I usually start with the good, but there's just so much more bad about this I think I'll start with that instead.....
- Paint. There is a thin line between making profit and highway robbery. This isn't about making a profit and paying the bills anymore, this is just flat out greed. Skirmish buys in MASSIVE bulk quantities. I mean so large that they actually use the same paint months down the road. That wouldn't be so so bad had they actually a temperature controlled room. No, it's just a big shack where the temperature fluxuates. So I'm sorry, 100 + tax for low quality Zap and 32* paint really ticks me off. I know fields charging less for Evil!
- Referee/Staff. The referees are basically in 4 categories. 1 is the non-existent ones. As to where you'll be on the field for some time and not even see a single referee. The second is uninformed. During their events it's sad when a 13 year old who skimmed the pamphlet paper on the Scenario they're hosting actually knows more than the referee staff who is actually working there. And the final 3rd kind is lazy. The refs that are either too busy eating and sitting, or are actually on the field but forget they're working. Besides those, there are the handful of good referees who do work well. But they are so few and far between it's hard to spot them like albino deer.
- Air fills. Sure they are easy access, but they are unsafe. I've tested them a few times with (on purpose knowingly) bad tanks that should be disqualified. Different reasons each. My favorite was a DOT-3AL tank I brought that was covered in nothing but rust. But low and behold, these people have absolutely NO training apparently (yes, they did fill that tank). Or else each time I did these I would have been declined a fill. I've taken safety courses so I am a certified air-technician and this lack of safety at their fill stations really frightens me. And not only that, but they don't have any scales to weigh CO2 tanks when filling. I can't even count the number of times I've seen overfilled CO2 tanks burst disks blowing in the staging area or on the field. I don't have enough fingers on my hand.
- Stagine area. Not so much Skirmishs' fault for ignorant players, but it is their fault for not enforcing. The number of times I've seen walking around without barrel blocking devices and their barrels pointing at people (like their face for example) is astounding. I've actually had to tell the refs walking past these guys, "Hey, you might want to tell him to put on a barrel plug."
- Goggles ON! This must be overlooked. Every few feet I keep seeing people taking off their masks, normally newbies who just don't understand the danger. One time I had to tackle somebody and cover his face (mind you I was a player not a ref, but doing his job) because they fogged up, and he took them off DURING a firefight with somebody only 25-feet in front of him..... SHOOTING at him while he took it off. The refs occasionally tell people to keep their masks on, but they have no enforcement. They just yell at somebody 75 feet away instead of physically approaching and making them put them on or else ejecting them for the day. Paintball is under constant litigation, and this would be the last thing we need is newbies going blind because there are almost no refs on the field to enforce the Goggles On policy.
- Chronographing. Or lack there of. They attempt to have a policy, but anybody can just walk right in and on the field whenever they chose. They don't have anybody enforcing the chronographing and chrono-checked markers as they enter the fields. This will help explain why there are usually many people shooting hot. And why there was one very memorable occasion where somebody was shooting an Impulse so hot he actually cracked somebodys' lens.
There's a bit more, but that list is long enough as it is. Now for the good.
Rentals: They have PLEANTY of rentals. If there is ever a massive flood of players for an event, they are covered.
Fields: Gigantic selection, many are extremely fun. These are easily some of the best fields you will ever see. If you have a high tolerance to ignore some problems and want to play here, these fields are very memorable.
Owners: They are nice people. Polite, kind, very professional. They don't just own the place and sit back, they are actually there at the staging area and working. They aren't lazy.
Overall, if they would work on said problems above this would be an excellent complex. However money seems to be more important than safety. And until they fix their major problems I shall never again participate playing in any of their events.
OK, where to start. STORAGE OF PAINTBALLS: Skirmish does have a climate controled enviornment for the paintabll storage area. It controls humidity and temperature alike. AIR FILL TRAINING: Skirmish does trian its new refs on how to properly fill tanks (CO2 and N2), however, Pennsylvania does not require an air-technician license or certificate for an individual to fill such small tanks. Licensing is only required when dealing with large bulk tanks. If you don't like this, then write a letter to your congressman or state lawmakers. SCALES FOR CO2 TANKS: Skirmish does not need scales to fill their own rental CO2 tanks because they have pressure relief valves on them which was designed by Tippmann which makes it impossible to overfill the rental CO2 tank. Privately owned CO2 tanks are different. Skirmish staff does use scales when dealing with private tanks. BARREL PLUGS AND GOGGLES ON POLICIES: The most imporatnt policies for all of Skirmish staff are the barrel plugs and goggles on policies. All of us customers are warned many times throughout the day of both of these policies. The Skirmish insurance carrier and state law requires it! Any moron who violated these policies is usually given a final warning. Beyond that - the customere goes home without a refund. I know because I've seen it! CHRONOING IN: Skirmish uses staff called "chrono cops" to over see people getting their guns chronoed at 280fps or less. However, people with their own guns usually have their own chrono keys - and they take them onto the field with them. It is all too comon when idiots turn up the velocities on their guns in the middle of the game - sometimes for giggles - sometimes to "punish" someone else. There's really no way to regulate customers who are hell-bent on firing their guns hot. If you're the victim of a hot gun, just tell the ref and ask that the offending person get re-chronoed.
I have to agree with Meph on this one. Though i know nothing about the Storage of paint at Skirmish, I cannot argue that point. And just because state law doesn't necessitate a license or certificate doesn't suddenly make the procedures they follow 'safe'. At one event, my teammate was hit by fill-hose because the kid turned the air on without a tank hooked up. My first thought would be to move the tanks away from the crowds. As for the goggles/plugs policies, i've seen on more than one...heck, more than five occasions where the refs themselves had their goggles off during the game. One time i even saw a ref pull his mask off and set it down to better see why a players gun was down during a fire fight. I had to tell the Ref to put his goggles on. Pathetic. My only experiences at Skirmish were during big games so i can't account for play during a rec-ball day. The excuse may be that there are too many players to regulate but thats not the players fault. If you can't run a safe game with enough educated refs, don't run the game at all. Chrono-ing, i agree with both. Pez has a point with the idiots who crank their guns up, but during those big games, i see people all the time walking directly past the chronies, or not even thru insertion points, but from the parking lots where no refs are around at all. The one memory that sold me (or un-sold me rather) on Skirmish was during a 12 hour game. During a firefight involving well over 50 people I noticed repeated instances of 'wiping' on both my team and the other team. I looked for a ref to do something and spotted a group of three of them...about 150 yards from the firefight, backs turned, masks up, smoking cigarettes and chatting. After being eliminated myself, i went over there to complain about the wiping, and the lack of reffing during the firefight and all i got was 'we'll keep an eye out' and they went right on talking, still with the masks up. I havn't been back to Skirmish since that game, because of that game, so i can only hope that they have improved since then. I admit, my experience was in 2001 but my whole point is this: Referrees are supposed to Referree the games. In my opinion, this means (in any sport) making sure the players are following the rules and regulations, making sure safe procedures are being followed, and keeping the players organized for the benefit of all. This isn't some of the time, this is ALL of the time. This doesn't mean only some of the refs, this means ALL of the refs. The good refs at Skirmish i'm sure all agree with us too, and I'm sure they are trying to do what they can about the problems. But until i hear otherwise, and i havn't yet, i plan on staying away from Skirmish.
You say it's climate controlled, I've had other employees there say it's not. Eh that's not the real point, but the outrageous prices for the quality of paint. That money doesn't go into referees or training them. D-Day 2004 weekend…I can't count the number of people I've had complain to me about lazy refs, refs laughing at them, and ignorant refs. I did see a couple good refs but they are few and far between.
On top of that HUNDREDS of players in the staging-area without barrel plugs on! This ain't one or two, this was literally more than I could count for players endangering everybody elses' well being. And where are the refs while this happens? There isn't any refs wandering the staging area! Some are on break at the time, but they don't do anything (they're on break afterall, they can't work gotta relax). There were even players in the camping area firing at one another without anybody there to kick them out!
On top of just staging area, on the field is unbelievable. I am honestly amazed that God is working overtime, because only a miracle can prevent people at Skirmish from losing an eye. From just the staging area looking onto the beach I see people IN THE MIDDLE OF FIREFIGHTS while being shot at lifting their goggles. And no ref enforcement. Skirmish is a safety hazard all together, period. "We had so many people, lets see your field handle them all!" that's when you decline players enterance. But that won't happen since Paul is more interested in MONEY than SAFETY! That's the bottom line. I'm not being a "renegade" who's hallucinating I have players constantly tell me about their horrible experiences and see them myself too. Or they are showing them to me with bloody welts the size your palm. Being shot by somebody shooting 390fps is not fun, it's worse when that player isn't punished but left alone so he can shoot more paint instead. And I do not hear only safety complaints, no. But the refs have turned more into the FPO police than safety enforcers. More people were being checked to make sure they used Field Paint Only rather than checking velocities, or enforcing goggles on. It's sickening. But as is Skirmish Profit before Safety.
I am very tempted to make a video documentary of the safety hazard that is the Skirmish Experience and take that tape to the insurance company. If there even is one I'm skeptical, because if they don't know about these problems that's a shocker.
Overall I will not attend Skirmish games for the simple fact that I fear for my own safety. And I'm not joking. This place doesn't deserve my business, Skirmish is the poster-child of what a field SHOULD NOT be!
Last edited on Tuesday, July 13th, 2004 at 11:28 am PST