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sputnikbv Thursday, March 25th, 2004
Period of
Field Use:
3 months
Last There: N/A
Paintball
Experience:
6 months
Other Fields
in the Area:
I know of SMT, but I haven't played there before.
Review: About half a year ago, I started to get into paintball with my brother and his friends. Then when Ground Zero opened up, we decided to head out there and check it out, see what the rates were, etc. After being incredibly impressed with how friendly the staff were to us relatively new to the game, we organized a group and headed out there a couple weeks afterward.

I cannot stress how great the staff and field is. Marc the owner, and to a lesser extent, the refs are extremely nice, and if you have any question, no matter how small or stupid it may be, they're always willing to answer it.

Just recently (March 21st) they had the SnowBall 2004 tourney, which was for players of all ages and skill. There were a number of teams, and the pairings were fun to see. You'd have semi-pros and pros (like the local X-Statix team) paired with little guys, about 11 years old. And when one of those little guys got tagged hopping from bunker to bunker? As soon as he got off the field and onto the sidelines, there were about 4 hands patting him on the back saying what a bold move it was. And it wasn't a case of "you shouldn't have did that, that was foolish", it was "y'know, that wasn't that bad a move... although next time you do something like that, get low to the ground to make yourself a harder target". The sense of comraderie between everyone was awesome. You'll be hard pressed to find a group of enthusiasts that are as newb-friendly as the regulars at GZ.

Now, with that out of the way, on to the field reviews:

Airball:
This field was recently purchased from Skyball, and from what I can tell, it's going to be up on a regular basis. Not to mention used a lot... who doesn't want to play on a tournament-grade field? The setup that I saw over the weekend was good. A couple changes could be made to make it better, but that's the good thing about an airball course, it's relatively easy to modify it. I haven't played on it (... yet...), but everyone who did seemed to like it. A lot. :)

Virtual Town:
It's got small prefab buildings down the sides, and the middle is peppered with old cars and boats (and in one case, a bulldozer), simulating an urban situation. Having to flush people out of buildings, taking cover behind vehicles always gets you into a SWAT-kinda mindset, and the sheer width of the field means you always have to scan the area less you get tagged when you least expect it.

'Da Maze:
If I could pick one word to sum this up, it'd simply be adrenaline. It's a 22,500 square foot maze with (i think) 7' walls. Usually your team splits up to spread out around the maze, and when you're alone in the maze, that's when you start feeling it; the sense that nothing is safe. You've got to be constantly watching the corners, looking behind to make sure nobody's there, and all the while trying to move up and be as silent as possible. After an encounter (and in the maze, they're almost certain to be CLOSE encounters) with the opposing team, the adrenaline starts flowing and it's hard enough just trying to steady your breathing not to give your position away.

Oh, did I mention that team communication is almost nil? The moment you start yelling for a teammate in the maze is the moment you let a member of the other team know you're on the other side of that wall. Hand signals are definitely a plus. :D


The Fortress:
When you're defending, you have a small plywood-and-skids outpost with a crow's nest and many windows to snapshoot from, and when you're attacking, you have to run from one hay bale to another, eventually storming the house. The two sides of the house are also open, so that means as an attacker, usually you can sneak around and take people out from -inside-, considering the defenders are usually preoccupied with trying to pick off people in front. The best thing about this course is the fact it's fun as hell regardless of whether or not you're attacking or defending.

There's also other courses, but I haven't played them yet.. there's a larger speedball field, and two forest areas, but since I haven't played them yet, I don't think I can really give you a decent review of them. Hell, even if you play the four courses I reviewed above, you'll have a great time.

The only downside? The paintball sales are the only real way they make money, so as a result, it gets kinda expensive to play for a long time. Then again, you're getting tourney-grade Diablo balls, and if you get a membership, your costs are effectively cut in half (not to mention "no green fees" as a friend called them).

Bottom line is, Ground Zero is a great new field, and you'd be hard pressed to not feel welcomed there.
 

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