It was a passing comment from Willie McPhelim of the Scottish Warriors towards the end of last year that led to the staging of one of the largest charity games in recent years, and a game that will live in UK paintball history.
Willie had the idea that it was time to use paintball to give something back to the UK paintball community and raise money for charity at the same time. Several of the team are either serving or ex military so it was an easy decision to host the game in aid one of the most respected military charities in the UK, Help for Heroes. This charity has the sole aim of providing support for wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans. With the current conflicts worldwide and friends of the team in need of the support, this was an obvious choice close to our hearts.
The Scottish Warriors, the latest team to join the Tippmann stable, are arguably one of the most respected paintball teams in Europe. The team has a reputation built up over nearly 10 years of playing at the highest levels of scenario paintball – a reputation confirmed by multiple awards for field play, generalship and individual skill. Those 10 years have allowed the team to gain many friends and contacts within the paintball community and it was time to call in a few favours.
First decisions were on a location and a general theme for the game. We knew the game would have to be hosted somewhere central to the team and the UK player base. The more people who could attend, the more money could be raised. A couple of weeks later our long time friends at Battlezone Paintball came up with an offer that couldn’t be turned down. With what would no doubt be a huge financial burden for them, Battlezone’s offer allowed us to concentrate on developing the scenario and work on the rest of the event organisation.
Two separate groups began to work from here on in. One part of the team worked on the scenario, gameplay and props while another worked on the fundraising.
The event would not only be about raising money for Help for Heroes, but be a chance for the players who came along to support it to get something back too. So we set about our paintball industry contacts to see if they could donate a small prize for a raffle at the end of the day. What happened next truly astounded us. We ended up with support and prizes from every single major paintball company, manufacturer and organiser in the UK rallying to the cause – even individual players and teams donated prizes, giving us a prize pool worth well over £3000. Some of the prizes were massive, like 5 tickets to the German Big Game including 15 cases of paint donated by BZ and Maxx’s; Dye I4 goggles, Rotor hopper and CF Boomstick barrel donated by Dye UK; and a Replay XD camera donated by Tony and Guy of TnG Leisure. It was decided these prizes could be more effectively used in an auction. This was carried out openly via Facebook on the run up to the event and raised over £1600.
The team also set up a charity fundraising page using the JustGiving online charity service. We figured this would allow a few people who couldn’t make the event to donate a few pounds and set an initial target of £500. The link for the JustGiving account was passed from player to player and by industry leaders and organisers, so much so that we revised the target several times as each one was blown out the water. Come game day the JustGiving account on it’s own held nearly £3600. This magnificent amount is a true testament to paintball within the UK and what it can do when a charity needs help.
The second group were spending this time developing the actual game play. Several ideas were bounced around the team forum and these were narrowed down to one. Ian Pinchen took the idea and ran with it, creating a simple yet complex outline for the game. Together with Fraser Hepburn, the bare bones of the scenario were put together, then fleshed out and ideas flew back and forward between these two madmen to create the final game scenario. The game would be called Raiders, and focus on two teams of treasure hunters headed up by some rather well known fictional faces. The scenario itself was straight forward on the surface. The Scottish Warriors are renowned as a straight forward team that likes nothing more than a good firefight and we knew that was what the players at Raiders would expect. So to keep a layer of simplicity, the teams would take turns at hunting the site for treasure in the form of Gold Bricks (real bricks – no making things easy!) and anachronistic items called AzTabs. Each item recovered rewarded random cash for the team bank accounts through an attached barcode. To spice things up and keep players and generals on their toes, several of the bricks also carried a QR code that would initiate a special mission which would provide penalties or rewards depending on the degree of success, and the generals themselves would have two special challenges to carry out during the day. Team members Petr Jicha, Craig Mooney and Scott Millar got stuck into preparing the various props needed for the game.
To keep on top of all these scoring methods, team member and computer guru Allan Nisbet got involved. Having seen time and time again paper sheets, dodgy counting or low tech options being used for game scoring, he wanted to bring something better to the Raiders game. After days of locking himself away coding, the Scottish Warriors Scenario Game Scoring System was born. Allan has created an innovative scoring program with an amazing HD output screen for displaying live scores, objectives and missions in action. The system combines a live scoring system, live game map and inbuilt mission scorer. The objectives and missions are fed into a control panel and the computer automatically displays current scores, objectives and points. A system more advanced than any other in the UK.
The game weekend of 20th May came around really quickly and over 100 of the UKs scenario paintballers descending on Yarm, a beautiful town in Northern England for some Saturday night meet and greets. We’re sure that the local drinking establishments were frequented by more paintballers than they had seen before as the Scottish Warriors hospitality was extended to the paintball community.
An early rise on the Sunday morning saw the Scottish Warriors head to Battlezone. With the help of BZ Paintball and BZ’s home team, the field was setup and the last minute preparations were finalized. Players started appearing on site, earlier than expected after such an eventful evening the night before and got tucked into some breakfast from the onsite caterer. Good food reasonably priced, which is always a bonus at games. Teams were getting organized in the staging areas, buying paint and kit from the onsite shop and registering via Battlezones iPad touchscreen registration system.
Just before the game started came the briefings and the introduction to the generals. The game would be fought between Lara Croft (Kristy Ellis of Bad Moji) and Indiana Jones (Niall Carroll of SPS Chapters). Once done, everyone headed out onto the field to get ready for the big GAME ON!
Due to a massive amount or preplanning from the team, the game unfolded as it was meant to. We had control of the game through rolling spawn points and other tricks up our sleeves utilized this to provide the game with a continual flow. As with any game, skirmish lines are created which can lead to a relative stalemate forming, which is not something we wanted to happen. To combat this we had several options including deployment of the formidable “M-Branch” – a small squad of Scottish Warriors to break out into the field and tear through any stalemates as and where needed. The other control measures worked so well that this option was not used more than twice the whole day as the game plan worked beautifully in both morning and afternoon sessions.
We noticed something unusual amongst safe zones these days at our game. Most of the scenario games run in the UK now follow a fairly standard 6 hour rolling game format which seems to produce a high presence of players in the safe zone at all times, either kitting up, eating, chilling, gossiping, bragging and moaning, buying paint, or fiddling with stuff. With the main part of this game being a made up of two shorter 2 hour halves, there were almost no players hanging back from the field – it was just a quick grab of paint and air and head back out from those who returned. The fact that this format seems to have maximised players game play time is something we are very proud of – after all, we are all players and want the best experience and value for money for anyone attending.
After both attack and defends had been played, the scores were neck and neck, a mere 400 points separated the teams. This meant the final battle of the day on the BZ bridge, a bridge where folklore is born, would be the deciding factor as to who would be victorious and named the Champion Raider.
This final game was simple in principal, but famously hard work. The scenario would be simple – a death match with no respawn, no flanking, and no hiding. On the bridge and fight it out. This is the bread and butter of the Scottish Warriors style of play and we wanted players to experience one of the most intense paintball experiences you can have in the UK. With game on, both teams stormed up the large bridge from opposing sides, high into the trees, shooting so much paint the marshalling staff couldn’t hear each other over their radios. The game was continued until 4pm where the game was completed and the survivors on each team were counted.
With the players back in the safe zone, they were gathered round for the final briefing and raffle prize draw. With players digging deep for tickets, over £1000 was raised on the day from a combination of raffle tickets, a small auction, Help for Heroes merchandise and a cake sale, this was the time for us to start giving back. Prizes ranged from Custom tops, tactical vests, hoppers, very expensive markers, barrel kits, badges, and cleats to name but a few were handed down to the winners. Even then, the generosity of the community shone through with many of the prizes either being offered up for a quick money raising auction or given to new or young players.
The generals were brought forward and the final scores were announced. The game was close fought with no clear winner over the day. The points for taking the bridge would swing the result one way or the other. Lara Croft’s team (Kirsty) had managed to secure more players on the bridge making her team overall victor. Both generals were presented with trophies as a thank you for all their hard work before and during the game.
With everyone in high spirits, the Help for Heroes representative, Sally Mendonca, gave a speech which brought the reality of why this game was conceived hammering home to the both players and organizers. The work the charity do is beyond comprehension, the support they provide is invaluable to those that need them.
With the final thank you speech from the Scottish Warriors , BZ and Tippmann Europe, the Scottish Warriors paintball team presented Help for Heroes with a cheque for the unbelievable amount of £10,000. This is an enormous sum of money which was far more than we believed could have ever been achieved when the game was conceived – and it looks like it may still increase by the time we get the final total to Help for Heroes. This event was am truly humbling experience for the Scottish Warrior paintball team and hopefully it is a game that will live in the hearts of all those involved for a long time.
It is also important to note that not a penny was taken by the Scottish Warriors – not one single pence. No expenses, travel, food, accommodation, game props – nothing, it was all from our own pockets. It just wouldn’t be fair to H4H. Every penny we raised went to charity which is a testament to the dedication of those involved.
With a huge thanks to everyone involved we hope that our next event will be as much a success.
Breakdown of monies raised
£167 on help for heroes merchandise
£323.65 ( just giving ) from Mario getting head shaved separate just giving account
£1940.00 in ticket sales ( just giving )
£2380.55 on raffles /auction/cakes on day ( just giving )
Added to amount raised in just giving account gives us a total including gift aid of
( just giving will take 5% fee from this so still well over £10, 000 promised on day )