Water warfare, much like airsoft, and to a certain extent paintball, derives a great deal of inspiration from the military. We use military style tactics with military derived names, such as flanking attacks, ambushes, and retreats. Experienced water warriors, much like military tacticians, know how difficult it is to attack an enemy on the high ground, or how important it is to have access to ammunition resupply points during long campaigns. Sometimes we even wear camouflage.
All of this can be strange to the non-combatant or the water warrior who’s never had the chance to fight epic “hardcore” battles over rough terrain. The uninformed reader should be aware that water warriors do not try to imitate soldiers or marines, nor is water warfare the poor man’s airsoft or paintball. Waterwarfare is something different altogether. We know the high ground is difficult to attack, but not just because it’s difficult to move up hill under fire. For us it also important because gravity effects stream performance for both the attack and defender. We take ideas from elsewhere and modify them to fit our game.
On this site you’ll see a lot of ideas that have been taken from somewhere else and modified. Take for instance the sniper’s guide. CA99 pointed out to me that the article seems more like a guide to small scale ambushes than to traditional military style sniping. Indeed. We don’t designate specific people to go on secret missions and hit targets from hundreds of yards off, but we do perform ambushes individually, or in pairs, from hidden positions, and we do send out individuals or small teams along the fringes of the battle to eliminate specific targets. The purpose of the guide is to provide the reader with the tactical knowledge necessary to pull off such a feat. I do not mean to imply that team members should have certain static jobs on the team, though it is worth noting that players may be better at certain tasks and less so at others.
This brings us to the second part of my article: flexibility. This is probably the greatest thing about water warfare. There is no other game that I can think of that can have so many variables. With water warfare we can have a hit based game, an objective based game, a soakfest, or any combination of the above. There is no other game out there where ammo is free and found naturally on the battlefield. Consider water war out on a lake versus a nerf or airsoft war out on a lake, they are very different, and I’m not even sure if it’s environmentally responsible to have a lake war with airsoft. The biggest limit to our gameplay is what we can think up.
The same can be said of command doctrine and tactics in water warfare. Specialties, positions, and missions are all different things. A specialty is what someone is good at. For instance, I’m good at tracking the enemy. That means that I’d make a good point man. Tracking is a specialty. Point man is a position. Positions are usually temporary. Specialties are not, except in the rare event that someone’s talent lapses due to a lack of practice or an inability to keep up with changes in the game. Scouting is a job. A job is also temporary, although a player may find themselves frequently performing the same job due to circumstances or talent levels.
When you read the sniper’s guide, or scout’s guide, consider the content to be advice on how to perform a specific task. You’re performing a certain job because it’s advantageous to your team. Always remember that. If situations change you may be called upon to perform a different job. A strong offensive team with a 3-0 lead late in the game may find it in their best interest to evade the enemy and let the time run out rather than attack. A fast player with a Vindicator and Power Pak may be a great flanker on offense but on defense they could find themselves in a situation where the best thing for their team is to provide field refills for their teammates’ CPS 2000s. Likewise, a Stream Machine may be best used for hit and run attacks when attacking from a wooded stream, but out in a boat or on a dock you’ll want to use it in the thickest part of the action. That is tactical flexibility, and that’s what I want you to keep in mind when you read these articles. Take what you need and modify it to your specific situation. Oh, and don’t be afraid to comment with your thoughts.