Playing Paintball in Croatia with the Hrvatska Paintball League

On Saturday night at around 11:30pm we left Pula, for a 360km road trip to Krizevci for the Hrvatska (Croatia) Paintball League tournament.  Our trip involved us going up via Labin (I couldn’t get google maps to show the exact route) through the major city of Rijeka and then a 3 hour stop at Karlovac (home of the beer of a similar name) to sleep for an hour or two, then at dawn we were back on the road to our destination where we needed to be at 7:30am.

The field is situated on a decommissioned Miltary base (my team kept winding me up, pretending that there was a former minefield in the long grass here), and is a made for purpose tournament/speedball club field.  I was to be playing for a Zagreb team – undead for the 5 man part of the tournament, and with my host Jasen’s team Bad Balls for the 3 man component.

Due to reasons outside fo the organisers control they were unable to finish the tournament last time, so the day would also have the last couple of rounds of the previous tournament to finish off before starting the days official events.  It was going to be a very long, and hot day of tournament paintball.

The tournament was a Race2 Format (thats best out of 3 Xball for us kiwis) using Modified Millenium Series rules (10 Balls Per Second Capped Ramping).The field layout was in a xball style with a combination of different sup air barricades – as people don’t tend to have complete PSP/Millenium series official fields, which meant for us only one large Dorito on the Dorito side and the centre barricade being smaller than what I’m used to.  It was still a fun field to play on.   The snake was hard to get into, but once you were in it it would give a strong advantage to whoever was playing it.

I didn’t see teams play the Dorito side much, but did see a lot of teams run to the centre 50 on the break.  I get the idea that there aren’t too many layouts with strong snakes here, or that people aren’t that used to playing that particular location on the field based on some of the acrobatic dives of people getting into it!

Paint was RPS Marballizer, Allstar and Evil. Evil in my view shot and marked very well, I wasn’t a fan of the Marballizer and didn’t try the Allstar.
Games were started with a computerised countdown and a siren on PA speakers as per Millenium rules.  I’m not sure what software they used for this, but I would recommend clubs in New Zealand look to this set up as its fairly simple, but works very well and is they way paintball is moving towards in Australia and South East Asia with S7s and PALS series as well.There were no flags on the field. To win a point you needed to hit a button on the start box which was connected by wiring to a car battery powering two sirens.  It was a very simple but effective way of registering points and would be way easier for NZ fields to implement if we were to move to a Xball format at our fields.

On the other side of the field was the pit zone, where teams who were playing would use as their dead box and area to regas, repod and refill paint and clean old hits off between games.  I’m still unsure if this area was suposed to be a safe zone of a live zone as most people were gogs off in this area, yet it was concerning to see a large number of players in this confined area with barrel bags off refilling air for the next game, while players also had gogs off.

My suggestions for improvement would be:

  1. Strictly enforce barrel bags in the pit area.  I saw quite a few live un bagged markers in the pit area and this has the potential to be quite dangerous.
  2. Penalise players who do not call themselves out properly, put their hands on their heads and move directly to the dead box.  Players seem to take their time to get to the Dbox and tend not to put their hands on their heads signalling elimination.  I’m pretty sure I shot a few eliminated players who had not signaled their elimination clearly.

That said – the in game reffing was to a very high standard and was very consistent thanks to team Hellboys from Karlovac. I ended up getting two 1 for 1s, including one in my first game but they were all deserved and consistent.  I would like to get our reffing for local events back in Auckland up to this level.The other thing that was quite interesting was the pod boxes that everyone had over here – Plastic beer crates.  Beer bottles are bigger over here and are sold in plastic crates of 20 as opposed to our cardboard 6, 12 and 15 packs at home.  The best bit – these beer crates are the perfect size to hold paintball pods.

I’d be tempted to import some or seek out an importer who specialises in foreign beer to see if they have some available.  These are far better than any pod holding solutions I’ve seen in New Zealand and do the job very well.For lunch we were treated to a proper Croatian BBQ of cevapcici (Sort of like sausage sized mince rolls) and skewered meat. All cooked over charcoal and served with fresh bread, followed by a crazy mission trying to find stores that were open – and completely lucking out when I found a petrol station that stocked that holy drink for kiwis playing paintball – BLUE POWERADE!

After the 5s were played out the temperature dropped to something I’m a little more used to, and we started the 3 man event.  5s are clearly the dominant format here (as in elsewhere) and there were less teams present for the 3s.  We won all of our games and took home first in the 3 man event.

I can’t understand croatian, but have checked the thread on the through google translate – I think these are the correct scores for the 5 man placings:

1. Muha 360
2. BS1 344
3. Hellboys 332
4. Interap 324
5. BossAccredo 316
6. GunnersOSX 296

A massive thanks to everyone for their hospitality over the weekend, especially teams Zagreb Undead, Karlovac Hellboys, Pula Bad Balls and anyone who I’ve forgotten to mention who helped with equipment, the referees who spent all day in the sun, the event organisers and most importantly Eddie and my host Jasen for driving and looking after me.  It was a great day and I hope to be able to come back later on when I’m living permanently in Europe.

I would definitely recommend getting involved with the local tournament scene if you visit croatia, simply get in touch with the local club in your area. Markers and air systems can be brought into the country legally, just make sure that your air system is legal for Europe and in hydro.

Zagreb Undead – 5 Man Division

Pula Bad Balls – 1st 3 Man Division

Youtube of last months event

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  1. Hey MikeE — great seeds here for a benevolent fraternity — set up your tourism company and do guided tours!! No doubt it’s on your mind. Have a thought about the geriatric developments in the game — lot of older men would like something like this to do for a fuller travel experience.

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