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Hurricane Paintball Park

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Kong Island
by Bill Mills - April 2005
Photos by Dawn Mills

In April of 2005, Hurricane Paintball Park in Palm Bay, Florida became a tropical South Pacific Island – and home to Kong.  The Kong Island 24 hour scenario game pitted two teams against each other, while throwing in some wild cards like the legendary ape, and a movie starlet.

For the municipal paintball field, Kong Island turned out to be an adventure in more ways than the scenario taking place on the field.  A severe spring thunderstorm ripped through the space coast and points north only two days before the event leaving large amounts of water and torn field netting in its wake.  Palm Bay Parks and Recreation crews hit the ground running as soon as the skies cleared and re-netted the main parks main fields, which are used for scenario play.  The speedball fields remained partially un-netted and were used to allow teams to camp on site during the event.

While many pre-registered for the event, the weather shed dim prospects on the weekend, and actual event attendance hit just over 150 players.  Those who did risk the chance of playing under rough skies were instead treated to great weather – and the challenges of playing on a field with a lot of standing water.

Through the parks naturally wooded fields puddles and swamps had formed as the land did not yet have time to fully drain.  Bridges that normally were mostly cosmetic, or for passing over shallow trench lines became key to crossing areas of the forest without getting soaked.  Of course for die-hard players, charging straight through the water just added to the fun.

Paint and air was provided on site by General Chester's Paintball, and National Paintball Supply brought out one of their show trailers offering special event pricing on many of their recreational paintball oriented products.

The scenario, which was directed by Don Curry was set in 1939.  It pitted two teams a group of Japanese soldiers whose boat had sunk (red team) and a group of Australian sailors (blue team) whose plane had crashed, against each other.  Both were trapped on a south pacific Island that was rich with oil, and native people.  Both teams had the ultimate goal of getting off the island and reporting back to their countrymen so that they could exploit the oil reserves.

The game started on Saturday, and it wasn’t long before the Blue team was showing a distinct advantage.  By the afternoon, they had completed 7 of 12 missions while Red had only finished 3.  During the day, generalship had changed hands between Richie Santos to Ashley Elder, both from team Total Chaos.  As the play become more lopsided, tempers on the field, flared and the game was stopped for about an hour to make some changes.  One of the reasons for the imbalance was the large number of more experienced players, primarily members of the Roge Warriors, playing on the blue team.  Scenario Director Don Curry commented that, “Althought Terry had never been a general before, the players who had been surrounding him realized that you don’t just win by shooting people.”

By re-distributing some players, and putting in the Red Team’s third general, Willie Delgado from West Palm Tactical, the game resumed better prepared to return to an even keel.

Adding to the intrigue of the story line were some non-player characters.  The most formidable was Kong, portrayed by Rick Jones.  Jones, clad in a gorilla suit occasionally wandered the field in the role of the giant ape.  As a gorilla, his attention was caught by movement, so players would freeze and hold still as he went by.  Kong was immune to the fire of paintball guns, but he was armed with a 250 fps paintgun, and being hit by it represented being stepped on by the big monkey.  As a last ditch effort, players who had attracted Kong’s interest could distract him by tossing a stuffed animal in his direction.  This tactic would usually keep him interested enough in the potential food that they could get away.

Hershall Goodman played the island’s native chief.  It was beneficial for either team to befriend the natives, as they had several advantages.  Trading food items and other props found on the field, the teams could negotiate for war canoe rides, or a guide to take them through the island’s cave network.  Both of these options held the same function as a helicopter insertion in most scenario games. 

The “war canoes” consisted of a native guiding a group of players around the perimeter of the field.  They were immune to paintball fire, as they were considered to be offshore in a canue.  Similarly certain bunkers had been designated as cave entrances, and a guide could take a group of players to one cave entrance, and then lead them, fully protected to another.  Just as helicopters are susceptible to missiles, both of these transports methods had their weaknesses.  Either side could pay the native chief to pray to his sea or land god, creating a giant wave that would sink a canoe, or an earthquake that would cause a cave in.

The red team made some strong moves, gathering all of the fuel cans that were on the field.  These were important props, but without having a generator, they proved to be of no benefit.

For the final battle, which came on Sunday, local store owner Chester Bombriant stepped into the role of an American movie director whose yacht was offshore.  He negotiated an offer with each side.  If they would help him capture Kong, and give him the movie rights to their story, he would transport them off the island.  Each side agreed, setting up the game’s final battle.  The blue team checked with a ref to ask about their mission to catch Kong.  When they were told there wasn’t a mission to catch Kong, but it wasn’t fully explained that the deal was part of the game’s story line, they figured Chester was setting them up for a double cross, and chased him off the field.

The reason there was no actual hunt for Kong was that the movie director was the setup for the final battle.  It seems that while he was negotiating with the teams his movie starlet daughter, portrayed by a mannequin, had been captured by the natives and was tied in the center of the field to be served up as an offering to the great beast.  The two teams then had to fight each other to save the girl.

In opposition to the way they started the game, the Red team win the final battle.  Unfortunately, due to their slow start, they hadn’t accumulated enough points to win the game, which went to the Blue Team.


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