Top 5 Do’s of Being a Scenario XO

Top 5 xo dos & donts in scenario paintball

Courtesy DangerMan’s Lair | Digital Paintball Magazine

Top 5 xo dos & donts in scenario paintball

Top 5 Do’s of Being a Scenario XO

(DL) Top 5 Do’s of Being a Scenario XO

Scenario paintball games are fun, mission-based events in paintball where players and organizers alike can let their creativity fly. Whether you simulate real-world events or draw upon pop culture, each side has two game-defining factors. Your general and his/her XO. Having a good XO for the scenario can make or break any seasoned general, so with that, here’s our top 5 “do’s” of being a scenario XO.

Intro to a Scenario XO

Before we get into the bread and butter of being an XO for a scenario, we should briefly go over what an XO is and their role in scenario games.
A Scenario XO is an individual or multiple depending on the game, whose responsibility is to execute the plans set by the general. The XO is a second in command, leading squads, promoting the game, boosting morale. Anything to help achieve victory with a diverse skill set. A skill set, mind you, that can be grown with a lot of practice.
A great general may be a key piece in every scenario game, but without a competent XO to match, they will lose nine times out of ten. Following these tips can either help expand your repertoire of abilities or help you refine those you possess.

“Do” #5: Use Your Walk-on Players for Scenario!

A tool that is frequently overlooked by generals and XO’s alike is the walk-on player. Walk-on players are either new to paintball or are players that just show up and pay admission for the day to experience the scenario while having fun. Every place gets walk-ons, from regular rec days at Cousins Paintball to the largest scenario event, Invasion of Normandy, hosted by Skirmish. No matter the scenario, each batch of walk-ons will have mixed skill levels.

For the new players, having a great game day with a command staff that encourages and involves can help to get a player further into the sport. With that said, a negative command staff can have the opposite effect and turn off new players from paintball. Go around and ask some walk-ons if they want to squad up and grab some points.  To most new players, reaching out to them with involvement will mean the world.

If you neglect the walk-on, you might lose a great asset regarding hidden abilities. Since walk-on players are not always new to the sport, you can be shooting yourself in the foot by not paying attention to them. You could potentially pass up former/active military personnel with years of training that can help change the tide or pass up the high school track star that could have sprinted to flip a needed spawn point.  Never judge a book by its cover or underestimate a walk-on. 

The XO’s Takeaway

The main takeaway from #5 on the Top 5 Do’s of Being a Scenario XO list, is to respect and use the walk-on player.  If they’re new, getting them involved in the scenario can keep them in the sport. Under no circumstances are you to ever forget about or treat a player differently simply because they are a walk-on.

“Do” #4:  A Scenario XO’s Attitude

DangerMan giving a pep talk to a younger player

A Scenario XO needs to have the right attitude for game day. People typically follow the mood of those above them, so it makes it your responsibility to keep a consistently realistic yet very positive mindset.  Your team will easily be able to pick up on any negative energy you bring on the field.  A lot of things can frustrate you in paintball to the point you want to slam down your marker.

If you’re angry or upset when your team is losing, rise above and breathe.  Are you screaming because a player didn’t call their shots?  Quickly calm yourself down.  Keep a clear head on your shoulders while encouraging others to do the same.

Losing stinks, no one denies it, but having a positive attitude under negative circumstances speaks volumes to a player’s character. A fair amount of kids and teens play paintball at scenarios. Be a role model by showing proper sportsmanship and the way a true player conducts their behavior.

The XO’s Takeaway

The main takeaway from #4 on the list is to keep your emotions in check. You will get shot in an uncomfortable area and you certainly will lose at times. What you should avoid doing is getting so caught up in emotions, you ruin it for everyone else.

“Do” #3:  Team Missions as a Scenario XO

General Perez with his officers in a command meeting by Inspire Photography

A set of tasks demanding attention for a Scenario XO is the team missions. Missions are the way you earn points and determine the winning team. At scenario games, the establishment holding the event usually has mission sheets detailing mission requirements.  More often than not, an XO gets caught up in a battle, which causes them to lose sight of the mission. 
Focus is key in this area. Some generals do join the battle, but some stay back and plan. As a Scenario XO, a lot of mission execution will fall on your shoulders. You need to maintain focus on the bigger picture and not let distractions in. Losing focus translates to losing points, and losing points leads to losing games.
If you are successful with the next Do on the list, then completing scenario missions will be much easier. You’ll be able to better plan for which objectives to take, you’ll have a broader range of skills on your team, and best of all, having numbers. A scenario XO will suffer negatively by numbers with regards to having a lack of total mission coverage.

The XO’s Takeaway

The main takeaway from #3 on the Top 5 Do’s of Being a Scenario XO list, is everything you do affects something you could do. You can be perfect in one area, but without diverse skills, you can make your roll harder.  Never hesitate to approach your general with any mission questions.

“Do” #2: Promote Your Scenario Event


One of the most important actions for an XO is to promote your scenario event.  Therefore, it is as much your responsibility as it is that of your general to engage in active recruitment.  If you are successful in this endeavor, you can have a great team behind you.  However, if you slack on promotion, you can hurt your side and the overall event.  

Successful Promotion

The successful promotion will lead to a lot, including an increase in player turnout, getting brand new players to start, team exposure, and new opportunities to XO.  A big part of successful recruitment is getting players to register beforehand on the respective event page website.  Another huge upside is you are helping to increase revenue for small businesses.  Increased revenue leads to better fields, future events, and paychecks for the working-class.   

Poor Promotion

Poor promotion can lead to many things too.  It can contribute to low player count, a decrease in revenue, and cancellation of the scenario event.  Scenarios are always fun, but do you want to storm the beaches at Skirmish with only 100 people?  The more, the merrier will always be the best motto to adopt.  

The XO’s Takeaway

The main takeaway from #2 on the Top 5 Do’s of Being a Scenario XO list, is promotion, promotion, promotion!  It can be a bit more difficult for a scenario to be successful without a proper promotion strategy. 

“Do” #1:  Communicate as a Scenario XO

Team Defiance XO at Fulda Gap

Certainly, poor communication skills as a Scenario XO can hurt both the team and yourself. For example, it will directly hinder your efforts if you don’t communicate field changes with the general. Likewise, the same is true for when you lose ground on the field. Poor communication only hurts and in no way ever helps.
Communication must be clear and constant to facilitate an accurate flow of information.  Sometimes your current situation may not allow the information to get across as quickly as it needs too.  Do your best to communicate as effectively as possible.  
Even though you need to be able to communicate your general’s plans, don’t be afraid to give orders yourself. When you’re the only one out there, you need to be comfortable with making executive decisions on the fly. Nothing goes according to plan every time. As a Scenario XO, you’ll need to adjust your general’s plan in the field using your quick thinking.
Depending on your respective general’s playstyle as well, they may be hanging back coming up with strategies. If you have fresh knowledge from the frontlines and it might render the plan invalid, speak up. Communication must come clear and without fear from every player. Just don’t be extremely disrespectful about how you do it.

The XO’s Takeaway

The main takeaway from #1 on the list is that clear communication is of the utmost importance. Without it, you can guarantee failure. With it, you have one more tool to help you win every time.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, there are many things you can do as a Scenario XO, but these top 5 are among the most important.  Communication will always be one of, if not the single most important thing across all of paintball.  Still, adding all of these tips to your mental hopper will help you be a better player.  Always look to improving yourself on and off the field with more than this Top 5 Do’s of Being a Scenario XO


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