At one time they were called "Lone Wolf" players. They were most feared in the days of the two acre playing area and the 30 minute game. The paintball Lone Wolf player seems to be an endangered species. Our fields have become smaller and smaller and it's hard to manoeuvre around opponents. In a game where you can see the opposing team's flag station when you're standing in yours, the Lone Wolf has little room to prowl and hunt.
However, there is an environment which is best suited to the Lone Wolf -- the large format game. Either a big game or scenario game is the ideal place. However, the term Lone Wolf is meant to be referred to a player who, as part of a team, sets out pass through the opposition and come around behind. They also liked to grab the flag and sneak back with it.
In a large format game, this is not going to happen. But there are players who will actually break off from large concentrations of teammates and go out on their own. It may be for ego, or the fact they like to be off on their own. In this case the lone wolf is actually a paintball hunter who is after the most illusive of game: human beings.
I call this sort of player a "Venarius", which is latin for "hunter". I use this name because the I have named Bushmaster I use to go hunting "Venarius".
The Venarius is not to be confused with what some will call and "sniper". Having been a sniper in the infantry, I know what I'm talking about. The sniper sets up in a position known as a hide. From his hide, the sniper awaits his target, takes the shot and moves on to another hide. The sniper has already caluclated the ranges in the likely avenues of approach. He also rarely gets close to his tartget. The Venarius, on the other hand, stalks his opponents, often times coming close enough to ask for a surrender. He looks for targets of opportunity and can ofeten times claim multiple eliminations from a single encounter.
So, you want to be a Venarius, eh? Well, the Venarius is a very special player, one who enjoys stalking opponents. The Venarius is at times cunning, daring, brave and above all else: Patient!
You have to be careful who you go up against. Many times, in large format games, you will be outnumbered and outgunned. It has to be to YOUR tactical advantage. You have to be patient, I mean REALLY patient. You have to wait for your ideal opportunity or be smart enough to know where to go. Don't go rushing in, take your time.
You should stop often to look around, even if you are stalking someone. The Venarius should be keenly aware of their situation at all times. You will be behind or even amonst large concentrations of opposition players. Often times you will be caught between opposing forces assaulting a posiition and those moving up to join the fight. Keep your ears and eyes open.
This is also the idea place for good camouflage. You don't have to cover yourself in foliage, just have camouflage that blends with the surroundings. Often the Venarius will have several sets of camo in different patterns so they can chose the ideal patter before the game starts or can change if the pattern they're wearing doesn't match right.
The Venarius doesn't have to be the greatest player in the world. This is because the Venarius engages opponents in situations where the Venarius has the upper hand (tactically speaking). Your opponent should not know the you are there until it is too late for the opponent to do anything about it.
When approaching an opponent you want to approach from the rear and to their "strong side". That is to say that whatever hand is holding their marker is the side you should ideally approach from. Try this, hunker down and pretend you have your marker in your RIGHT hand. Now imagine you hear something behind you. It is easier to turn to your LEFT or turn to your RIGHT to shoot? As you can see, if you are right handed, it is easier to swing your marker to your left and bring it to bear on a target. The reverse if true if you're left handed. When stalking, keep your marker pointed at the opponent. If you're coming up behind them, and they hear you, be prepared to tag them.
If you are spotted, act nonchalant. I've used a friendly wave to remove suspicion from myself. If they start shooting at you, take off! After a short sprint, stop and wait for them. If they come after you, shoot at them and scamper off again. Eventually they will either think better of chasing you or feel its not worth the effort. Also, you can always call yourself out.
If you can, have an armband that you can remove and switch to the other arm. You want to keep your body between that tell-tale armband and the intended victim. As long as you are wearing an armband, it's not cheating. If you are challenged, be a good sport and be honest about which team you are on.
PLACES TO GO
The best place to prowl is around an area your team is occupying. Your hunting grounds are about 50 yards outside of this area, so you are in behind any opposition that may be trying to attack your team's position.
Find a fire fight (just follow the noise) and come in behind the opposition. Act like you're on of them. Move as if you are advancing with them. When the time is right, stop beside a player and tell them you're on the other team and you'd like him to surrender.
Hide near a road (preferably near a blind corner) and wait for a group of opponents to pass. As they go around the blind corner, step out onto the road and hit the last guy in line and then fade back into the brush.
Hide at the edge of a clearing and pick players off as they cross it. Be sure to back out slowly and try not to take too many shots from the same area. You should have alternate firing positions to move to.
When I was a reconnaissance patrolman in the infantry, we had an expression "travel light -- travel fast". You don't need a big loader, a lot of paint or a harness to carry it all in. A four pod harness is actually too much paint. Due to the fact that most situations you will have the opportunity for one shot. When I'm out "hunting" I usually use my Bushmaster pump. I run it on a 7 ounce tank and put a stick feeder on it. I also recently mounted a silencer. (If you're going to do this, check your local laws. In some places -- like California -- if ANY type of silencer lowers the sound of a real firearm by ONE decibel, it is considered illegal to own.)
You don't need firepower. It boils down to this. You don't want to get yourself into a situation where you would have to rely on firepower. You'll usually be outnumbered, anyway.
Go off the field and rest, every now and then. You're playing at your own pace and it really doesn't matter if you miss some of the excitement. You're going to be walking around a lot, so give your feet a rest. Drink plenty of water and have a few snacks. Avoid heavy meals, they only make you slow and lazy.
Your greatest advantage is the element of surprise. Use it whenever you can. When you ask for a surrender, be forceful, but not abusive. Let them know you mean business. Usually the shock of you showing up out of nowhere will take the fight out of them.
The Venarius doesn't tell players he's on their team. They don't have to change armbands. They don't do the "dead man's walk". Although it's okay to lean up against a tree to hide your armband and wave as the opponent(s) walk past.
Being a Venarius is not all that hard. I do it all the time at large format games. You just have to keep your wits about you and be aware of your surroundings. You have to be patient and be aware that you may walk around for an hour (or longer) before you can find a "victim".
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