A change

Online communities have been changing for a number of years now.  The rise of Facebook, amongst other channels, has diminished the value that people see in specialised community sites – instead opting for a more scattergun approach.

There’s nothing wrong with that.

But it has meant that sites like this one now have a lesser value to the community, and without a significant spend to bring it to the forefront of peoples minds it will stay there.  Honestly I no longer have the funds, inclination, or time to invest that heavily.

So the focus on the P8NT site and related social media accounts is going to change.  It is going to become more of a sandbox to try somethings out, a soapbox for people to post articles or opinion pieces – something that is less commercial, but more honest.

And hopefully a little more fun for me.

So come back and check things out if you want. I will be playing around, moving things and generally posting things paintball related that interest me.

Whatever. I’m still here.

The 1998 Two Day NZ Nationals Tournament

This article was original written by Rob Maddox and published on NZPB Online in 1998

The tournament was scheduled to run over Labour Weekend, 24th & 25th of October in Auckland at Kyn Jacksons Action Paintballs Sports Arena. It was to be the last event held at Actions, which was closing its doors for relocation. Fourteen teams attended, which makes this the largest paintball tournament in New Zealand to date.

The weather was dodgy the day before, with downpours after nightfall, threatening to continue on over the tournament. However, the weather held out nicely with only the occasional spot of drizzle.

While not having the organised ‘feel’ of the 1997 Nationals, 1998 was just as good, if not better in terms of overall operation.
There were some concerns over the consistency of the marshalling from several of the teams, and comments to the effect that the marshalling this year was not up to last years standard; but as Rik Goldsworthy (Capt. Saints Gold) pointed out, the level of marshalling could not have improved without tying up a couple more of the teams and lessening the tournament over all.
The marshalls coped well under difficult circumstances and had the usual large amount of difficult calls to make, and by and large made them well.

With rumours of a ‘Marshalling School’ in the pipeline, it is possible that any concerns can be lessened with the training of more marshals to a higher level of experience. This is certainly something to watch out for, and even if you don’t intend to become a regular marshal, getting the ‘inside look’ of what is expected of them can only be a benefit to players and teams.

The Head Marshall, Mike Sawyer, stated that the tournament was smoothly run with only a few minor disputes. The schedule was adhered to well, and there was a good standard of play. Very rarely was a game run to a standstill, as someone was always willing to push the issue.
His assistant, Aaron Jay noted the outstanding quality of the players in general, and said that he had never before been to a tournament with such honest players.

Kyn Jacksons growing reputation of organising top tournaments for this country was certainly not diminished by his efforts this year. Overall things were well run with an obvious amount of effort paid to producing yet another top notch event. It is unfortunate that the 1998 Nationals marked the closure of Kyns Actions Paintball field in Te Atatu. Most of the Auckland players would attest to the outstanding quality of the fields for both tournament and social play, and Kyns own reputation as a great field Op.
We can only hope that he will soon find another location to develop.

Attending Teams

Red Alert – Auckland
DOA – Auckland
Warp Speed – Hawkes Bay
Katipo One and Two – Auckland
Flashpoint – Dunedin
Phantom 5 – Auckland
Kami Karzi – Auckland
Black Dragon – Auckland
Paint Contractors – Whangarei
House Steiner – Wellington
Kiwi Extreme – Wellington
Saints Grey – Auckland
Saints – Auckland

The notable entries here were Warp Speed, Flashpoint, Paint Contractors, House Steiner and Kiwi Extreme for making the arduous journey to Auckland from their various home towns. It was particularly good to see Kiwi Extreme attend their first Auckland Tournament, and we hope they enjoyed themselves enough to come up again next year.

Warp Speed felt that their tournament expectations were not really met, though the team was developing solidly considering the short amount of time they’ve been into Tournament Paintball. Apparently a clear direction has been identified. They said their favourite game would have to be between Black Dragon (which was a very close run thing, with only sheer good fortune standing between Black Dragon and certain defeat), and DOA.

Flashpoint on the other hand felt that their expectations for the weekend were met, though they were let down in some games. They say that the tournament was certainly well run, though there was an issue of the fields being a little one sided, especially the bush field.
They will be back next year, as they had a great time.
They state their best game was against Kamo Karzi, which they maxed convincingly.

Kamo Karzi captain Alan Gatland felt that Kamo did not perform up to last years expectations. Having to run a scratch team on the first day, and being 2 markers down in one of the most important games of the tournament did not help matters. However, he feels the team is showing promise for next year, where they should do as well, or exceed their 3rd place of the 1997 Nationals.
Favourite game was against Warp Speed for sheer enjoyment and teamwork.

The big contender for the top spot, last years winners, Katipo One captain Reg Lowe said that their buildup to the tournament was not what he had hoped for. The team did not play to their full potential.
He felt that the fields, though good, did not allow players full opportunity to be creative, and players were often locked into the same tactics. He also stated that some of the play was definitely up to international standard, and was very impressed by the performances of such teams as Kiwi Extreme, Paint Contractors, and House Steiner.
Although the level of play was improving, the rise in costs associated with tournaments was cause for concern, possibly due to the exchange rate.

Saints Captain, Rik Goldsworthy was extremely happy with his teams performance, thinking at one stage they were going to get a perfect 1300 points. Although this did not eventuate, they played true to form and had a good team environment with which to work. The tournament was the best seen in New Zealand, and the tournament fees were reasonable considering costs overseas and the costs of maintaining tournament standards.
The standard of play, he says, is definitely increasing in New Zealand and he noted specifically Paint Contractors, Kiwi Extreme, and Black Dragon.

As a brief aside, some of the Saints were using the newish RP Scherer “All-Star” paint; A paint that is purported to contain iodine (although I have been unable to confirm this one way or the other) to make the ‘splat’ much harder to remove. The consensus was that the paint was not up to expected standards for the price paid, as the batch that arrived was often somewhat eggshaped. They still favour RP Scherer marballizer as a good value for dollar paintball.

Scores and Awards.

The tournament ended on time, and the prize giving was closer to being rained out than the games were, with some threatening drizzle immediately beforehand. Actions Paintball, with sponsorship from Black Stallion energy drinks, provided a good number of prizes and trophies.
There were several categories for best ‘something’ of the tournament.

Player of the Tournament – Shane from Warp Speed for his sterling efforts and sportsmanship during the tourney.
Best flag pull – Rob Maddox from Kamo Karzi – for a flag pull against Katipo One.
Another to Marty Friend was for the two in half minutes it took to hang the flag after clearing the field in 35 seconds.

Winners of these were presented with Actions Paintball medallions.


(max 1300)
1st Saints Gold 1290
2nd Paint Contractors 1008
3rd Saints Grey 970
4th House Steiner 940
5th Black Dragon 884
6th Katipo One 771
7th Katipo Two 625
8th Kiwi Extreme 545
9th Phantom 5 505
10th Flashpoint 455
11th Kamo Karzi 435
12th Warp Speed 225
13th DOA 141
14th Red Alert 121

Black Dragon also came first in the Division Two section of this tournament.

First Place Winners, Saints Gold, were understandably disappointed not to reach the perfect 1300, but lost 10 points due to a barrel plug violation in the dead-box on the second day of the tournament.
Captain, Rik Goldsworthy thanked all the out of Auckland teams for attending at what could be a considerable expense considering the distance some of them had to travel. He thanked Kyn Jackson and Actions Paintball and urged other teams to help Kyn find a new location to set up, expressing regret at the loss of the current location.
The Challenge Shield won by Katipo from Saints Black last year during Saints Gold absence (Due to playing in the World Cup in Orlando) was dutifully handed back.

Last place getters, Red Alert, although appearing a little disappointed in the result said they had an enjoyable tournament, and that it was great to see more teams this year. Their team suffered from a few last minute pull-outs and were forced to use more new players than they normally would.

Well done to their second team, DOA, who played extremely well considering their lack of tournament experience, holding Kamo Karzi (3rd place last year) to time in one game, having also made the first pull.

In the after match prize-giving, Kyn Jackson stated the need for a national body to help organise and maintain the standard of paintball and paintball tournaments in New Zealand. While the New Zealand Paintball Players Association idea is not a new one, with the current level of interest across the country it is quite likely that such an organisation could occur in the short to mid-term.

Overall, an excellent tournament, and well worth attending. If the quality of future tournaments and attending teams remains constant then it can only be good for New Zealand Paintball.

The 1997 Two Day NZ Nationals Tournament

This article was original written by Rob Maddox and published on NZPB Online in 1997

The tournament started on Saturday October 25th, at Actions Paintball Sports Arena in Te-Atatu (Auckland), run by Saints team member Kyn Jackson. It was originally going to be held on a field in Mangare (Auckland) but was shifted to Te-Atatu a few weeks before the event was due to start.

Last minute changes not withstanding, the organisation that has gone into this tournament is nothing short of outstanding. A two day event comprising of 11 teams of various skill levels, finishing only 15 seconds late at the end of those two days is a very good achievement on the part of the organisers.

The tournament was divided into Division One and Division Two, each intermingled during play with total scores at the end of the tournament determining overall places and positions within the divisions.

Play was 5-a-side central flag, with 10 minute games. Teams playing each other once only. There were two fields. One a bush field with light scrub and large trees, the other an “artificial” barricades field across what used to be a go-cart track.

Eleven teams turned up out of the original twelve, which is good in itself. Notable entries included Flashpoint arriving for their first Auckland tournament from the South Island, The Bay Boyz from the Hawkes Bay region, and Kamo Karzi – fresh from winning the 1997 NPL Division 2 League.
The Saints too were there in form, even though a few of their number are off battling for “the cause” in far off Orlando. Saints Black notable largely for their new “Saints” uniforms, complete with little halo’d stick figures, and their captains bright green hair, and Saints Grey (The Old Guard) notable for the number of faces back on the paintball field after a long time away from the tournament field.

It was great to see so many teams turn up for the event, especially those not local to Auckland, and the array of tents and banners arranged around the safe area was brilliant.
The teams who attended were The Paint Contractors, Saints Black, Saints Grey, Flashpoint, Katipo1, Katipo2, Kamo Karzi, Red Alert, Syrian Suicide Squad, Team Raven and the Bay Boyz.

The weather held out very nicely on both days. Saturday was largely fine, with a couple of minor patches of drizzle on the Sunday. The wind was quite gusty at times, which was especially telling on the more exposed “barricades” field (Field #1) with paintballs really winging it off to one side.

Day One. October 25th.

With Team Gothique not showing, it was decided that when each team was due to play them, they would get a `bye’, and be awarded a max. This meant that each team had 100 points added to their scores whenever they were due to play Gothique, even though no games were played.

There were some shocks during play, with the favourites Saints Black losing points early in the first day, bringing their Day One score to a fairly poor 336 out of a possible 600.

Katipo One on the other hand stormed away to an early lead of 598 points out of the possible 600, pointing the way to a landslide victory for the team, followed closely by Whangarei’s Paint Contractors with 575.

The Paint Contractors showed what they were made of by repeated victories over already proven teams, as did Kamo Karzi with their surprise victories over both Saints Black and Saints Grey.

At the end of the first days play, the points were allocated as follows:-

Pro/Division 1

Place Team Score
1 Katipo1 598
2 Paint Cont 575
3 Saints Black 366
4 Saints Grey 356

Am/Division 2

Place Team Score
1 Flashpoint 424
2 Kamo Karzi 416
3 Katipo 2 336
4 Team Raven 324
5 Red Alert 184
6 Bay Boyz 74

Day Two. October 26th.
There was some confusion at the start of the day in regards to Flashpoints division. News came late on Saturday evening that Flashpoint were apparently considered a Division One team, but Sunday saw Flashpoint declared officially a Division Two team. This threw the cat amongst the pigeons a little with protests raised by a number of teams in both divisions. The decision was upheld, and Flashpoint continued the tournament officially a Division Two team.

Although the weather was ominous for part of the day, it held, but there were a few more surprises in store for players and organisers. Although Saints Black did poorly on their first day, they really snapped back into form on Day Two, taking another 530 points out of a maximum 600. Katipo One slackened a little with 410 points, but were still playing in fine form with a lot of points under their belt. It was clear early on that these two teams would be battling it out for the top overall and Division One slots.

Meanwhile there was a skirmish going in Division Two between the immediate contenders for the top Division Two slot, Team Raven, Kamo Karzi, and Katipo 2. Early on it looked like Flashpoint had taken the honours, but they were soon overtaken by the others, ending an unfortunate Fourth in the second division with only six points in it between them and the third place-getters, Katipo 2. Kamo Karzi won the Division Two section and came Third overall after beating Paint Contractors in their final game, and drawing at 58 each with Flashpoint.

Final Placings for the tournament were as follows:

Overall Place Team Name Division Division Place Score
1st Katipo 1 1 1st 1008
2nd Saints Black 1 2nd 866
3rd Kamo Karzi 2 1st 818
4th Paint Contr. 1 3rd 791
5th Saints Grey 1 4th 780
6th Team Raven 2 2nd 642
7th Katipo 2 2 3rd 608
8th Flashpoint 2 4th 602
9th Syrian Sui. 2 5th 422
10th Red Alert 2 6th 370
11th Bay Boyz 2 7th 210
Gothique NO SHOW

The obvious up and coming teams here are Kamo Karzi with their surprise taking of third place overall at the end of the day, and Team Raven who have proven to be formidable when the mood takes them.

As was rightly pointed out by tournament organiser Dave Pellet, the teams that came towards the bottom of the list are still winners for actually making the effort to show up in the first place.
Especially such names as Flashpoint who came all the way up from the South Island in order to play; Bay Boyz for their efforts to bring them up from Hawkes Bay, and Red Alert for (as Lance Potter, one of the founding members, put it) “biting off more than they could chew” and launching into what I am sure is going to be a meteoric rise once they’ve got their “sea legs”.

The Saints Black captain Jo Pitts was his usual eloquent self while handing the National Paintball Trophy over to Katipo One captain Reg Lowe (?sp), citing both the importance of the event to New Zealand paintball and the obvious effort that went into the Katipo Win. Reg responded by thanking the tournament organisers and the Saints both and lauding the efforts of both his players and his pit crew.

Allan Gatland, the captain of Kamo Karzi accepted the Division Two first place trophy and thanked the team, the organisers of the tournament, and the owner of Actions Paintball (Kyn Jackson) for his support throughout the year.

Overall, a herculean effort by Dave Pellet and his cast of thousands (co-organisers and marshals) paid off with what could only be described as Aucklands best tournament to date, if not New Zealands. The marshalling was consistent, with only a few minor irritations which were generally ironed out without much fuss, and games were without fail started on time every time. The draw was such that no teams had back-to-back games, and play was for the most part conducted fairly and with good sportsmanship.

Catering (Well, food at any rate) was provided by Fox Force Five, the all female team that did not play over the two days but made a marked difference to those who did. The person who organised the ice-cream wagon (One Mr Snowy) should be awarded a trophy of their own. After two days play it was a welcome sight in the carpark area.

Well done everyone for a sterling competition.

This article was original written by Neil Harris and published on NZPB Online in 1996

The New Zealand Paintball League put on its first amateur event on the 25th April in the form of a Big social game. Two Armies made up of three 10 men Squads contested a series of objectives over 60 Acres of farmland.

The day was held at Splat Attack Silverdale just North of Auckland. This is a new field but on of the prime movers in the newly formed NPL.

The Splat Attack field was laid out sloping down on one side of a ridge. Surveying the maps given showed that the field was shaped roughly square. Stand at the top of the ridge, the bush cover was U shaped. It ran down the left and right boundaries, and along the bottom of the valley. In this bush at the bottom of the valley was a large stream with fords and bridges criss-crossing it. Army HQ’s were placed roughly at the top of each arm of the U on opposite boundaries. The middle of the field was broken up with small stands of poplars. Wrinkles on the slope where flood streams formed their own little valleys also helped break up Line Of Site. These little valleys let you sneak up on the unwary. Those who didn’t find the high ground looking into these dry streams soon learnt some hard lessons in paintball.

After loading up with paint we were split into Armies and squads, I ended up in the Red Army under General Manny Benrang. The General’s Credentials were impeccable. A Member of Unit 13, formed in 1989 they remained the top team in New Zealand until the teams dissolution in 1992. Since then a respected marshal at both tournament and amateur levels of the game.

General Benrang stood in the early morning dew calmly handing down the starting orders for each Squad. The General deployed one squad on defense of the grassy knoll where Red Army HQ sat. The second squad was Held in reserve, for both defense and to support the attacking squad. It was also available for any surprise objectives the Game Marshal might throw at us. I was in the third squad. When I first met the General, I knew we were to be used as his shock troops. Standing in tense anticipation, We awaited the orders to assault the first objective. My Squad was given the honor of taking the first objective of the day. A “Head” had been placed on a bridge over the stream at the lowest boundary. Our task was simple. Beat the Blue team to the bridge, retrieve the Head and bring it back to the General.

So Red Army, B squad set off down the hill through the bush that made up the red boundary. We got all the way to the bottom corner of the field without incident. We started to turn to follow the stream along to the Target bridge, when a hail of paint erupted from at least two blue squads hidden behind the stream embankment. B squad took up position and started to return fire loosing only one member in the `ball fight. I had been Tail End Charlie all the way down the hill and was on the flank linking with the center field paddocks. Seeing no opportunity to cross the ground directly in front of B squad, I decided to smart monkey out across the paddock to get into the stream bed and flank the Blues.
That’s when I found out about the Mercenaries. Standing hidden in one of the wrinkles in the center field paddock was one of these neutrals. He let me make my first cover out on the extreme right of B squad before demolishing me in a stream of paint. I called my tag and turned around just in time to see the Mercenary shred the rest of B squad right flank. I hurried back to the Red Army MASH to recycle back into the game.

General Manny Benrang took my report on the action of B squad with a stoic face. The generals next order transferred me to an add hoc formation of 3 lads. Our mission was to set out in three different directions to hunt down the Blue General. Known only to us as “Haggis”, this shadowy figure was to be tagged out with extreme prejudice. I drew the same route B squad had taken only 10 minutes ago. I set off down the hill through the bush mentally picking a spot that would take me out of the bush into the paddocks, above where the Merc player had tagged me out. I broke bush cover and hunkered up the embankment being careful not to silhouette myself on the skyline. With my trusty Smart Mag clutched in my grimy glove, trigger finger clenched, brutal revenge on my mind, I eased myself over the ridge line. Down there in that little valleyette was nothing. The Merc had bugged out before I go there. After wasting 15 minutes stalking an opposition long gone. I thought “Oh well” and got up and wandered down the dry streambed to re-enter the bush near the bottom blue boundary corner.

I moved into the bush paralleling the stream, and soon started to hear the sounds of loaders rattling in the stream bed. Heeding the last words of General Benrang, to avoid contact, I took up an ambush position a little back from the banks of the stream. Two blue squaddies, hunkered low in the stream bed, snuck passed under the watchful 68 cal. eye of my Mag. Beads of sweat broke out on my face as their gaze swept across me searching out movement in the bush. Once they were well passed my ambush site I eased out of position and once again moved upstream. I had only moved a short distance before another squad of blues started to rattle their way down the stream bed. I took up another ambush site and aimed down at the stream. The blues approached as their comrades had. Unaware. They had moved to a spot 90 degrees to my position when a loader rattled 15 meters to my rear. The jig was up. The lead element of the blue squad looked up, directly at me. His eyes widened in realization as he finally saw me. His quick reaction didn’t do him any good as the rest of his squad disintegrated under my withering fire. I kept up sporadic fire while silently praying that those loader noises coming from behind me were Red Army. One more blue player went out from the river bed before a single paintball caught men in the back of the right arm. This tag was made more frustrating when I turned around to look at the faces of my very own B squad who had gone the long way around and finally caught up. I walked back up the hill to the sound of the Blue army squad moving out of the ambush and returning fire on a confused B Squad.

I walked to the nearest safe zone and caught a ride on one of the six wheeled Argos being used to ambulance tagged players back to their HQ’s. Seven other Reds crammed into the little machine for a quick ride up to the top of the ridge. I think all of us became very thankful before the end of the day for those little wagons. Without them it was a punishing 10 minute walk up cattle rutted pasture to get to the top.

I joined the reserve at the Red Army reserve on the grassy knoll just in time to be thrown into a stand of poplars just below the knoll where a Blue Army squad was threatening the HQ. Under the direction of General Benrang a took charge of the right flank and formed up a blocking force along a gorse hedge row. We traded shots for 15 minutes with the Blues at long range and occasionally frighteningly short ranges. Then the hammer fell on the Blues. Ivan Wells, a field manager for Splatman Beachlands had taken `A’ squad, Red Army and run around the poplar stand to take the Blues in the flank and the rear. Seeing the Blues turning to face this new threat was our signal to attack. We surged out of the gorse hedgerow behind a wall of paint, Blue resistance melted away as Ivans Hammer met the Reserves anvil. It was over in moments with one Blue squad and 2 Mercenaries sent packing for the cost of 5 of the reserves. An elated Ivan met me in the center of the poplar stand. We looked at each other and both said one thing “Counter Attack!!”.

With fifteen squaddies in tow, me on the left and Ivan on the right we rolled quickly up to the first obstacle, a 6 strand wire fence on the blue edge of the poplar stand. Ivan took the right flank through the wire first while left flank stood over watch. Once Ivan’s lads made the top of the runnel in the paddock and established watch positions left flank surged through the wire to the top of the runnel. We looked down the other side over 150m of bare ground ending in another fence then a wall of Poplars and dense scrub. With nothing more for it, we charged. At the wire some began strafing the scrub under the poplar canopy while others parted the barbed wire and sprinted to the dubious cover of the scrub. Once they were established the last of us passed through the barbed wire and made for the scrub. Right flank quickly became enmeshed in a heavy firefight to their front. I could hear Ivan Wells calling directions to his beleaguered Squad while I moved the left flank up to enfilade what turned out to be General Haggis’s body guard. Unfortunately the General had taken to keeping a BIG body guard around him after several attempts to tag him by both Mercs and Red Army snipers. So long before making a good flanking spot, me and my lads ran smack into a point blank paint fight. With no room to maneuver my lads and being face to face with blue players, I gave a “fire at will” shout”. Air slammed paint down my Mag at blue players barely 8 meters from where I stood behind a Thick tree trunk. Return fire was withering, with neither side giving an inch. During this confused fire fight, a lone Mercenary (Paul Broad of Katipo) crept into the Blue Army HQ and cut down General Haggis. This news came to me as I was walking back to the Red army HQ with Ivan Wells ( We had been singled out as callers). We both grinned and hurried back to recycle and tell General Benang.

With the 200 points under our belts from the elimination of General Haggis, (and partly because of the way he was eliminated) General Manny Benang decided to keep a heavy defense around his grassy knoll. The first two assassination attempts came in quick succession, two Mercenaries walked into the red camp one after the other, and washed down Red reservists from the rear while General Manny ran Helter skelter down into the bush. Both Mercs were quickly served notice with a storm of paint. The third attempt almost succeeded when a well recognized red player walked into the HQ without his band on. An observant but “green” player challenged him to show his band. He was the first to be cut down. Two more went before wary Red squaddies gave him thirteen welts to take home to his missus. The General however, remained safe. I participated in one more counter attack before the end of the game. This time down of the knoll, into the bush on the blue boundary. We had only got halfway down the hill when the news reached us. The General had been “hit” by a blue player. This blue player wandered into the HQ wearing a red band and a heavy jacket. Once in the HQ he doffed the jacket and revealed the blue band beneath. With his true colors showing he walked up to Manny Benrang and zippered him at point blank. Two thirds of the reserves Ivan and I had with us immediately bugged out with Ivan. Me and three others hunkered down to rear guard, trading ground for time. With ammo running low, we rolled back up hill making the blues pay for each meter they gained. Eventually enough re enforcement’s reached us for me to pull back and make a report to the General and get Ivan to relieve me leading the lads.

After the game the Syrian Suicide Squad, a well known Auckland amateur team, organized an impromptu Beer call at “Bucks Bar”. We sat around swapping tall stories with paintballers from around the country and half of the marshalling team until the wee small hours. It was 12pm when I stumbled into bed well satisfied, to dream little Paint ball dreams.

Thoughts on the NZ Tournament Scene (1996)

This article was original written by Jo “Hackman” Pitt and published on NZPB Online in 1996

This is a touchy subject. It always has been a touchy subject and it always will be a touchy subject. Why? Because all too often social players don’t see the need for a strong tournament scene (and it should be stated very strongly vice versa). Having said that I’ll try to explain why I think we need a tournament scene, and then what I think can be done to improve on the current (and in my opinion sorry) state of affairs.

If you look at many sports and for that matter many areas of business and human endeavor it can be consistently seen that competition brings improvement to other areas of life. Now I don’t mean competition like Clear versus Telecom – I mean competition like wars, squash matches, or for that matter, paintball games. “What do you mean” I hear you cry, “War is a nasty thing, people get killed”. I couldn’t agree more. However, if it weren’t for the two biggest wars of this century (i.e. the two world wars) a vast amount of the technology that we take for granted today would probably still not be in commercial production. “Give us an example” the masses plead. Okay. Before WW One, the plane was a trinket, a joke, a rich mans play thing and highly unreliable to boot. By the end of, and as a direct result of, WW One it was a serious tool for mass transportation (Having unfortunately been used to kill vast numbers of people in the process). By the End of the Second World War technology had taken another quantum leap forward (again with the same unfortunate aside that a lot of people had to get their heads blown off to prove it) and the jet age was born.

“And what a you talking about Squash for?”. Well that’s pretty simple really. I play squash socially but I thank my lucky stars that there is a strong competition scene as it has lead to improved courts, balls, racquets, and shoes. The benefit to me is that I get to use these things. It great playing with friends on a glass backed court. Its definitely great playing with shoes that give me the right amount of arch support.

The same is true of Paintball. If it wasn’t for competition players wanting better and better semi-automatic markers it wouldn’t have lead to the low prices of basic mainstream social level semi’s (I’m thinking of Spyders in particular). If it wasn’t for competition players using absolutely vast amounts of paintballs, paintball prices would be even higher and (depending on your point of view) the stock would sit around longer resulting in lower quality paint at your local field. I doubt whether thermal lenses would be as widely available as they are these days if it wasn’t for the competition scene.

Basically the point I’m trying to make is that anybody involved in serious competition will demand the best equipment and environment and will strive to improve on it. The net result of this drive for continual improvement is that there are inevitable spinoffs for casual players and competitors.

Now before anyone leaps at my throat with a view to removing my windpipe from the rest of my body I will say this. The social paintball scene is as important as the competition scene. Without a healthy and dynamic social scene generating lots of keen new players there will be no tournament scene.

Right, hopefully I’ve either convinced you that tournament paintball is a good thing or you thought that it was anyway. Now I’ll try to explain what I think should be done to improve the tournament scene in New Zealand.

Firstly, the biggest problem I see is not enough people. We do live in a small country and not only that, we have (from a paintball perspective) an unfortunately low population density. The upshot of that is that it makes it damned near impossible to have a competition in Auckland which will get more than four or five teams. So, what can be done about this? Well I have a number of suggestions (and I bet that really surprises you – not).

Firstly we could reduce team sizes from seven to five. Five is a fairly common format overseas. It helps make teams easier to form and keep running. It also means that the smaller cities and towns around Auckland are much more likely to be able to put a team together to compete in major tournament. Let’s do a quick bit of analysis. With Seven players (and I’m basing this on gut feel) I reckon in an Auckland Tourney you could get two teams from the Saints, one team from Katipo, possibly one team from Kamo Karzi and possibly one team from Whangarei. That’s three teams (probably four and maybe five (yeah, there goes that flock of pigs now)). Right, let’s change that to five players. Three Saints teams, two Katipo teams, one Kamo Karzi team, one Whangarei team, and one Warkworth team and maybe one from Hamilton. Now obviously I’ve pushing a barrow here so its unlikely I’m being 100% objective but I really believe that you could get between 6 and 8 teams turning up to an Auckland based tournament if it were five-a-side rather than sevens.

Secondly I think we need a novice league. I would make it open class (i.e. semis) but I would make it limited paint (maybe 200 rounds per player per game). I would also play it in a speedball environment so that games are unlikely to stalemate and to ensure good spectating (which hopefully convinces more teams to play). I would probably determine a novice team as one that contained only one player who had played in more than two major competitions. This allows a team to have maybe one Saint or one Kamo Karzi player in it. This is not a bad thing as a player of that nature can often add large amounts of cohesion by way of their experience to a team which then means the team plays better and get more enjoyment out of playing.

I think another one of our major problems is RULES. This country needs a unified set of tournament rules. Something that everyone agrees on and that as many tournaments are played by as possible. The reason I say this is that it makes marshalling more consistent which reduces player frustration which then means it’s a more positive experience for everyone. I personally would suggest the NPPL rules or the APPL rules (which are very similar to the NPPL rules with a lot of the `Shareholder’ stuff removed).

To my mind the biggest single benefit of this is that NPPL says that tournaments have to be BYOP (Bring Your Own Paint). This lets teams with sponsorship obligations fulfill them and it also lets newer teams shop around to try and get a really good deal (and believe, me past experience tells me that it can be done). It doesn’t prohibit the field holding the tourney from selling paint at a special tourney price (as long as they are competitive) it just stops them from locking out other suppliers.

I know a lot of people complain that teams don’t travel around enough and frankly, given the current tournament scene in New Zealand I don’t blame them. If you go to a tournament outside of the island you live in (i.e. Auckland to Christchurch or vice versa) you may as well go to a tournament in Australia. Quite seriously, it will cost you no more. You think I’m joking?? I played in four tournaments last year. One in Wellington, one in Christchurch, and two in Australia. In increasing order of price they go Wellington, Australia, Australia, Christchurch. Why? Largely because we could drive to Wellington and had to fly everywhere else. Now I wouldn’t mind traveling around New Zealand to play paintball. In fact I’d love to. However the fact remains that dollar for dollar, Aussie tournaments are better organized, are of a higher standard (both in terms of competition and marshalling), generally have better fields, and overall offer better value for your paintballing dollar. If the major centres could all get good tournament scenes running with consistent rules, good quality marshal’s (to my mind and I think you’ll find a lot of competition players who will agree with me, the only good tournament marshal is a tournament player) then it would become very worthwhile traveling in New Zealand to play paintball rather than flitting over the ditch to play in Aussie.

Now I realize what I’ve said is going to irritate a few people but there is no reason for it to. Everything I have said is based on personal experience. I have played overseas (which is more than most New Zealand paintballers (either tourney or social) can claim). I have traveled too major tournaments in three of the four main centres and this is what I believe is required to give us an international quality tournament scene that overseas teams and sponsors will want to be part of.