When moving through the playing field, it is usually wiser to travel with a Teammate rather than alone (unless one is a sniper, scout or lure). However, when travelling unknown terrain with two or more people, one must arrange the group to best handle possible encounters with opponents. The following is a short overview of some suggested formations depending on the number of people. For most formations to work, the Players should be no more than 2-3 metres (5'-10') from their nearest Teammate.
Two-Player formations are the simplest and quietest. Stealth and speed can be easily achieved but having only two makes guarding one's blindspots harder.
Side-by-side travelling allows both to fire on oncoming targets, but leaves the back open to surprise attacks.
Staggered lines allows the one following to better guard the rear, but also reduces forward fire power.
One facing forward & one facing back covers both sides, but movement pace is reduced since it is more difficult for the one in rear to walk backwards
Three-Player formations allow for a little more coverage and flexibility, but reduce the group's ability to travel unnoticed.
Standard vanguard formation when doing a frontal assault allows all members for fire forward while the two flanking members can also easily cover the sides.
In unknown regions or tighter passageways, a staggered line formation may be used. Sides are covered and the person in the rear is also responsible for suppressing any rear attacks.
Spread out formation to cover all-sides is sometimes recommended when an attack from the enemy is imminent, but the direction from which they are approaching is unknown. This covers all angles, but also spreads out the fire power the most
Four-Player formations offer even more flexibility than the three person ones, but further reduce the group's ability to perform any sort of covert operation.
Vanguard attack pattern good choice for frontal assaults, but leaves the back open to surprises.
Two by two formation still gives good firing power forward while allowing the two in back to guard the rear. Good for travelling in unknown territory.
The staggered line formation works best for traversing tight areas or when the direction of attack by oppoents is in question
Five or more Player formations begin getting more complicated simply due to the number of members in the group. Large groups are usually better divided into smaller ones. The more Players in a given area, the easier it is for opposing Players to hit any one. The figures above suggest some possible group formations which can be extended for greater numbers of Players.
As useful as formations are, the constituents of the group also have optimal placement in order to maximize each Player's strength while minimizing their weaknesses. The following is an extension of the formations outlined previously. These formations become irrelevant if all members of the group use the same blaster, but can provide valuable insight if working with mixed-size blaster users.
Light/Medium: Refers to Light or Medium Tactical Gear.
Medium/Heavy: Refers to Medium or Heavy Tactical Gear.
Two-Player mixed levels of armament do have an optimal way of moving together.
Side-by-side travelling allows both to fire on oncoming targets but leaves the back open to surprise attacks. In this case, it does not matter whether the one with heavier blaster is on the right or left unless a particular side is suspected of being attacked. In that case, the one with heavier gear should be away from the possible side attack.
Staggered lines allows the one following to better guard the rear. The heavier equipped Player should follow since the larger blasters can usually fire farther than the smaller ones allowing the lighter-equipped Player to engage opponents first while the heavier-equipped Player can give good cover streams.
One facing forward & one facing back covers both sides, but movement pace is reduced. Again, the heavier-equipped Player should follow such that cover streams can be given to the lighter-equipped Player in front.
Three-Player formations allow for a little more coverage and flexibility. Mixed groups again have an optimal way to travel.
Standard vanguard formation best for frontal assaults allowing all members for fire forward while the two flanking members can also easily cover the sides. During frontal assaults, one usually wants to hit hard and quickly which is why the heavier-equipped Player usually leads with the two lighter-armed Players flanking for support.
In unknown regions or tighter passageways, a staggered line formation may be used. Sides are covered but the one with heavier gear should be in the middle, able to cover either front or back or sides in case of opponent attack.
Spread out formation to cover all-sides is sometimes recommended when an attack from opponents is imminent but the direction from which they are approaching is unknown. The position of the heavier-equipped Player is not as important. However, the heavier-equipped Player is typically used to lead the group.
Four-Player formations offer even more flexibility but further reduce the group's ability to perform any sort of covert operation.
Vanguard attack pattern good choice for frontal assaults but leaves the back open to surprises. The heavier-equipped members usually lead this formation. This allows the lighter-equipped members to rush to either side or forward to engage opponents while the heavier-equipped members can give suppressing cover streams.
Two by two formation still gives good firing power forward while allowing the two in back to guard the rear. Like in the two-Player formations, the heavier-equipped members work better following, allowing them to fire over the lighter-equipped members in front or giving cover-streams while the lighter-equipped members engage in close proximity with the opponents.
The staggered line formation works best for traversing tight areas or when the direction of attack by the opponents is in question. The heavier-equipped members should travel between the lighter-equipped members both for cover and so they can provide cover-streams.
Five or more Player formations begin getting more complicated simply due to the number of members in the group. Large groups are usually better divided into smaller ones. The more people in a given area, the easier it is for opponents to hit anyone. The figures above suggest some possible group formations which can be extended for greater numbers of Players
The following section extends the basic formation knowledge.
:: Formations: Advanced
Soakers of differing abilities can be combined in some very potent ways to guarantee a good balance between soaking ability and defence. This, combined with Players who know how to make use of their respective blasters will generate small tactical units who can take on larger, inexperienced groups with little fear of counterfire.
Required people: At least 3
This formation takes advantage of various blasters' Fan-nozzle setting (i.e. the SC Power Pak, SC Big Trouble, Monster, Monster XL, etc.) The formation itself is rather simple with allies spread apart around 3 to 5 feet in a row with all blasters set on Fan. Attacking a larger group in this formation is simple since the area of water coverage that can be achieved is very high. As well, since all members of the attack squad are relatively close, the sprays from individual blasters will overlap, resulting in a more thorough soak than would be achieved if only one individual were present. The main drawbacks to thise attack formation is that overall range of attacks is limited. Also, since blasters are on their fan settings, individual opponent targets cannot be isolated.
Suppress and Saturate
Required people: At least 2
While some may argue differently, most people when under attack, even if only from a fan nozzle spray, tend to duck, block, or attempt to defend. With this in mind, the idea behind this offensive formation is to make use of a fan attack to suppress opposing counterfire while having an ally with a good-sized blaster to identify and saturate the most threatening opponents. The fan-spray user has more limited range, thus must get in closer to opposing Players. The saturator can be a few steps back making use of his blaster's range and power to soak any those have not turn and run. The most difficult part of achieving the desired outcome is finding someone willing to go in and suppress return streams using a fan-spray since that user must get closer than usual to the opposing forces. (Note: A CPS 1-3-5 or a Helix work particularly well as suppression blasters.)
Required people: At least 2
This is not as much of a formation as it is a way of attacking. The idea behind this is to compensate for the fact that most blasters have a limited firing time. Thus, for this to work, the group must synchronize their shot times such that someone is firing while another is repumping. To maximize area covered, only short bursts from each soaker should be used as well as quick pumping between shots. This will prevent any Player from being out of pressure when it is their turn to fire.
Required people: At least 3
"Divide and conquer!" Sometimes to break apart an opposing Team's formation, one's own group should concentrate their offensive maneuver against a middle Player. This will often cause the opposing Team to fan out, but if done quickly enough, means that the Team on the offense can go about eliminating one Player at a time as opposed to facing Team-to-Team. This maneuver, however, only works well if the opposing Team is not as well trained to deal with such an play. This is not recommendable if facing a skilled Team as this bunches one's own Team together and restricts individual Player movement.
Required people: At least 2
Flanking simply involves avoiding doing a frontal offensive play and instead, opting to attempt to charge from a more vulnerable angle. Successful flanking requires both speed and quick assessment of the Team to be flanked. The idea here is to turn a broad defensive formation into a line in which those farther back in the line make less effective defenders. Optimally, the Team on the offense wants to head quickly towards the side with the weaker opposing Player in order to increase the chance of a successful flank maneuver.
Required people: At least 3
Circling can be an effective tactic if used well. The idea here is to trap the opposing Team in a more restricted area while giving one's own Teammates room to move, aim, and dodge without fear of cross-fire. The encircled Team ends up bunched together with a much more limited movement options. While quite effective, this maneuver tends to only work against non-coordinated teams or novice players. The main drawback to this formation is that it divides up one's own Team's soaker-power.