In March 2014, Drop Zone Paintball started a new birthday party scenario event to get younger players ages 8-10 into the game of paintball. This two and a half hour game is inspired by the “choose your own adventure books” combined with paintball where each battle (game) determines the rules and events for the next game.
When we started designing this new game, we were excited to develop the storyline and determine how the game would be played. The Scenario Adventure includes several traditional paintball game formats like: team elimination, capture the flag, VIP protection, search and destroy, attack and defend, and final battle. The basic flow for this set of games designed without the story elements. A simple flow chart of games was made. For example, after a successful attack on a VIP was made, vital information was gained for an attack on a base. When the VIP was successfully defended, the team with the VIP switched to the offense with an attack defend game. After designing the flow of the game we added a story. Simple red versus blue became loyalist versus rebels. The game was then fleshed out using terminology from currently popular video games. We expected the young players to immerse themselves in the fantasy of the story provided. We hoped to give them enough of a story that their imaginations would fill in the details.
Our first Birthday Scenario reservation came at our spring opening day. Our staff was well rehearsed with scripts for playing roles of drill sergeants and generals. Props were ready. We were both excited and nervous for the first running of the “Birthday Scenario Adventure”. Early feedback from kids and parents proved this party format was very positive.
We were surprised to discover that the kids were less excited about the storyline, which we initially thought would be the birthday scenarios biggest draw.
The kids were having a blast, but we started to notice things about our games that the kids didn’t really seem to care about or even pay attention to. With each Birthday Scenario we did, it became more evident that the kids cared less about the story, and more about the friendly banter between the two referees (playing roles) running the games. To our astonishment what they really enjoyed the most was a more hands on experience. Our referees were doing more than just explaining the rules and being referees. They were in the trenches with the kids; calling plays and advising players when to move and shoot. Referees acting their characters would jump right into a bunker or structure with a kid and coaching players how to play. The kids loved this!
With each event we ran, the referees became more comfortable with their memorized scripts and began ad libbing . We made a scoreboard keeping track of every win each referee had. Players were excited when we would let them choose which referee would be their teams general. Referees played up their rivalries; help them to get even more involved.
The birthday scenario adventure is now the most popular event at Drop Zone Paintball.
Want to set up a scenario adventure? For a 2 ½ hour adventure you will need to plan for 5-7 games. We normally have about 16 players (8 on 8). More players will mean fewer games played. You will need to design a flow chart of games. Ours has 7 games with multiple outcomes for each game. You then need to write scripts for your referees. And last, make a few props to help make each game unique.
Willie is a tech at TippmannParts.com and manages the Drop Zone Paintball Park each weekend.