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nchittendon Tuesday, August 10th, 2010
The accuracy of this review is disputed. Please see discussion below.
Period of
Field Use:
Just once
Date There: August 7th, 2010
Paintball
Experience:
More than 5 years
Other Fields
in the Area:
First Strike Paintball Games, Bubba's Paintball, Splat Tag, Oklahoma Dday, Stalker Paintball....all have ups and downs but all quite organized.
Review: I regularly play with a group of folks who have basically "grown up" at Hidden Valley. They have been trying to get me and my team to go there for a couple years now. I have heard nothing but great things about the field, besides maybe a couple warnings of a little dis-organization. No big deal.
They have their two major "big games" annually. The Alamo, and Battle of Bocage. I missed the Alamo game this year and the reviews and recaps I was given by a few of my teammates that attended were sketchy. I finally decided that I needed to check this place out for myself. So, I signed up for the Bocage game.
The Bocage game is a two day event that allows people to start showing up on Friday night and lets them camp on the property through the weekend. Pretty loose group that lets you have bon-fires, and no real curfew as some places have. They also allow alcohol consumption on the property. Not a problem in my book, as long as it's controlled by the individuals. Some may find it a problem though which is why I mention it.
The safety briefing before the game started..........you all know the drill. Barrel blockers, masks on at all times, no bunkering, no over shooting, blah, blah, blah. Not this one. This one mentioned to not shoot at the remote controlled airplane because it was going to be taking pictures. This one mentioned not to disturb a huge bees nest right in the middle of the playing field because the owner's brother collects bees nests. That's right, don't shoot the bees nest or disturb it in any way! Did anyone ask if there was anybody that might be allergic to bees? No. I only heard a small fraction of the normal "rules" that usually accompany a paintball game. This gave me an uneasy feeling and only led to problems throughout the day I feel.
I arrived saturday morning. I was told per the website and other sources that the game was to start at 09:00. We were on the field waiting to start at 10:30. Again, not a big deal in my book.
The particular field we played was a valley. Flag station on each side on top of the hill. One side had a corn field for cover and a couple bunkers. The other side had washed out over-grown ditches and trenches for cover. Woods on the borders were out of bounds. The dead box that was shared by both sides was at the 50 yard line just out of bounds. Nice dead box. Simple, but effective. It was manned by a ref who was holding a clock in his hands timing the 15 min. re-insertions. Out of the dead box, you were supposed to get back to your base to tap in. This rarely happened on both sides from what I saw. From one side of the field, you had only a frontal assault. The other side of the field was given the option to sneak through a corn field to the back side of the base, and come up on their 6. Added an interesting element to the game. However, after the lunch break, and there was a "switch sides" directive given (typical), we took the field. Not until we got to the top of the field did a couple people mention that the option to go around the back side was gone now. They said it was unfair. So one side had the option, but when switching sides you take that option away. Changing the rules on the fly.....this is the dis-organization I was warned about. The game was halted to take up the matter with the field owner. He overturned the points gained using the option in the previous game. Then started the game without one whole side not even having masks on. One side came charging towards the valley shooting, and the complete other team didn't have their masks on. I overheard the head ref screaming at the field owner that he did not call game on. Scary.
As far as referees, they were in short supply. One in the dead box, and four on the field........sitting on quads near the side lines. One ref was dead center and he did all of the work. He was the head ref. Great guy, WAY overworked for no good reason. There were between 80 and 100 people on the field with at least 6 flag stations. Not nearly enough reffing staff. That is the first major problem I noticed here.
Cheating was an issue on both sides. That happens anywhere and is a problem with the sport more than the field. More reffing staff would have helped contain it a little bit, but not completely.
Field staff. The field owner is the dad. The daughter and son-in-law (head ref) run the show. I did my best to offer advice which was asked of me. The daughter was quite compassionate about the sport and helping her field grow. If you offered advice to the dad, you were scrutinized and labeled as a "cry baby.".....which many were that day. Some did come off in that fashion, others like myself, were only trying to help. We were also told from the field owner that he "doesn't care if we ever come back. He doesn't need us." And I quote. In short, because I could go on all day, too many chiefs, and not enough Indians.
I was given an exclusive tour of the rest of the property by the daughter of the field because I had not seen the rest of the field at that point. VERY NICE FIELD!!! They have a lot of time, money, and effort into the property itself, that was obvious. It was almost breathe taking for a small town field in Wisconsin. If only that same kind of passion was put into the other critical parts of the game this place could easily be hosting 300-400 person games on a regular basis.
The Alamo game from the spring of 2010 was apprx 40 people. This Bocage game was apprx 90 people.
A number of people who have played this field for years were driven away during this game because of how they were treated by the staff. They assured the owner they would never return to which the owner replied, "perhaps the games will have to be invite only from now on." I feel they should listen to their players, their customers.
I've been paintballing for over 18 years now. I have played fields from one end of the country to the other. I am a business owner, and a team captain/owner. The efforts of some of the staff were tremendous. Only to be forgotten by the treatment from other staff. Nice field, I hope they can find a way to listen to the feed back instead of pushing it away.
I am in no way attacking Hidden Valley. These events are truthful and they did happen. I only want to see paintball as a whole grow, and that includes paintball fields in general. This one included. I for one, will not be returning.
 

Review Comments
cyprian Saturday, October 16th, 2010 | 10:53 pm PST
Dispute:
Just a few notes to address this posters big concerns and why he wont go back.

1.)His friends who grew up playing there also have historically had many problems there. Groups are also allowed to participate in these big games, people like bacholer parties and so on. It never fails that these private parties always either leave early or say they will not come back because of the individuals who"grew up"there. These groups were constantly being overshot, and on several occasions high chronoed weapons were found by a field chrono. Also the individuals always wiped. Not just once or twice, which I would not complain about but always. I have personally witnessed these people doing this and even commenting about the cheating after the game as a joke. On side note these individuals he is reffering to are about 19-21 and ultra competative have to win kind of people, they dont play for fun.

2.)Refs--- Yes they were short in supply that was true for this particular game. The owner had 2 refs cancel on him for this game, but even he said personally to me and others that he felt bad because he knew he needed more refs and said people had given him that advice and that he would have more next time.

3.)Last thing the rule change in the middle of the game issue. This rule was changed on the original posters team, because of the previous mentioned people who grew up there. They complained about it so much(again I personally witnessed this) that the owner said "fine then we will take it out of play."

I have played paintball for 13 years now and I have played at this field for the past 5 or so, in my opinion its the best I have ever played at. No field is perfect, but the people that run this one care about the sport and want people to have fun not just win at any cost.
Last edited on Saturday, October 16th, 2010 at 10:58 pm PST
   

nchittendon Monday, November 1st, 2010 | 11:47 am PST
The review was posted as my opinion. I stated only facts of what happened through out the course of the day from my personal view. From my understanding, this is allowed on pbreview and I am not understanding a dispute from a person who was there and only posted his views of the day. There was no slander, there was no out of line talk about the field. I personally talk with the owner's daughter occasionally without issue.

And I've been 'ballin for 18 years, which has nothing to do with the original review. It was a player's opinion of a field after playing there for the first time. From what I can tell, it's well within the rules, so a dispute seems kind of out of line. Again, just my opinion.
   

Andy Skibba Monday, November 1st, 2010 | 5:07 pm PST
Hi. My name is Andy Skibba. I am one of the friends you referred to. I would like to express concern about a few things:


I. "His friends who grew up playing there also have historically had many problems there.Ē
i. Can you be more specific to the problems that have been had? The River Rat paintball group, the name we like to go by, have always been in good graces with Gary and Deb and usually have an amazing time at Hidden Valley. That is why we have been to 7 straight years of the Battle of Bocage. Combined, our group has been to around 100 events at Hidden Valley, with somewhere around 150 years of paintball experience between all of us.

II. Groups are also allowed to participate in these big games, people like bachelor parties and so on. It never fails that these private parties always either leave early or say they will not come back because of the individuals who "grew up" there.
i. I have never heard of any parties leaving because of our group of players. We always have a ton of fun with the groups, and make it a point to include them and make sure they are having as much fun as possible.

III. These groups were constantly being overshot, and on several occasions high chronoed weapons were found by a field chrono.
i. Who and when? I personally always chrono at 280 fps or lower, even though the field rules state 300 fps. There may be days where it is slightly higher, but you can always tell, and it is adjusted accordingly.

IV. Also the individuals always wiped. Not just once or twice, which I would not complain about but always. I have personally witnessed these people doing this and even commenting about the cheating after the game as a joke.
i. I was just curious as to which players you were referring to with this comment. The River Rat paintball group prides itself on playing with honor and integrity as much as possible. I know that I will call myself out, and then check for hits.

V. On side note these individuals he is referring to are about 19-21 and ultra competitive have to win kind of people, they donít play for fun."
i. SoÖyouíre saying the guys that go out and play in jock straps and flags donít play for fun? Really? Maybe your definition of fun is different than the rest of the universe.
ii. The reason I play paintball is for fun. Why else would you play it? Iím not in it for money or anything else, which would cheapen the experience.

2.) Refs--- Yes they were short in supply that was true for this particular game. The owner had 2 refs cancel on him for this game, but even he said personally to me and others that he felt bad because he knew he needed more refs and said people had given him that advice and that he would have more next time.

It happens. I know Gary tries hard, but maybe Gary will learn and will hire more refs

3.)Last thing the rule change in the middle of the game issue. This rule was changed on the original posters team, because of the previous mentioned people who grew up there. They complained about it so much (again I personally witnessed this) that the owner said "fine then we will take it out of play."

i. We "complained" because your side was allowed to use it, and utterly dominated, while our side was not. It was about keeping everything fair for both teams. For the record, points were taken away for using the area, as it was technically out of bounds.

   

luckydog Monday, November 1st, 2010 | 10:01 pm PST
OK, I'll join in with a few points of this day. This was my first experiance at this field(was all but begged by a regular, to come play), and it will be my last time playing there. I found the unorganized manner in which this event was held to be enough that I did not have fun. I found the Allied team's attitude to be totally lacking in sportsmanship and fair play for the majority of their players, including a couple challenges to fight by a couple of them! Not cool at all!!!!!!
Some examples:
Allied tank was allowed to shoot people from the out of bounds area, before it entered field of play! Half my unit was eliminated by this happening, and the ref just stood by and watched while we yelled, "He's out of bounds!"

None of the refs that I noticed made paint checks on players, and I was told to stop yelling at them by one ref. When a player has an obvious hit, and is still shooting me, I'm gonna yell for a ref to get in there and check them!! I understand some of you knew they were short staffed, but the reffing staff made no effort to pick up the slack.

Overshooting was happening from both sides, and I think alot was due to frustration and the allowing of FULL AUTO. When full auto is allowed( I remember hearing the owner saying if you have it, you should be able to use it!) there will be people getting lit up! We had a young player on our side take 10-20 shots at close range from one guy. I was not happy with that!

You cannot change boundries half way through the day! It was funny how this was allowed for the Allies when they attacked from their side in the morning, but we were told NO when we had that side in the afternoon.

Do NOT let someone well out of view of the players start the game!!!!!!!!!!!! We were all unprepared, waiting for clarification on the boundry change, when this guy starts the game. That is how people get hurt!

For the money I paid for entry and paint, I could have had a much better time at a few other fields closer to my home! This event was poorly run, and charged more money for entry and paint(not even high end paint) than I paid for much bigger, better organized events.
   

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