Andy, mil sim isn't what we are looking for. What Belz is looking
for is what got us playing scenario, the game, the intensity, the immersion.
It just isn't there any more.
I hear you, what you want is an event that makes you feel as if you're
taking part in some sort of engagement that's as close to real as it can be,
while not raising the risks of serious injury or death. Sort of like what
what I think NBC is pitching they're going to do during their new show
'Stars Earn Stripes.'
There are a number of problems with staging such events, not the least
of which has to do with the average players lack of interest in adopting
the role he's going to be given. Couple this with his/her typical lack of
skill when it comes to carrying out their assignment, along with the fact
that they also typically unprepared to endure 24 hours under the stress
that comes from playing a emmersive role and you can begin to understand
why such events have faded from the radar.
I know what it's like to literally spend months putting together an event,
only to find that one group wasn't capable of properly guarding the key 'prop'
which was intended to play a critical role during the event. This resulted in
another team stealing the prop (20' long missile on trailer), which they then
broke down and hid for the rest of the event. Another example involved an
event which involved the use of several mock mortars, which were intended
to be moved into position during an attack on a base. Trouble was no one
wanted to be saddled with having to carry the plates and tubes, let alone set
them up. Ok, so now instead of using the script as it we'd written it, we had
to 'X out' missions and rewrite others to insure that the game still flowed
Then there's the matter of the time it takes to write a script for an event
like this. I literally spent several months once, garthering data for the first
scenario Wayne Dollack and I staged at Skirmish. Called "Into Laos, the
Search for Jim Thompson," the event involved American units, Thai PARU
forces, Cambodian and Lao tribesmen and VC elements. We went so far
as to plaster the field with wanted posters, showing Thompson along with
the notice that there was a reward for his safe return. Each player who
took part also received a 3" X 5" index card, which listed his name, unit,
MOS and some personal details about who they were. Of course all of this
took time, just as it also took time to construct the special pyro charges we
used to boobytrap various trails and critical bridge crossings. We also had
to string wire and set out a powerful PA system which was used to play
various sounds, which added to the sense of reality everyone felt. We
were so successful with all of these preperations this that we had people
thinking they were really under attack when the perimeter trip wire charges
we'd set went off, coupled with the star shell and air bursts we launched.
Was it worth it, yes because by towards the end I got to watch players, who
had been total strangers a few hours before allowing themselves to become
targets, just so their buddies could get another yard or two closer to their
final objective. Was it worth it financially, no it wasn't. I could have probably
earned more working at McDonalds, if you factor in the number of hours I
spent gathering the details, creating the player ID cards, writing the missions,
not to mention the cost of having to make two trips to Paul's field, time on site,