By: Tony B.
The last day of the ren-fest water war was a trip to say the least... About 75 total participants. Since it had to take place after the public had been cleared off the site, it was dark when we got out of our ren garb and into serious soak-battle gear. Several wetsuits were in evidence this year. We told our team to minimize QFD-using soakers this year as that was a serious bottleneck last time. We filled several 68qt marine coolers with ice, topped them with water, and loaded them onto carts to our refill area (we're MEAN suckers). There were 2 QFD's for those of us with no alternative. We had 3 people whose sole task was managing the refills (REMF's?). There were also about 6 dozen 2-liter soda and gatorade bottles placed strategically for emergency refills. Our opponents had two castle towers this year, about 10 feet higher than ground level, complete with crenelation; so they had a defensive advantage; defense is for losers, anyway.
I wore my usual combo of a 3200 and two SC backpacks. My face shield was worth its weight in gold, as always. The high intensity flashlight on the 3200 blinded the enemy very nicely. I removed the laser sight from the 3200, as there were (valid) safety concerns - lasers tend to damage eyes. We also banned water balloons as they seem to have played a part in virtually every injury we've had (on either team) in the past - mostly when they struck people in the face. No big loss; I always hated filling the darned things (over 500 the last time we used them, and they were double-ballooned, to survive the launch from the potato cannon calliopes - remind me to tell you about THOSE beauties). Anyhow, it was dark, but the field was illuminated by some 500 watt halogen work lights we suspended from the trees.
Everyone (from both sides) seemed to be more interested in arguing about the rules than gettin' it on... So, being the type of soak-slut that I am, I started meandering over toward the other side's defenses... I got about half way and when I turned to see who had come along, the only one there was the 10-year old son of one of our wenches. It was one of those defining moments: I looked at him and said, " So whaddaya say kid? Wanna go start a war"? Needless to say, we were immediately overwhelmed and inundated, but it sure got things started. The battle was quickly reduced to chaotic pandemonium, with dozens of skirmishes, hit & runs, and showdowns. I spent most of my time stationed between the two enemy towers, about 20 feet out. Every time one of their guys popped his (or her) head up, I'd nail em. It got to where I would anticipate their appearance, and time my shot to catch them just as they'd appear over the parapet. It was way cool. It was easy to do with the SC backpacks, as I could target both towers simultaneously. When I ran out of water, I'd use the 3200 to battle back to the refill area. Worked out pretty well. The ice-water came as quite a shock to the other guys...literally! Hypothermia is my friend and ally! I was so involved in the battle that I didn't notice it was raining until my 2nd refill ( I found out later that it had started just after the first shots). The whole thing went on for about an hour, and everyone had a blast. No injuries this year, which was a nice bonus, and validated our decision to not allow balloons.
That was about it. Who actually won depends on who you ask, but I believe we whupped em again, if only by the fact that we outnumbered them and had a better refill/support plan - our people spent more of their time soaking, rather than waiting to fill up.
I just bought a new Splash-Zooka; 65 oz. capacity. It is like an SC backpack unit without the pack (and with only one nozzle choice). Two of these would make a very serious combo, and though not as versatile as the setup I use, it has the advantage of lighter overall weight and retains independent multiple targeting ability. The downside is that a 'zooka only holds about half the water of the SC, and still REQUIRES a QFD. It does balance pretty well, and if your opponent is not familiar with the unit, it will come as a serious wake-up call when you unload the entire reservoir without having to pump (short, controlled bursts or a "Tom Hanks League-Of-Their-Own-Endless-Pee stream - your option).