Last night one of my friends suggested having a water fight today, since the weather forecast predicted a hot 27C (though with a heavy wind warning). Plans were made and my three friends arrived today in the afternoon (for the sake of this article I will call them Roger, Yarning and William). None of them had their own soakers yet, so I laid out my five best working soakers (Vindicator, Pulse Master, Orca, Tiger Shark and Renegade) out on the lawn for them to choose from. After the three of them had chosen, I was left to choose out of the Tiger Shark and Renegade. I decided to go for the Renegade since I believed it to have a better range than the Tiger Shark and was interested to see how it would fare as the only air pressure soaker on the field. The weather during the water fight was overcast but still warm (nowhere near 27C but still nice for a water fight); shortly after we finished the sun broke through the cloud cover and increased the temperature significantly (though if that had happened during the water fight we would have likely gotten sunburnt, so it was probably better the way the weather turned out).
For the water fight we used the entire area around my house. At the back there's a garden and deck, while at the front there's a concrete area for cars in front of the garages (no cars were parked there today however). To the right of the concrete area is a path that leads to the front doorsteps; off to the right of that path are square stepping stones that go through dark native bush to a narrow path that goes along the right side of the house (opening out to the top of the back garden). At the bottom of the garden there's a washing line that runs along the left side of the house parallel to the narrow path; a gate at the end of the washing line opens through to the front concrete area.
Team Elimination, Round 1:
We decided to start off by playing a 2 vs 2 one-hit elimination game; in the first round I was paired with Yarning and his Vindicator. We started at the top of the back garden while Roger (Orca) and William (Pulse Master) started at the washing line. Yarning and I held the top of the garden and soon noticed the other team at the end of the narrow path down the right side of the house (they had snuck around the front of the house to the end of the stepping stones). Exchanging a few shots with them, a few minor drops hit my legs. Both teams moved in an anti-clockwise circle following each other slowly, until Roger and I decided to hold the washing line area. I was behind a wall, peering out every few seconds to watch the back garden while Roger was at the other end of the washing line, watching the concrete area out front. Soon I noticed Roger walking down from the top of the garden towards us. He noticed me and charged, shooting half a shot from one of the Orca's lower nozzles which I avoided by remaining behind the wall. As soon as I noticed his stream losing range, I charged him down and shot him while he frantically pumped while backpedaling and shot at me. We both ended up getting wet, so declared ourselves out and waited for a victor to emerge out of Yarning and William (I'm not sure who won that though).
Next I paired with Roger (Orca) who I started at the washing line with; Yarning and William started up the top of the garden. We quickly set up at the washing line, with me watching the back garden (as I had the round before) and Roger setting up behind a recycling bin to watch the front area (he crouched behind the bin with his Orca aimed over the top). Yarning and William had snuck around the far side of the back garden (a picket fence runs down the middle, making the grass area roughly oval shaped) and tipped the trampoline up on one of its sides to parody Roger's recycling bin fortification. While they were in plain view in line with me, they were still out of range so we held our position. They disappeared for a bit however and we thought they may be sneaking around the other side to the house to attack us from the front at Roger's end. Suddenly they began to charge at me from the trampoline. I sprinted past Roger yelling "coming!" since he was faced away from them. Both of us ran through the gate and around the corner to the safety of the front concrete area, trading a few shots with the other two who were now at the washing line. I left Roger to hold them off and crept along the stepping stones and down the narrow path of the right side of the house with the intention of catching Yarning and William from behind. As I crept out the end of the narrow path and crouched behind a bush I noticed them making their way up the garden in my direction slowly, pumping their soakers. Since they had not seen me yet, I decided to try to get them both while they were (hopefully) at low pressure. I ran out from behind the bush across the grass shooting in their direction and running straight ahead to the garden path (which would provide cover from a large bush on the left). I hit them both with a few inconsequential drops, but they weren't actually at low pressure and I was quickly hit with two strong streams to my back before I made it safely to cover. Soon they had rounded up Roger as well.
We played a few more rounds of one-hit elimination but ended up deciding to change the rules because the rounds were often very short (one round was only about 20 seconds long as the other team charged my team from two sides right after we called to start). We played one round of three lives per player with only substantial shots to the chest or back being considered a "hit" but this failed due to the awkwardness of respawn times and ease of exploitation. After this we settled with having an all out 2 vs 2 soakfest, with each round lasting until anyone ran out of water. This was where we had the most fun.
Team Soakfest, Round 1:
By this stage we had traded weapons and teams several times, so for the first round of the soakfest I was using the Orca and had Yarning as my partner with the Pulse Master. Roger had traded the Renegade in favour of the Tiger Shark and William had the Vindicator. Much of the soakfest was still spent creeping quietly around the perimeter of the house like the previous elimination rounds, but this time it was a lot more tense as the soaking could continue after one hit; the stakes were higher. At one point in the first round I was on the deck at the end where the narrow path along the right comes out to, crouched behind a rabbit hutch because I had heard some movement along the path. Watching through a window that looked out onto the narrow path, I could see Roger coming my way before he had a chance to see me. When he came into clear view at the end of the path I popped up and shot him (later he said I'd shot him in the face - oops). Shortly after that the round finished as someone was out of water so we refilled and decided to keep the same teams; my team-mate Yarning and I swapped soakers however.
The next round was very eventful. I was at the front end of the narrow path on the right of the house, listening carefully and checking both ends of the path in a very paranoid manner. Yarning appeared at the stepping stones and I instinctly shot him briefly before apologizing (with all of the team swapping it was easy to forget who your team-mate was). Yarning and I stayed at the front end of the narrow path and stationed ourselves behind a corner that gave us cover from the back garden side but no cover from the stepping stones at the front (which were only about 6 feet away from where we were standing). We knew that Roger was at the back garden end of the narrow path with his Tiger Shark, so we were safe from him because of our cover behind the corner. However, William soon appeared at the end of the stepping stones with his Vindicator and took us completely by surprise, soaking both of us at close range. Having to choose between getting soaked by William at the stepping s
tones or pursue Roger in the back garden, I left Yarning to fight off William and hurried along the narrow path towards where I thought Roger had run (since I couldn't see him on the path I assumed he was in the back garden). Roger had actually been crouching behind a bush at the end of the path however and sprung up, charging me with the Tiger Shark. He shot me in the face and I shut my eyes, stumbling backwards and wasting most of the shot from my Pulse Master. He followed, continuing to soak me. Retreating back behind the corner with Yarning, I was met with more fire from William's Vindicator. Yarning and I were completely sandwiched, and the obvious losers of the round.
For the next round we changed teams but kept the same weapons. I was with Roger, and got separated from him early on. I walked around the house once without seeing anyone, and assumed that the others must have been out the front on the driveway. At this point I was at the very back of the back garden, and noticed Yarning crouched, walking slowly along the beginning of the narrow path at the top of the garden. He had obviously seen Roger on the stepping stones going around the front of the house, and was following him. I quickly ran up behind Yarning, and stalked him to the end of the narrow path to where he crouched behind a bush, presumably to shoot Roger through (Roger was out on the driveway fighting William). As I crept up to where Yarning was crouched, his back to me, I silently switched my Pulse Master to its largest nozzle. Yarning was beginning to move out of his spot to go down the stepping stones when I shot him in the lower back from about 8 feet away. He squealed and ran down the stepping stones; I laughed, pumped the Pulse Master and followed.
Another round followed that I think, after which we decided to drive to a large local park to have another few games. Sadly when we got there with the soakers it turned out that the tap that used to be outside the toilet building had been removed, meaning that we had no way to fill up the soakers other than the sinks in the public toilets which were too shallow to fit the soakers anyway. Defeated, we drove back to my house and decided to call it a day.
The Vindicator quickly became the gun to fear because of its good power and impressive range in areas like the driveway and back garden. I had underrated the Tiger Shark because of its poor range, but in the close quarters areas around the side of my house Roger really made it shine. I didn't manage to use the Renegade very effectively in the short time I had it at the start and initially struggled with the short shot time of the Pulse Master. Using the Pulse Master on its largest nozzle was very risky as it depleted most of the pressure chamber in less than a second, meaning that it was very easy for an opponent to charge me down while I frantically tried to pump it up again. It performed better on its middle nozzle with tap-shots, but I think it's definitely a soaker much more suited for long range battles where there is more time to pump between shots. The Orca's main advantage was its long shot times (it has a larger pressure chamber volume than the Vindicator) and performed well in all areas. When I used it I opted to keep it on its second-largest nozzle due to the inferior range of the largest one.
Everyone had a lot of fun so overall so it was a great casual water-fight. Since my friends have been deciding what soaker to buy lately, it was a good way to let them try out the best soakers available in our city to find what they preferred. We're planning on having a water fight at night at a primary school sometime this summer (it's summer over Christmas in the southern hemisphere), and are all looking forward to the large-scale water fight I'm planning at our old high school in December.