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WolfPack 1 - After Action Report

 
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WolfPack 1 - After Action Report
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blindgeekuk
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Joined: 31 May 2015
Posts: 980
Fav. Blaster: Demolisher
Location: Leeds, UK



Post WolfPack 1 - After Action Report  Reply with quote
As with any after action report I do, bear with me, because this is very detailed and I can be a bit too hypercritical of things I do...

The original idea for WolfPack, a 3 team game with each team using different types of blasters, in a shared world setting giving it a lightweight larp-like element, had been floating around in my head for a while, so choosing to leave Grim Up Nerf gave me the opportunity to explore this idea in more detail.

Unfortunately, as I found with that first Leeds event last year, getting a venue is a challenge. Having had so much war experience, I knew the kind of place I wanted, and approached those kind of venues over a 6 week period, without much success - I either heard nothing back, or they simply weren't interested.

I went to see one venue, a church hall in Horsforth, which was multiple large halls, with multiple interconnecting hallways. The premises manager was excited about the prospect of me using the venue, and it was within a doable budget, but unfortunately, when he put my proposal to the church committee, I was refused due to staffing issues, and the fact that the church felt it was too unsafe. I had really hoped that being related (though not closely) to several church members, meant that I'd have had a better chance.

After 6 weeks, I was pretty much at my wits end, and when one night I couldn't sleep, I found myself watching paintballing videos, and the idea of making it super simple, speedball like games was added to the melting pot of possibilities in my head. I immediately had an idea for a venue, somewhere i'd rules out originally due to it being a single hall in a relatively hard to reach part of Leeds. Having reached out to them last year, I had an idea of the price, and availability, but I thought i'd drop them an email anyway.

And he email was a success, 30 minutes after the venue opened that day, I had a response saying "i'm pretty sure we can fit you in, and within your budget, so lets meet up and have a chat". I called in on my way home from work, and we hashed out the details, got a bargain price, and the plans for WolfPack Leeds as a fast and furious Nerf event were set in motion...

The downside... I'd planned on an end of March first event, giving me time to build up the dart pool, loaner blasters, safety glasses, barriers etc.. But the venue was eager, and could give us the day and kinda times I wanted straight away...

So, WolfPack 1.0 was born with a 10 day window to organise, promote and supply it...

Promoting wasn't too bad, I'd got a domain at xmas, and tried out a new css layout style on the page, with a countdown clock. And i'd been building up a facebook page for a couple of weeks. One thing you need to know... I don't 'do' Facebook. I have an account simply to stay in touch with some former customers and friends. Turns out managing a page is fairly easy, though the stats Facebook gives you can be a little bit addictive... Promoting that page, well, I handed that aspect over to the missus and my friends.

Supplying the event on the other hand, was, in places, a total utter balls up.

I'd started building my dart pool last summer after the house move, the big garden was great for mini wars with my girls and the neighbours grandkids, so I invested heavily in yellow koosh back in August while you could still find them. Then my local morrisons had an awesome deal on 30 packs of elites. And once I'd made the decision to leave GuN, I knew I wanted a pool as big as i'd built there. So i started hording whatever koosh i could get, orange, blue, green... And then I found waffle tips were cheaper... And I bought a fair few rebelle blasters recently, and added my girls collections of darts to my pool, and very quickly I was at 1500, and should be at 2000 by the next event.

Similarly, when it looked like we might have a loaner issue at GuN 11, I'd started collecting blasters again, via Gumtree, Sphock and Ebay. With the addition of some newer ones as well, like the vagabond, spylight, and disruptor, I had 30 or more front loading loaners.

For team bibs, I wanted something a bit more obvious than the strips of bed sheets (though I cut some up just in case), so I ordered to Youth Large sized football training bibs, 10 of each because the plan was for 10 vs 10 teams. I'm not a small bloke (ok, i'll be honest, i'm fat!), but even I can get into these bibs. Had to get them on next day delivery which wasn't cheap, but was worth it.

So, the last thing to sort were the barriers. My first set of 3 were built in 16mm pipe, and are a little bit fragile, whereas the second set of 7 were built using 20mm pipe. I'd ordered the last pipe on the 22nd Dec, and because they were closing for Christmas, they sorted it out that day and it arrived the next day. I decided i'd give them a headsup, which proved useful, as the 20mm pipe I had bought, was no longer available, and I'd have to get the higher pressure version, a whole 5p per metre more expensive (that soon adds you when you buy 100m at a time!). I bunged the order in as soon as I got paid on thursday, paid for next day upgrade just in case...

I booked friday off to be sure I was in for the various packages, and have to admit to being confused when I got the ukmail window for the pipe, and the ukmail window for the bibs, which suggested they weren't on the same van. I checked the bib delivery, position 38, with the van already on number 29... So went to check the pipe order, expecting/hoping to see number 37. Instead, I got "this package is delayed".
I rang the pipe company, who chased UKMail, only to find out the delivery had been misrouted to Newcastle, and that it would be shipped down to Leed overnight and go out for Saturday delivery. So You can imagine my surprise when 3 packages of pipe came off the van with my bibs... Cool, so I was only missing the connectors, thats fine, I can measure and cut, and glue like crazy on saturday...

It didn't help that I had to nip to the shop at the end of the road to grab some nappies, only to get back just as the postie drove off with my BSUK vest. So I fell thru the depots door at 7am, grabbing my vest, and came home to finish cutting another 8 barriers worth of pipe and to finish my event prep before the connectors. So when UKMail arrived, and brought out just one package, the missing bundle of pipes, not the missing connectors, my heart sank...

I then went into crisis mode, re-netting all the barriers I had to make them more usable, then loaded up the car and set off to walk to 25 mins down to the venue. I'd been told to arrive at 4:45 to setup, before the party before us left at 5.

And so, there began the first problem. People arrived at 4:50, and the party didn't leave until 5:15. Getting forms signed at the first event was always going to be fraught, but trying to do it on the entrance to a could pitch, with no table, and while we're trying to setup was a bit of a clusterfuck, so I'm quite surprised the we look to have forms for almost everyone, and money from everyone. Because of a scheduling conflict for Febs event, we'll have longer to setup, and there will be less people to sign up.

We ran an hour of the team games, with a winner stays on rule, and with the Britnerfers - Mr Crane + mate, Scuzzer and Justajolt acting as a third team in no mans land. I think Bristols honour as the core of UK Nerf will be safe and sound given our dismal performance against 20 kids at a time. I gave up with this after an hour, with darts only in the 'base', and only 5 barriers per pitch half, much of the pitch was a no man land, so teams bunkered down in their bases.

So, instead, I swapped to old faithful, Infection, and got all 46 players on the pitch at once. This of course caused the next major issue, lack of safety glasses... With only 25 on hand due to lack of time and money, it meant we had sufficient kids to make me a little bit concerned, and indeed, one kid took a dart to the high cheekbone later on. This won't be an issue next time, theres 36 pairs arriving next week.

An hour of Infection had the kids, and myself, almost at deaths door. The indoor pitch made 'shield walls' of blasters keeping zombies at bay effective, but made dashing for 'safety' away from zombies a hard task. I actually think I prefer this venue for HvZ.

The last hour, I threw a couple of different games at them, some wingman, 3:15, meatgrinder etc. And by this point, several of the parents watching from the balcony had decided to grab a blaster and rain down darts from above. This was something I was really hoping would happen, and if anyone has a picture of me at this point, I suspect my grin looks like the cheshire cat...

Pack up time was super fast thanks to the britnerfers help, the barriers go down really easily, especially when a couple of them had already begun to disconnect from player impacts (though none collapsed fully, testament to the robustness of my edits to Jangular's design!)

So, what was the take away from the event:
1) 46 players! And thats not counting the dads who got involved near the end. For an established war, that'd be a great attendance, but for the first war, in a new venue, with only 10 days to promote it... That's got to be some kind of record!
2) The barriers work! I personally felt bad ass dashing between them under a hail of darts, and sliding home, or getting caught short of safety. They survives player impacts, and either toppled with the player already falling, or stayed up and just disconnected slightly.
3) An indoor futsal pitch is like a TARDIS. It was simultaneously a compact space, and a long distance to cross when under fire, or while setting up.
4) Parents hadn't appreciated they were getting 3 hours for £3, and some said I was undercharging them. There were already demands made to the venue to host Nerf wars more often!
5) Reluctant parents at the start were involved by the end, and several went away asking what blasters they should buy. Thats awesome as it means more adults next month.
6) Modded gear attracts a lot of interest - of course, it helps when you have Justajolt's wrist mounted gear, and Mr Cranes HPA Magstrike (awesome in this venue), and Scuzzers light up Desolator, and my RapidPistol...
7) There were a few behaviour issues during the last hour, which i'm putting down to it being a lot of players first Nerf war, plus the late finish. While I found the 8pm finish nice because I could go collapse in a chair with a cider, for younger players, an 8pm finish after 3 frantic hours (and I must say, only GuN6 {Franksie? was it the June one?} has come close to how fast I was doing rounds) meant the kids were absolutely exhausted and i've heard from a couple of parents saying their kid was asleep before they got home.
8) We broke even. Officially, break even point was 40 players, but given i'd have spent a chunk on Nerf on myself, that instead went into the venue hire, I considered the break even point to be around 30 players.
9) The 10vs10 speedball game has merit, but needs a bit more work to make it run smoothly
10) We’re back again next month!

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Minky
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Joined: 16 Oct 2016
Posts: 417
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Location: Derby



Post Reply with quote
Circa 50 players at a brand new event! Fantastic work BGUK! 3 hours for £3 of kidult entertainment is a blinking steal!

Interesting to hear your thoughts on the space and how it shaped the strategies/behaviour of the players, using a different space like that will evolve new strategies.

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blindgeekuk
Game Organiser


Joined: 31 May 2015
Posts: 980
Fav. Blaster: Demolisher
Location: Leeds, UK



Post Reply with quote
So, the fits all pitch is about 4 badminton courts in size, breeze block walls all around, 2 small dugouts on one side, netted goals sticking out into the pitch at each end, and a doorway to reception in one corner.

We setup a large red / blue camo net barrier on the edge of the penalty circle, and two camo net barrenness and two netting barriers (scaffolding netting, more reliable at stopping darts, but more see thru), in each half.

The players tended to stick back in their bases and not go past the first line of nets, and tended to stick to either the left or right hand side. I suspect, and hope, that with more than double the barriers next months, there will be more movement.

With infection, people tended to stick to the edges, and bunch up in corners.

Definitely a very different feel to a Grim Up Nerf chapel with indoor/outdoor

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Boff
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Joined: 08 Dec 2012
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Fav. Blaster: (Modified) Stampede ECS
Location: Bristol, UK



Post Reply with quote
The field sounds a lot like the Anson Rooms BUZAN was born in. You will see bunching in corners because it's the safest thing to do: 2 of your 4 sides are covered by hard concrete. Shoot, clear, move. Smile Of course, with a decent Sergeant (we use CarrierII) you can turn the entire game into a Nerf based bleep test. Reading about it, I'd actually love to get up there for an event, it's been a while since I've played in that sort of space. Busting doors and charging battle lines is great but I feel a call to my roots... Razz

If you want more movement, you're going to need to put objectives in the centre. I think I suggested moving ammo dumps out to the middle of the field. We mostly played King of the Hill for team games so always had an objective out and about. Also it'd help having older players briefed to set the example. Have them lead teams out, clear corners and stuff to show people how it's done.

Of course, one of the down sides to this sort of space is that now we've moved beyond 75FPS as standard, a lob shot is less of a waste of ammo and more of a good idea. I agree that denser cover will help fix that.

All in all, fucking fantastic. Well done, remember to buy you a drink at BoB as a thank you for all your hard work. 10 days from venue confirmation to deployed event is amazing. That number of players and positive feedback is a very good start indeed.

I guess I should pull my finger out of my arse and get to protecting Bristol's crown. Very Happy

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Sun Jan 29, 2017 7:09 pm View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
OldNoob
Foam Data Collector


Joined: 07 May 2013
Posts: 4823
Fav. Blaster: Xtreme 180 Rapidstrike
Location: In the Boonies



Post Reply with quote
Well done! Pyramid game timers are good for KoTH. At Burn they use folding chairs as the nodes, with the timers in the cup holder, it got called "game of thrones!"
Pyramid timers more expensive but worth it. The clear stands benefit from a heavier wood base being added. They are also slightly harder to turn, which is good as you have to stop to do it.
Another good way to get movement is to play Flux, with a random game timer set from 7-15 mins. 5 points, one near each spawn, rest in no mans land. That only needs squares of wood with blue on one side, red on the other.

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Big_Poppa_Nerf wrote:

Boff whats the damage? I have spent over 3 times my Nerf budget this month already. Part of me is trying to be a responsible parent/husband/house owner. The other half is just says 'Ahhhh, Screw it!'.
Sun Jan 29, 2017 7:32 pm View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Justajolt
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Joined: 02 Jan 2015
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Fav. Blaster: "Battle Badger" Incisor or Artemis, but Nemesis is growing on me...
Location: Yorkshire



Post Reply with quote
It was lots of fun as a kitted up Britnerfer to try to withstand a hoard of minions firing mostly springers during those team games. I imagine that's how Space Marines would feel when confronted with a hoard of Gretchin... the very definition of Zerg rush...

BGUK did a great job of getting that organised and running so quickly, and with such a large turnout. I can see how speedball in that kind of arena would be a lot of fun with more barricades.

The kids loved the modded blasters! I definitely think it'll be good to get grass roots gamers playing and modding.

Regarding more movement, I've been using chess timers at parties to play king of the hill. It's not as ideal as a pyramid timer, but it certainly gets both teams fighting over ground usually abandoned in favour of lobbing shots at each other from opposite ends of the hall and they love it. It does, however, need a lot of policing to make sure that hit players go back to respawn or whatever the ruleset is you're playing!

I also liked the idea of hard and soft cover. It really changes it up having hard cover you can see through and soft cover you can't. That was a great idea and I wish I'd thought of it ^_^

We'll miss you at GuN (everyone will, but I guess by we I mean I!), but I think Wolf Pack will be a good thing for Nerf in Leeds and good thing for Nerf nationwide. We must be getting on towards having one of the strongest concentrations of Nerf activity in the world right here in the Britnerf community.

OldNoob wrote:
Another good way to get movement is to play Flux, with a random game timer set from 7-15 mins. 5 points, one near each spawn, rest in no mans land. That only needs squares of wood with blue on one side, red on the other.


Do the planks of wood have some kind of counter on them to record scores, or do you have someone standing by or something to count?

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Tue Jan 31, 2017 9:31 am View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
blindgeekuk
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Joined: 31 May 2015
Posts: 980
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Location: Leeds, UK



Post Reply with quote
Justajolt wrote:
It was lots of fun as a kitted up Britnerfer to try to withstand a hoard of minions firing mostly springers during those team games. I imagine that's how Space Marines would feel when confronted with a hoard of Gretchin... the very definition of Zerg rush...

The 8 of us stood no chance against 38 kids... though it was fun to get as far as their base before going down. With the higher expected BritNerf turnout in Feb, we stand more of a chance.

Justajolt wrote:
BGUK did a great job of getting that organised and running so quickly, and with such a large turnout. I can see how speedball in that kind of arena would be a lot of fun with more barricades.

There'll be 23 barriers in feb, so more than double. Organising/Running, it helps that I knew what to expect from the GuN experience.

Justajolt wrote:
The kids loved the modded blasters! I definitely think it'll be good to get grass roots gamers playing and modding.

I think GuN and WolfPack could host a joint mod party at this rate, to help get those players. We certainly had more own blasters at WolfPack than at GuN, so theres a community there ready to tap into to get them modding.

Justajolt wrote:
Regarding more movement, I've been using chess timers at parties to play king of the hill. It's not as ideal as a pyramid timer, but it certainly gets both teams fighting over ground usually abandoned in favour of lobbing shots at each other from opposite ends of the hall and they love it. It does, however, need a lot of policing to make sure that hit players go back to respawn or whatever the ruleset is you're playing!

Yeah, we found that players wouldn't go back to respawn when we tried the '3:15' game type, and it was one of mine and Franksie's worries when we were discussing it on Discord.
Movement should improve with better barier placement, and moving the dart pools. I'll be using the Mastodon as a objective in the middle as well.

Justajolt wrote:
I also liked the idea of hard and soft cover. It really changes it up having hard cover you can see through and soft cover you can't. That was a great idea and I wish I'd thought of it ^_^

So does Hasbro Smile
Hard Cover was OldNoob's idea, and provided via Franksie (THANKS GUYS!). I'm not sure that havign equal amount of both works, as I know I was diving for the hard cover over the camo nets...

Justajolt wrote:
Do the planks of wood have some kind of counter on them to record scores, or do you have someone standing by or something to count?

You score flux at the end - I'm a bit concerned about using blocks of wood, but we'll be trying Flux at WP2

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OldNoob
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Post Reply with quote
Justajolt- whoever controls the most points when the game ends wins. As my timer has a covered screen nobody knows how long the game will be.

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Big_Poppa_Nerf wrote:

Boff whats the damage? I have spent over 3 times my Nerf budget this month already. Part of me is trying to be a responsible parent/husband/house owner. The other half is just says 'Ahhhh, Screw it!'.
Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:50 am View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Justajolt
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Joined: 02 Jan 2015
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Fav. Blaster: "Battle Badger" Incisor or Artemis, but Nemesis is growing on me...
Location: Yorkshire



Post Reply with quote
So you put the blocks of wood in their blase area?

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Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:50 am View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
OldNoob
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Post Reply with quote
Before we go off topic-[its all in the game types forum.[/url]



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Big_Poppa_Nerf wrote:

Boff whats the damage? I have spent over 3 times my Nerf budget this month already. Part of me is trying to be a responsible parent/husband/house owner. The other half is just says 'Ahhhh, Screw it!'.
Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:55 am View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
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