"Red or Yellow?"
The key to dealing with "red or yellow" is learning how
to play at night. When my group encounters another group someone (usually me) calmly states something to the effect of the following before anyone fires a shot;
(This should be stated plainly, calmly
, and loud enough to be heard.)
"Hold your fire a second and listen. Neither of us knows what color the other is, so if you'll work with me we can all find out. I'll come out, alone, toward you. Send one representative forward to meet me and we'll compare armbands. If we are the same color we can hook up. If not we will both call ourselves out and step out of the way of the firefight. Sound good?"
to offer the choice of "We're both in, or we're both
out" to avoid the silly barrel tag war that would ensue otherwise. If you present it as I have stated it won't happen. If you have different colors just be a good sport and quietly tell him "I guess we better get the he|| outta the way, huh?"
Believe it or not this has worked every
time I have used it in the last ten years
. No group has ever just opened fire on me after I proposed this. Sometimes they're bad guys, and we walk out and laugh about it. Sometimes they're friendlies and we hook up and run our missions or hit the enemy base.
Identifiers for players
The problem with glow sticks and such is that players drop things, and others pick them up. Then there are those who would bring their own.
There is also the issue of cost. Most of us (scenario directors) haven't raised prices in years. I've been in the business for ten years and I haven't. Trust me...everything
I need to produce an event has increased in price in the last decade. Patches, laminating sleeves, duct tape, radios, batteries, ink, paper, printing, postage, insurance, computers, props, gas, etc...adding more expense is tough on us. And if anyone raises prices players will scream bloody murder.
Glow in the dark paint
The company that started that wouldn't make different colors for event promoters. Thus there was no way to control use of non-event paint. Once they do I am all for it. But, due to the reasons stated above, we need
paint sales to survive and continue to provide the service that we do for the players.
Controlled missions and field access at night
The most important thing I've learned is that players want to play.
They don't want to be "magically" out. (Chem weapon, air strike, etc) They want to be shot
out. They want to get up when they want, get on the field when they want, and leave the field when they want. Getting them on the field at all at night is tough. Get them to do so when they know that they may have to stay at the base would make it impossible to get them out there at all. The result: No night play due to no night players
Trust me...we are always looking for ways to better serve the players and provide the most fun possible. But dumbing down the game and making it so that players don't have to think isn't the way to do it. I've heard of night games where everyone wore a glow stick. Those who had never played at night thought it was okay. Those who had played regular night ball before thought it sucked and said they'd never play that way again.
Part of excelling as a player, or as a team, is learning how to deal with things. I went to one event where I brought six gross (gross = 12 dozen) little plastic whistles. (The ones with the little turbine that go "wheeeeee" when you blow them, and you could do so loudly or quietly) I got them at a novelty store super cheap. (You could try Oriental Trader Online for such things now) I gave one to every player on our side and told them to put it on their lanyard or string with their badge. We were playing the NVA (North Vietnamese Army) and, whenever we met players on the field (especially at night) you would hear "wheeeeee" and know they were friendly. If you blew yours ang got no whistle in return, you shot the krap out of them.
During the final battle all the NVA player would blow them really loud during charges. It was awesome! (In a silly kinda way)
I remember you guys. You had your sh*t together. So take a lesson from the Marines...improvise, adapt, and overcome. Look at the problems you are having, put your heads together, and you'll figure out ways to deal with it.
If you want more ideas, or someone experienced to bounce ideas off of, drop me an email. I've been around since the first scenario game...and I'm more than happy to help.