location in East Germany at full strength this year Mahlwinkel has returned. We were there, spoke to the players and the organizers and want to give you some insights into this really successful Paintball Big Game.

It's been a long time since paintball events took place in Mahlwinkel on a really large scale. First the ugly bankruptcy of the Euro Big Game, then the long forced Corona break. One almost feared that it would probably never be as beautiful as it once was and that Germany, as a woodland event location, would have lost its probably largest and most important adventure weekend of the year once and for all. But then, with Robert and Steffen, two ambitious guys came along who said to each other: “There must always be big games in Mahlwinkel!” and they took the project under their wing under the new name UNITED BIG GAME. As with almost all major projects of this kind, the beginning was not easy. The first event took place in May 2021 after long planning and many small and large construction sites. Unfortunately for the organizers it was a small baptism of fire at the first attempt. Not only that one had slightly misjudged the effort and the logistics, but the number of participants in the first event with only 250 players unfortunately fell well short of expectations. So Robert and Steffen drew a sobering balance after the first event, but they were not willing to give up the project so quickly. As a result, a year was put into the preparation, planning and promotion of the new event in May 2022. Many long days of hard work on the field, but also in the back office with the numerous requests from the teams and players followed. In the end, in May of this year, the second big United Big Game was about to start and this is where today's story begins. It's Tuesday lunchtime and we're allowed to enter the site before anyone else. This time we are not only here for our event report, but our Paintball Sports Shop Team is also in the process of building a mega-large event stand in the trade show so that the players have a place to shop on site.

At first glance, the trade show on the so-called "marketplace" has changed only slightly. The big stage is still left in the middle, in front of it are the beer benches for the supporting program every evening and around it the tents of the exhibitors, marker technicians and caterers. This year, in addition to the obligatory drinks cart, there was a kebab shop, a large coffee stand with plenty of choice, a catering tent with a daily changing menu and the Pasta Paten, who provided the players with delicious pasta specialties for physical well-being. This year, however, on the opposite side there is a huge, inflatable playing field. Even we haven't seen anything like it in 20 years of paintball. A playing field with original tournament field dimensions to blow up like a gigantic bouncy castle. As we were to find out later, this colossus was used as a chrony station during the day and then converted into an arena for exciting pistol duels in the evening. What wasn't actually planned, but still took place practically the whole day, were small groups of players who fought small duels similar to a tournament format on the playing field, which was covered with wood. As with the SupAir, the team started in the middle of the base and then ran to the starting signal for cover and played a kind of speedball game. The high self-motivation of the players was something that we noticed particularly positively this weekend. The people were not only in a good mood, they were also really into paintball. No matter when and no matter where. So we are now crossing the trade show. Seen from the entrance, on the left in the back, is the organization tent of the organisers. There we meet Steffen and Robert, who are busy with the construction and are just finishing off the last, smaller construction sites that are inevitable at such a big event. They don't have much time for us, because time is pressing until the start of the UBG. But don't worry, we'll come back to the two guys later in the report.

Fabian Grütze was the one who had a little more time. This relaxed contemporary has been part of the paintball scene for a good 20 years and has already played a major role in the organization of the daily processes on the event site at the old EBG event. So it's no wonder that Robert and Steffen turned to him as an experienced consultant and hired him again for the new United Big Game series of events.

This time Fabi was mainly responsible for the story of the event. He came up with the topics and content of the framework story, as well as the individual missions, and then packed them with the UBG team into meaningful storylines. This ensured that the players also had a purposeful task on the field during the day. Sure, paintball is fun in general, but what's even cooler is a beautifully spun story with changing mission objectives and lots of action. The content of this year's UBG story was based on a well-known series of computer games. Even the background, which was propagated online by the organizers in a video specially produced for this purpose, was tough.

The story…

A meteorite is on a direct collision course with Earth and is accidentally blown into thousands of pieces by a misguided containment maneuver. It turns out that the meteorite contains a rare, highly energetic material in crystalline form, about which a bitter battle between two world powers immediately breaks out. What sounds at first like a mixture of Call of Duty Modern Warfare, Command & Conquer and the latest James Bond flick was in practice nothing less than the hottest paintball big game in a long time. With great attention to detail, the organizers have developed a storyline that is not only gripping and rousing, but which (we hope) can also be significantly expanded. On site, the competing teams RED LEGION (team red) and the BLUE WORLD ORDER (team blue) had to secure areas on the map, defend buildings and, of course, collect the greenish shimmering crystals that could be found scattered over large parts of the playing field. Small technical gimmicks such as a Geiger counter specially developed for the event to locate the "radioactive" crystals were part of the content of the story and brought a lot of variety. So there was always something to do and everyone was always involved in the storyline of the event. If you wanted to, you could of course just go into battle and have a small skirmish with the opponent somewhere on the extensive terrain. Most of the players, however, were completely immersed in the new story and spent most of the day chasing said crystals or completing other mission content. After all, it was the most points on the team account in the end. Away from the games, the atmosphere at the UBG this year was really excellent. We've actually experienced a few big games, but rarely has the trade show and the marketplace in front of the stage been as full and well attended as at this event. When not only Father's Day was celebrated on the fairground on Thursday evening, but the organizers even called for a collective puke-fish-eating contest (Surströmming), apparently all the players present at the event were gathered in front of the stage to witness the spectacle. How did we laugh…

Official figures "only" speak of around 730 visitors (tickets sold), but that is already three times as many as in the previous year. Just imagine the event continues to grow at this rate… – But even when there were well over 1000 players on the site in the past, the market place was rarely so well attended in the evening. This also speaks for the new organizers and their concept, as well as for the motivation of all players on site, who were finally able to celebrate a Big Game Festival again in their beloved Mahlwinkel. As usual, the United Big Game reached its final climax on Saturday evening with the award ceremony and the awarding of points. There was also live music and one or two cold drinks. The players partied until late in the evening. Now, as promised, we want to come back to Robert and Steffen. On Sunday morning, when most of the players were already on their way home or just about to take down their tents, we tried again to intercept the two at the organization tent. You could see satisfied, but also drained, faces. The two really did it, the United Big Game in Mahlwinkel lives on! It was not an easy task, but no expense or effort was spared to make the big dream come true. For this reason we leave the final word to the two at this point and are already looking forward to the next United Big Game event in Mahlwinkel with you.


Robert: It was absolutely amazing, we would never have dreamed that the party and the team spirit would take on such forms. Everyone was always welcome everywhere. The atmosphere was relaxed everywhere and characterized by a family atmosphere. The campsite was one big family celebration. The campsite tour, where we show where the big teams are based, was also enthusiastically received. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped us and thus made it possible for us to host this wonderful event. We still had a few start-up difficulties, but we will have them under control in the future. The electricity worked wonderfully and the event was also carried into the hearts of the players. We are proud to be hosts in such a traditional field.

Steffen: Folks, what can I say, for me it was the best big game ever in Mahlwinkel. Of course, we also had to deal with teething problems, such as the air. But we have always held out and in the future we know how to make things better. For example, the Chronie will remain on the Subair field in the future. The trade show was always inspired by a great atmosphere and was always peaceful. The party bus that we launched was very well received and the camp trip will be indispensable in the future. A special thank you to our bus drivers. Also greetings to Team Outbreak, who were always at the forefront of the trade and always heated up the party crowd, as well as the Northern Aliance, Badboyz, Berserker and Badballs, who also participated in the run-up. Further greetings go out to: Straw Hats, Team Fox, Komando Vollrausch, Green Devils, Old Iron Division, Masuckers, Frontschweine, Scoundrels, Smoking Balls, Valhalla, Woodland Monkeys, Alcolholics, KOG, Iron Asse, Team Ares, Vikings. Basically thanks to everyone who made the event possible, you guys are awesome and we're glad to be able to host the event for you.

Fabi: All in all, I think the paintball festival was a success and I'm already looking forward to the October event and the next paintball festival in May 2023. Planning for next year is already underway 😉

Ken: For me it was also the best event I was able to experience in Mahlwinkel and I wasn't alone in that. I am proud to be part of this community and would like to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for making this possible. When I think of all the sweat and effort we put into this project and now being treated with this respect towards us, it's just overwhelming. What each individual has achieved cannot be appreciated enough. The game was also excellent on the field. Heroic efforts were made on both sides to gain the upper hand. So maneuver after maneuver was started. The Reffs also did a clean job out there and themselves reported a level of fairness that is unparalleled in Mahlwinkel. We are grateful that we were able to spread such magic again. That this was accepted and is now even reflected in a conclusion like this one. We look forward to doing everything we can to give the community a home for paintball sports in Mahlwinkel again at the next big games. It's going to be hot again in October and we have big plans there, just like next year. You are all cordially invited to watch the spectacle.

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