Friday 4th May 2012 – The Journey Begins
The journey started early for the Raptors. As we all live somewhat local to Campaign Paintball, which was our pickup and departure point, we decided to save a few pennyâ€™s by driving there in the morning. We went in two cars, one having myself and Josh Lee (Socks) and the other containing our Team Captain Hallam (HallamB) and Ben Stone.
In true Raptor style we started our day with a trip to McDonald”s for breakfast. After that it was straight to the site where we waited a little while for the mini buses to arrive. Once they had, containing the illustrious Shoreline and Bad Moji teams, we set off but the journey didnâ€™t last long before being interrupted due to some industrial sabotage. However, it wasnâ€™t long before we were on our way again and just as eager to get there and kick some French butt.
The journey wasnâ€™t exactly a short one but we managed to keep ourselves entertained along the way with 2 buses packed with â€˜ballers in high spirits. We managed to get to the Eurostar without any dramaâ€™s picking up two more Bad Moji members along the way and, despite Hallam needing to pee more than a drunk whoâ€™s broken the seal, we soldiered on. To cut a long story short we got to Veckring without any further problems.
Once we got there we decided to first go straight to the event to check out the scene and see what it was like. Let me just say, WOW…OK there were only 5 stalls but you could easily spend every penny you own there, without trying. There were markers, clothes, badges, pods, hoppers and everything else you could ever want to kick some major ass.
I would also like to take this point to thank Michael “Onkel” Soenning for the glorious work on all his patches, but especially for our Raptor ones.
After we had checked in and received our tickets, said a few helloâ€™s to a few other teams and made ourselves known we headed to our hotel. Now…our hotel, fair enough it was cheap and had a bed for us but it still left a bit to be desired. However, I wonâ€™t focus on the bad points; this is a review of the event not of our accommodation.
After we had unpacked, had a shower and shave, we headed out to the nearby American style restaurant and had a bite to eat. Granted the food took a little bit longer to order then it could have done, but thatâ€™s the language barrier for you. After eating we went next door and had a drink or two, shared some stories and went back for some rest before the next day.
With a bright and early start, there were lot of people wanting to go and earn their battle name, we headed for the event, where we found a space to set up our gazeboâ€™s and started our battle prep.
Now… we had all thought, at one point or another, that we were getting a very good deal for what we had paid and were waiting for something to jump up and bite us. We soon found out what it was; we each got a box of paint free with our deal so no dramaâ€™s there but the price for another box of paint there was 60 Euroâ€™s, approximately Â£50. Ouch! Never again will I complain about Â£35 a box, but at least air was free and everything else was fair and a pretty good deal, whatever you wanted.
There is only one thing I can really complain about and that is the tannoy/speaker system that was more premature with announcements than a first year college student in bed! Seriously, they announced the chrono timings 3/4 of an hour early and the most annoying announcement was â€œthe next game is starting right nowâ€, which most people would assume means “get your ass to the field right now or youâ€™ll miss it”, but we were there for 35 minutes and the damn thing was still saying the same thing! So, for the rest of the weekend no one really paid much attention to the tannoy, as we”d kind of just got annoyed by it.
The event seemed to have an endless supply of Marshall”s outside of the field, and when you were in a fire fight one always seemed to just stand in the way. Then when you shot someone and they wouldn”t accept the hit there was never one around. As for the chrono area the limit we found out, after a while, was 300FPS but the Marshall”s seemed to just pass anyone under 315/320FPS, so a great tick in the box for safety there guys!
Most of the announcements were great …if you spoke German or French! Eventually they brought out an English speaking one so we got there in the end.
The actual playing area was good, had plenty of space, lots of barriers and buildings plus a few underground tunnels. So, lots of great places for cover and covert missions. I donâ€™t really know what I can say about the actual game to be honest. It was good; there were loads of Marshall”s and cover, as I said, and also many teams who knew what they were doing, ourselves and Shoreline included. Another good thing about the day was the weather. Now, itâ€™s not uncommon for it to pour down when â€˜ballers come outside but it managed to stay warm and dry for most of the weekend so that is another plus.
One thing I will say about the game play is you can certainly tell there is a major difference in how people play and this was something that was annoying the British teams to great extent. For example there were two buildings in the middle of the play area, one a church with a basement and, 20m away, another which was a two story building. Outside of these was a field with a lot of wooden barriers for cover. The French and German players seemed more than happy to take up positions in these buildings and play the waiting game, so when someone ventured outside they were lit up like Christmas trees. This went on for a good hour or so with no real ground being made or lost, whereas the British players were more inclined to rush the positions to take ground and complete missions and capture objectives. I think this is a much more fun way to play, you may go through a lot more paint and air but you have a much better playing experience.
Another example of this would be later on in the day, When the Raptors and Bad Moji players were attempting to flank around a building to take it, but the other teams on our side were just holding the people in the building and not letting them out so we could get a better shot at them. As you do, we thought we would try and move the situation forward, so we all provided cover fire whilst myself and Kirsty from Bad Moji (a woman who you donâ€™t want to be on the receiving end of at the best of times as I will later detail) started moving forward to a smaller building. We managed to pick off one or two whilst we were there and we did indeed, with help from the rest of Moji and Raptors, start to push them back. Eventually we were picked off one at a time and when we all returned there with another plan we saw that no one else had even moved. No matter how much Kirsty shouted at these poor French men they just wouldnâ€™t move, ha-ha.
So as the day went on we saw the best and the worst they had to offer us and Iâ€™m sure if you have seen the videoâ€™s of Veckring, that have popped up everywhere, youâ€™ll see some of it too. As well as some of the awesome military outfits that some people were using we had clown outfits, Terminator outfits, multicolored afroâ€™s and Predator masks, so it was a good show. We even had one of our Shoreline cohorts go out wearing nothing but his undies!
After the dayâ€™s events we were all tired so we cleaned up, packed up and went back to the hotel. A quick shower and change, then out for some good old McDonald”s where one of the Raptors almost started a real war because of a very rude French woman, but we thought we would let him stew in his own outrage.
After we had eaten we went out in search of a drink but soon realized that finding a pub or club in France isnâ€™t an easy task, but find one we did and it wasnâ€™t a bad place. It had a marquee area outside and, since the weather was nice, we all sat outside and drank, much to the annoyance of the French. I think they need to get used to the British! One of our Bad Moji friends ended up paying someone a Euro because they were dancing in the street, cough â€“Woody- cough. After a few drinks we went back to our hotel, whilst some stayed out and went to an extremely overpriced club.
Today was the last day of balling so we all wanted to bring our â€œAâ€ game, but unfortunately some of our more…erm…seasoned players had been out all night, so were feeling the effects, but we still gave the other guys hell.
Now you may recall mention that there is a player called Kirsty in the Bad Moji team. Well, I think I had been annoying her periodically throughout the weekend, not on purpose but because of her chosen profession (I have been laying in digs). It wasn”t just me! They have a player called Woody (hunt3r) in their team, who had also been generally winding her up.
So, someone on the Shoreline team, for some reason, brought some black duct tape with them. For what reason I do not know, and I didnâ€™t want to inquire, but anyway I digress. So Woody was jumped, taped and bound. I was helping as we laughed and joked. Then KIRSTY, the evil ice queen that she is, told the other guys to tell me a ruse to get me next to him. As I bent down to grab his arms, as asked to do, I was also jumped, bound and taped to Woody by my arms and legs, so that we looked like we were star fishing each other. We were then left in the middle of the track, as players were walking past us, struggling and wriggling to try and get free.
Next, a Frenchmen walked up to us with a knife! At this point you kind of erm…crap yourself, especially when he then leaned in towards us. Luckily he just cut one of the binds from our wrist, but then left us to it. Anyway, to cut a long story short we eventually escaped to the huge disappointment of the very large crowd now watching us!
After all the morning”s antics some of us were then ready for war, so we tooled up, filled up ,gassed up and moved out for our first game; a 100 vs 1000 consisting of the British players from teams like Shoreline, Bad Moji and Wiltshire Raptors, all holding the ground floor of the church with a French and German team or two taking the basement and ground floor.
Now, we managed to hold the rest of the horde off for a while before a few on our floor began to get overwhelmed, but we held our own and gave them hell. Sadly though, after a while, the top floors were taken and we went back to our tent. However, the masses were unable to take the basement and eventually the clock ran out. For the first time ever the 100 BEAT the 1000, holding a British player from the Shoreline team.
After a great morning we were starting to feel like calling it a day but there was one more big game to go, so we filled up the rest of our paint and got ready to go. After a while we started to get annoyed that the French and German players were constantly at a stalemate, so we started to go for suicide runs trying to encourage people to move. However, it wasnâ€™t working so the Brits started to just shoot each other! Well…we all started to shoot at Woody!
Then, as we were having some fun, one of the French Team Captains came up to us and said “we are pushing them back on the field and need your helpâ€, so naturally we thought “oh yea, he came to the right guys for a push”, so we made our way back to the field. As we got there we screamed and ran forward onto the field. In two bounds we managed to clear the field and push them back onto the hard standing off the field. As we got shot off one at a time we went back to our area and chilled out, had a drink and so on.
At this point it had been raining a bit on and off for a few hours so there had been rain collecting on the roof of our gazebo. One of the Shoreline members managed to get Kirsty wet by hitting the water off of the roof and on to her so, as payback, she asked us to grab this guy and take his hand, ankles and knees together. So….we did as asked, but then she hadnâ€™t finished with him so we put his mask on him and all walked past the warden for the start point to take him into the playing field and lay him down next to a tree. Unknown to us at this point was that ALL of the other players, about 60 odd players, then aimed at him ready to light him up like Las Vegas. Luckily though one of our team stood in front of him and said no, but then he moved out of the way and we saw that Kirsty was stood there aiming at him. The “victim” saw this and tried to wriggle free and escape, but as he did be exposed his bare back and backside so Kirsty put a few shots on him as everyone else laughed. Soon enough though he was unbound and we went back and packed away.
After the day we decided to go out one last time and get something else to eat, so we had a shower and got changed again. We then all went into Woody and Chrisâ€™ room, from Bad Moji, and had a drink or three before we went out. After this we went to the American style restaurant, sat together at the table and had one last meal together. Once we had all eaten and had a bit to drink we went back to our hotel to rest before leaving in the morning.
Monday the 7th May 2012 – The Warriors Return
So here we are; the last day and we are returning to our own country once again. We started off early, leaving at 0730, everyone teary eyed and groggy but looking forward to getting home to a proper shower (or bath), their own bed and some real food.
I donâ€™t want to bore you with the details of a car ride home so I will summarize. We drove through France, bought some cigars smoked and drank before catching the train. We had a good Eurostar ride, dropped off Kirsty and her other half, Jason, then made it back home to Campaign in good time. We said all our good byes and then drove home for much needed sleep after conquering our enemies.
To anyone planning on going to Veckring at a later date, I would highly recommend it. It was a great laugh and we all loved it. I now have some truly awesome friends in balling and I plan on going again.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Tim and Suzy Barnett for organizing it all. Also, a big thanks to all players from Shoreline, Bad Moji and all the Raptors that went for making it an awesome game and a truly great experience.For theÂ video production from this event please visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?