Guest article by Stephanie Twilley.
This morning I woke up, got dressed, blared the Mad Max soundtrack, then started on my war paint; it was time to get ready for my first day of War With Friends.
I arrived with a group of four friends and fellow LARPers, and we all ended up on the same team, joined by Steven (creator) and some other great guys. I chose the class Knight, and was equipped with a shield, latex war hammer, and chainmail. It was very different from what I am used to, but it was a blast. I never knew live action battle games were such fun!
Having many close friends on my team made playing together a lot easier. We were able to stay well organized and communicated well. It was a ton of fun, and it was great to kick ass with great people. Next time however, I plan to mix it up and try different classes and teams.
My friends and I talked about the game so much when we left, and I was happy to hear them say that they will definitely come again. I really suggest this game to anyone in the area. If you are looking for a combination of airsoft, paintball, and melee combat, this is for you!
All discussed Rules and Ideas Copyright © 2013 Steven Crawford War With Friends. Anyone may use these rules and game ideas but first must obtain my permission.
Q: Can you tell me about each class? I see you have: Knight, Pirate, Medic, Thief, Guard, Assassin, Fighter, and Mage.
A: Players often swap their classes between games. There is no limit to the amount of classes per team, they are all meant to be completely equal.
The Knight- This class is an armored juggernaut, he is only damaged to hits to his eye lens, legs, crotch, and butt thanks to his armor. His armor must look like some type of armor to help players identify him. Arm armor and neck protection is also required. Full coverage helps you not accidentally call yourself out when struck in your armor.
The Knight may not throw any weapons or use ranged attacks. He is hard for most classes to kill from any range. At long range a small shield and high grass keeps him safe from projectiles. At close range a shield and lowering your stance can make you extremely hard to damage. Bum rushing from the shadows works great, when enemy players are surprised they will slash away at your armor. The Knight leads the charge, he is the forward offense team leader. He protects his team when the rush in and hacks down many foes that dare face him.
The Pirate- This is the gun class. This is the guy that put an end to hand to hand combat for the most part. His rifle can be effective and extremely accurate up to 150 ft. The gun is also the most painful attack in War With Friends, so people avoid you just because they don’t want to get shot. To balance things the Pirate only has 3 shots per battle. The pirate may use any paintball gun, airsoft gun, or a combination blunderbuss pistol that shoots a huge scattershot of both paintball and airsoft. The Pirate also gets 6 points for other weapons or equipment besides his gun. The Pirate takes out high value targets at the right time never wasting his ammo. He is a sniper that everyone is very afraid of.
The Medic- Everyone’s best friend when they are bleeding out. The Medic comes equipped with a large number of rubber bands. When a teammate calls for you when they are wounded rush to them. All you have to do is stretch a rubber band out and put it on their wrist. They are instantly revived to full health, this may be done to the same player multiple times. The best part is that it does not count against your team respawn tokens. Medics have just as many points as the other classes for equipment. So technically they can still kick a lot of ass. Or they could go full limb armor & shield turtle style. They are the only class allowed to use the pike since it is supportive in nature. A Medic is best utilized in the back of a large attack party of mixed classes.
The Thief- The Thief has skills, lots of skills. He can steal a weapon from a wounded player, very effective against a pirate! If a guard puts him in jail he can escape as his leisure. If the defending team has a gate blocking a main entrance he can pick the lock. If he comes across any trap lines he can disable them, even if he trips them by accident. He can also hold twice as many objectives as other classes, à la 2 flags at once. His main role is on offense, He can open the most direct entrance, steal 2 flags at once, by-pass any traps, and escape jail if he was caught. When he escapes he can kill the guard and steal his large shield. Perfect for objectives, he really upsets all enemy defense.
The Guard- The master of jail and the large shield. The Guard can take wounded enemy players out of the game for 3 minutes at a time. After that they still die and must respawn. You can really get a major team numbers advantage by putting a few enemy players in jail. Jail happens to be located by the flag box, this makes the Guard a natural flag room defender. If that wasn’t enough he is the only class that can wield a large riot style centurion shield giving him great blocking ability.
The Assassin- Only for the sneakiest players! He gets a full load out of equipment just like everyone else. What makes him special is that he can Backstab with a dagger. Backstabbing basically kills someone really hard. They may not be revived and when they respawn it cost them all of there lives to come back into the game. You can forget trying to capture the flags with this guy. His focus is winning the game by killing the enemy team over and over, depleting their life tokens.
I created this class because I was always back attacking unaware players and wanted a bonus for doing so.
The Fighter- If you want to get brainless and simple you found your class. No skills or abilities, just equipment, twice the starting amount.
Some things when used in mass could really become powerful. You could get 36 paintball for your slingshot, your arms will get tired before you shoot them all. Getting 12 traps could really help create a death funnel.
The Mage- The only anti armor/shield solution in War With Friends. He has 2 reusable tennis balls/fireballs. These wound through armor, heat blocking weapons/shields for 30 seconds or simple wound a soft target. The Knight was just to good at everything and had no natural enemies to fear. The Mage is the anti knight for sure. At the request of several spell casting larper I added bird seed packet magic missiles he can throw. He can have up to 6 and they simply wound like anything else.
Q: What age range usually plays?
A: We have an 8-year-old that always wants a gun, when give him swords for safety. He also wears safety glasses under his paintball mask for a back up. My Uncle, Chetman is kind of a legend in War With Friends. He is in his late 40’s, has full grey hair, and kicks his share of ass. Mostly it is people in their 20’s, sometimes we get a little heavy on the teenagers on occasion.
Q: What is the normal dress for this game?
A: Normal dress would be long sleeves and pants due to thorns and bugs. Camouflage is also somewhat popular, most players just wear a hoodie and jeans. The really fun players dress up in some type of custom garb. It always brings a smile to my face to see a really cool get up for WWF. We have a Black Clad hooded knight and I like to wear anti riot gear with BDUs for a zombie slayer militant look.
Q: Exactly where are you located?
A: 745 Morris Rd, Hiram, GA 30141 at Cross Walk Chapel Church. It is an extremely small church with a large 20 kid youth group (Free food and youth Weds at 6:30). We have a few places we play at on the church property. The main field is an acre and a half maze cut from thick brush. There are many entrances into the enemy base and gates that only thief’s may open. Tons of nooks to hide or trees to climb to snipe, a truly fun field.
Q: Can you describe the game play?
A: In my head it is medieval paintball, it has kind of turned into mad max paintball. Extremely limited ammo for the guns, just enough so that melee & gun combat can flow and exist together. It is basically attack and defend capture the flag paintball with reinsertions or respawns. Each player has 3 lives pooled together for his team, so dying matters. The defenders have 1 flag for each person on their team and 15 minutes to defend the base. If you are hit with an attack you have 25 seconds before you bleed out and can only call for a medic. If they get to you, you are instantly revived and keep fighting. This is a major part of the game, getting revived does not count against your team respawns and keep you in the action. If your team runs out of lives the game is over. Every class is extremely simple, diverse, and powerful. You have to decide what mix of classes/equipment can help you to win. A nice mix might be a good choice to be well rounded or a team of paintball pirates could keep the other team at bay. It’s up to you to decide!
Q: Is there any information you can give me regarding armor in the game? Types allowed, disallowed, common, armor rules if any?
A: Any class can wear some type of armor if they purchase it. Armor in War With Friends makes you invulnerable to the area it covers. Knights have armor covering their torso, upper limbs, neck, and head. They only place they can take damage if they are struck in the eye shield, crotch, butt, or legs. Every other class purchase armor that protects their elbow, forearm, and hand all together. Another option is a piece of leg armor that protects the users knee, shin, and foot from damage.
Any armor is fine for WWF, we have all kinds of scavenged Mad Max style armors I crafted together. Anything store-bought or full on real plate armor or even a bullet proof vest with cardboard strike plates would be fine. The important thing is that when you are smacked with a boffer or shot with a paintball you should not feel pain to that area.
Some armor examples we use: Sports pads, life jackets, cardboard with duct tape panels, pickle barrels, mud flaps, motorcycle jackets and real armor.
Q: What weaponry and weapon reps are allowed or disallowed, weapon rules?
A: Weapons include: Slingshot(fires paintballs, spell packets, arrows), bow and arrow, water grenade, sword/axe/hammer, dagger, great sword/hammer/axe, spear, pike, morning star, nunchucks, punching knuckle, spell packets, break away trap line, paintball guns, airsoft guns and shields.
Players are given 6 points to purchase equipment at the start of the game, most weapons cost 1 point.
Any padded melee weapon is allowed from the painful high-end sturdy replicas to the old school pvc/duct tape/pipe foam weapons. Dagorhir weapons are preferred, we one day hope to retrofit all of our loaner weapons to their standard of safety.
A controversial weapon we use is a long morning star. It is a doggy chew ball with a 3 ft rope on a handle. This weapon is more of an asian style weapon than a traditional morning star. We have nunchucks and very soon a player is bringing a padded rope dart. Roped weapons are never thrown or used for tripping. They are useful for snaring weapons are bypassing shields.
We use any type of paintball or airsoft gun. They are available to any player but are limited to 3 shots per battle. The airsoft guns have to fire 4 round bursts to count as 1 hit. I also have 2 blunderbuss pistols that fire both a paintball and 30 airsoft bbs at the same time, these are amazing at close range.
Almost any melee weapon is throw-able , you can pick up any found weapons for yourself.
All weapons cause 1 wound, everyone has 1 health to keep it simple. Get hit with something, you are dead.
Pretty much anything is allowed, if a player suggest it or builds it we at least try it out.
Q: How long do you play?
A: We play until we have less than 4 people left or dark. In the summer we start a 4:00 pm and play till 9:00pm any other time we mostly start at noon. Most days we play for 5 or 6 hours. Battles last for 15 minutes and then we take a break in the AC at the church in our staging area. We hydrate, change classes/equipment/teams, and share funny stories about the last battle. As the day goes on the breaks become longer between matches.
Q: Do you supply weapons and armor to players?
A: Hahaha oh yes I do, I’m a one man show, I basically had the idea for War With Friends and started making weapons for around 12 people. I have some of the best friends and family, they were willing to try it almost 2 years ago. All of them had never did any form of larping and only a few played paintball. It was a crazy idea but since it was important to me they tried it. War With Friends has been going on strong since then, people just find it fun. At this point I have enough weapons/armor for a 15 on 15 match, I would need a few more paintball masks. I can’t help but continue to build new and exciting weapons to mix things up. A player once suggested a slingshot and I made a few. This turned out to be a major game changer and one of my favorite weapons.
A big draw for people is that all they have to bring is their self. I provide the paintball mask, the weapons, and the water. It is completely free. Playing paintball at a field is $50 bucks easy, WWF might be a weird form of paintball/larping but you can’t beat free.
Q: Do you define your game as a LARP or more as a live action battle game? (Is there any role playing? Do players have characters?
A: I tell people it’s a paintball LARP to keep it simple. But it is much more of a live action battle game. I would like to have a big 1 day scenario with missions one day. I have been going to other LARPs and paintball scenarios to see how it’s done. Maybe one day we can be more of a LARP, I think it would be more fun.
Q: What are the required/suggested protective wear?
A: Everyone has to have on a paintball mask that fits snug. Extra stuff I encourage is a backwards ball cap, long sleeves, pants, and gloves. If someone gets shot in the eye with a paintball they may very well never see again. I take safety very seriously.
I purchased a chronograph to measure the speed of the paintballs so we can adjust as needed.
Q: Are there types of combat not allowed? Are there any no hit zones?
A: Anything pretty much goes as long as you don’t remove someones face mask. Even shooting someone from point-blank with a paintball is allowed, it happens many times every game. Any place on the body is fine with melee or ranged weapon. I tend to go easy on the head but I will strike their if it is open.
If your arms are armored, a great tactic is to grab weapons or weapon arm. When fighting a pikeman you should grab his polearm shaft to best them. Anything that is going to really hurt someone or put them in danger is not allowed. Grappling is fine, shield bashing counts as a wound, shield kicking is also allowed.