Friday, March 21, 2008

Combat Caching

I took a picture of my “house” and posted it in the forums a while back. I am stationed in Iraq right now and the Army just finished putting 12-foot tall barriers around everyone’s trailers. It makes for a very post-apocalyptic scene.

One of the geocachers in the forum commented that, in a less hostile environment, the area would be a great place for a paintball war. I definitely agreed with him, and told my co-workers what he had said. That’s when we started discussing combining geocaching and paintball and eventually came up with an interesting game idea. I’m not sure what we will call it yet, although I like the name Combat Caching. This seems like it would be a lot of fun.

Our idea is to combine paintball wars and geocaching into a high-tech tactical version of Capture the Flag. The idea is simply to capture the other team’s flag and bring it back to your own base while preventing the other team from capturing your flag. When the game starts, each team will be given the coordinates to their flag and another set of coordinates. This second set of coordinates will lead team members to another hidden set of coordinates, which will take them to another set, which will eventually lead to the other team’s flag, making it just a big multi-cache. Fairly simple so far, right?

Here are the complications. The other team is doing a multi-cache to your flag at the same time. And you’re all armed with paintball guns. And it’s pretty likely that at least one of your clues may be within line of sight of one of the enemy’s clues. Should your entire team attack en masse in order to be able to defend themselves and overwhelm the other team? Should you send some of your team to guard your own flag?

This would obviously require a very large area to play in. A large wooded area, possibly combined with some sort of urban industrial site, would be ideal for a lot of sneaking around. The intermediate clues could be as sadistically hidden as the Warlord cared to make them. And you would have to maintain stealth, because if the other team sees you, they are welcome to start a gun battle with you.

Also, the “flag” would not be the normal rectangle of cloth on a broom stick. It would be a much smaller item hidden in an anchored cache in a defensible hiding spot (in order to prevent the home team from re-hiding their flag somewhere else). The container would have a combination lock on it. The home team would not be given the combination. The enemy’s final coordinate set would contain a puzzle that would reveal the combination when solved.

This game could be easily modified for large groups of people. Two or three groups could be allied on each team. Each group could have their own flag. The rules could say to capture all the flags of the opposing team, or even that the winners were the first team to return any ONE opposing team’s flag to any of their own bases. Each team would be given all the first clues to all the opposing team’s flags. They would then have to decide how to go after them.

The game could also easily be modified for time available. This would simply consist of the Warlord placing clues closer together or farther apart, or changing the number of intermediate clues prior to the final clue.

There are other concerns to address, like range limits, safety azimuths, cease-fire calls, and other administrative stuff. In the end, though, this is just a bunch of geeks with GPS receivers out geocaching while trying to avoid being shot with paintballs by another bunch of geeks with GPS receivers. If they’re not real careful, though, they might wind up having a lot of fun.


Queen Ladybug said...

I'm loving this idea a lot. You could also do something similar with outdoor laser tag guns. Less pain and all! So when are you setting all this up? ;)

Webfoot said...

This has all sorts of interesting possibilities. Great idea!

Hick@Heart said...

That's some hardcore caching! I'd be a little upset when my GPSr got paint all over it! Oh wait, I don't have to worry about that, I'm a Marine! Ooh Rah! Great post and great idea.

Geocaching With Team Hick@Heart

Brian said...

I've always wanted to try paintball and if I could combine it with caching, I might just have to do it.

Very Cool!

go_man said...

Combat Caching - love the name!

Geocaching Online

Steve Natoli said...

Sounds like a terrific idea!

chaosmanor said...

From the responses I'd say that you have a winning idea :-) So when do we play?!?