Controlling the other team
Sun-Tzu has gained somewhat of a bad repuation for the large amounts of deception involved in his military strategy. Over the years people have looked down on his war strategem because it relies heavily on misinformation and fooling the enemy. I, on the other hand, tend to think quite the opposite. In woodsball, just like in war, deception and tricking the other team can be a huge advantage. In this article I’m going to try and cover a few tips on how to use age old wisdom to control the other team.
Using Deception to fool the offensive
When talking about fooling the offensive, what I really mean is how to make the attacking team think you’re doing something that you’re really not. This can be a very simple thing to accomplish if everything plays out in an ideal way.
The first tactic I’m going to cover is something that everyone is probably familiar with. It’s a plan where your team first remains on defense in a hidden, ambush style formation while waiting for the opposing teams fire team to attack your flag base. Your defense forms a large horshoe around the base with the tips extending out towards the other team inviting them into the belly of the trap. Once the attacking force has passed your outermost teammates you trigger the ambush. If done correctly your defense should beging firing simultaneously which will create multiple angles of fire and confuse the enemy. The opfor wont stand a chance and you’ll be well on your way to victory. Where does the deception come in? Well, you’re making the other team think that you left your base unguarded, when in reality your whole team was waiting to swallow them up.
Another tactic for fooling the offensive is something called a force modifier. It basically means to make one or two guys seem like six or seven guys. How is this done? Well it’s simple, they just have to keep moving while keeping their movement concealed. The point is to keep the other team guessing. Is he over there? Where did he go? Now someone’s shooting at me from over there, are there two of them?…etc. If you utilize stealth tactics like tree walking, you should be able to keep moving and keep the enemy guessing for quite a while. This can be very valuable to your team because one guy can hold up the entire attack squad while your fire team heads for the enemy base.
While we’re talking about defense, one other strategy that I’ve used successfully is to send out a fire team as soon as the whissle blows. The attacking squad of five or six guys then engages the opfor on their forty or thirty yard line and bunkers in. After a few moments of intense firefight I have two of them retreat while the others are bunkered down and remain silent. If done correctly the other team will assume that your attack force was taken out or whittled down to the two retreating men. This doesn’t always work to the full effect but, in this way you can place at least two ambush points for their fire team when the opfor decides it’s all clear and heads out to attack your base. This can also be used as an attempt to fool the defense and lure them out of their bunkers.
These are just a few ways you can “control” the other teams offensive. If you use deceit to make them think you are vulnerable you can almost gaurantee that they will try and take advantage of it. Any smart commander will have trained his team to take advantage of brief moments of weakness in the opposition. Therefore make sure you present only one or two controlled points of weakness so you know when and where your opponent will attack.
Fooling the Defense
When talking about deceit in woodsball it’s easy to talk about tricking the offensive so they will attack in a certain way, but how do you control the defense? It’s a little bit harder because they’re preprogrammed to stay where they are, or at least stick to their governed area of defense. One of the ways you can outsmart any teams defense is to give them the illusion of attack. What I’m going to describe is going to seem like common sense because you’re probably already somewhat familiar with this tactic, but hey…it’s still a form of deception, and you’re using it to take out the defense so it applies. What I mean is flanking. Making the defense think you’re attacking one point while you have another attack element ready to fire on another point of defense. To make this work best you want to have at least two guys engaging the defense in one place while at least one other teammember moves around to another angle. To work best, the flanking unit needs to be undetected and quick. You don’t want to give the defense enough time to figure out you’re flanking and regroup so make sure you’re flankers move fast and get in there quick to open up the defense. By doing this you can control the defensive fire by focusing it on your main attack force while you sneak around and take them out.
Using terrain to your advantage
Part of controlling the other team involves using the terrain to your advantage. If the field your playing at has natural bottle necks created by hills and valleys you’ll want to set up ambush points and attack points to lure the other team into the bottle neck and make them vulnerable. You can also use your attacking force to push the other team back to the boundaries of the field so they only have two choices, to go forward or backward. If you can control where the other team can go and limit their choices of direction, you can limit their retreat and take them out quickly.
By hiding your numbers, making a few look like many and many look like a few, you should be able to fool the other team into either attacking or retreating. When you are attacking make your attack force seem very small and impotent. The defense will not treat you as a valid threat. When you have only a few on defense, make it seem like your whole team is gaurding the base. The offensive will be afraid to attack you. Deception is all about creating moments of weakness and opportunity.
After you’ve created an opportunity to take control of the other team, you need to act on it. As a team you should be well trained in how to take advantage of momentary mistakes made by the other team. Learn to look for weakness in the offense and defense. Your team needs to be well disciplined and well trained. This means practicing as much as possible, learning to spring ambushes at the right time, and also where to set up ambushes. According to Sun-Tzu a major part of an armies strength is it’s administration, discipline and training. So make sure you practice often.
In woodsball I’ve learned that no two games are alike. You could have the same teams on the same sides doing the same plans and the game will come out differently every time. You can expect your plan to work out perfectly, but you will definitely be dissapointed. That’s why training is so important. You need to know how to adapt your plan at a moments notice. If something goes wrong you need to act quickly before it becomes a gaping hole and you lose the game. Let your plans “Flow like water” so that you can go with the flow of the game and adapt your tactics and strategy to work with new situations as they present themselves.