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Summary of The Tactical Theory

Written by DX
Last updated on 2007-09-01

The Tactical Theory makes a distinct difference between "game types" and "game families". The theory recognizes 4 general game families, which contain more specific game types within them.

  • One Hit Kills [1HK/OHK]
  • One Hit Scores [1HS/OHS]
  • Organized Soakfest [OSF]
  • Free For All [FFA]

Each family may contain almost infinite variants and some game types may work across any of the four families [such as Capture the Flag]. The Tactical Theory requires at least some form of organization in order to function, therefore Free For All's are poorly served by the current version. There is an extension that covers them, but it has not been written yet.

The Tactical Theory can be divided into two distinct parts, Progression Levels and Fighting Levels.

The first establishes a context, the second gives you the tools to crush your enemy in that context.

Personal [Primary] Progression is a compilation of factors which figures out how seriously you fight, in terms of personal attitudes toward water wars.

  • Standard Level
  • Advanced Level
  • Hardcore Level

Strategic [Secondary] Progression is a compilation of factors which figures out how you fight, in terms of the types of strategy used.

  • Firepower Level
  • Progressive Level
  • Fluid/Flowing Level

Any personal level can be paired with any tactical level, they certainly don't have to go in list order. Firepower plus Hardcore = players who soak until the enemy literally drops. Likewise, Fluid plus Standard = players who do not like complex tactics, but are adept at moving around, dodging, and other fast-action fighting. Teams can carry Progression levels, however, a level is not very accurate unless every single member of the team is at said level. Most players start at the Firepower level and Standard level by default, but can immediately advance. It may take a few minutes, a few wars, or even a few years. Depends on how you fight, who you fight, where you fight, and why you fight. A player may also choose to revert to a former level or remain at the same level for the entire duration of their career. It has been recently discovered that a player may be able to start anywhere, even without prior experience.

Once you have a context [a single personal level plus a single strategic level], you are ready to move on to the more interesting part of the Tactical Theory.

If you want victory against a tough enemy, you'd better be just as proficient at waging war in the mind as on the battlefield. There are three Fighting Levels affecting the physical battlefield, the theoretical battlefield, and both.

Fighting Levels in the Theory:

  • Battle Concepts
  • Strategic Tactics
  • Tactics

All tactics are by nature either offensive, defensive, or omnifensive. "Omnifensive" means both offensive and defensive, though it can also refer to tactics designed to create a reverse. Ambushes, for example, are omnifensive in that setting one up is defensive by nature, but triggering one is offensive by nature. The tactic does not function without the switch of states. It should be noted that not every tactic with "offense" or "defense" in its name is actually offensive or defensive by nature. Battle manuals of the past lack the omnifensive state of battle. When you really think about it, there are more omnifensive tactics than any other. As strange as it sounds, this state is vital to our understanding of many other concepts and tactics. The usual offense-defense battle is incomplete without the "both" and "technically neither" states. You can't have a "neither" state [can you have "nothing"?], but you can have a neither state that is composed of both, as in an ambush or a trick.

About the Articles of the Tactical Theory:

At the beginning of each article, a few stats will appear:

Subject Type:

  • Battle Concepts
  • Strategic Tactics
  • Tactics

This tells you whether the article describes a physical tactic or an idea. For tactics, it also tells you if the tactic is a one time action or a larger entity that may contain many other tactics.


  • Standard
  • Advanced
  • Hardcore


  • Firepower
  • Progressive
  • Fluid/Flowing

PP and SP are used as abbreviations for Personal Progression and Strategic Progression, respectively. Sometimes an article might be universal [marked "ALL"] in one or both sets of Progression. Note that there are always exceptions.

Battlefield Types:

  • Natural
  • Mixed
  • Suburban
  • Urban

"Natural" indicates a park, preserve, forest, mountain, jungle, etc. with virtually no trace of human development. No hoses, electricity, man-made structures, tap water, etc. are available, except with certain parks.

"Mixed" indicates an otherwise natural area that may be interrupted by housing, streets, and other elements of human civilization [either suburban, urban, or not quite either]. There may be access to hoses, tap water, and electricity, depending on the specific area. Certain parks may count as mixed. Sparsely-populated countryside counts as mixed.

"Suburban" indicates an area of fairly dense population. Neighborhoods, backyards, front lawns, school grounds, and business grounds are often considered suburban battlefields. Battlefields in minor cities may be considered suburban depending on the specific area. The nature of the specific area is extremely important, for example the "Village of Ridgewood" and the "City of New London" have comparable population, but feel very different.

"Urban" indicates a heavily populated and sometimes industrial area. Major and moderate city neighborhoods, school grounds, business grounds, and sometimes even their parks are urban.

Battlefield Sizes:

  • Small
  • Medium
  • Large

A small battlefield is often a backyard or small park less than 1000 square feet in size. A medium battlefield is often a neighborhood, larger park, or neighborhood forest, and may approach a mile in length, width, or both. A large battlefield can be a significantly sized neighborhood or a massive forest/park and exceed a mile in length, width, or both.

Degrees of Cover:

  • Open
  • Mixed
  • Dense

These labels are relatively self-explanatory. Open can be a field, yard, street, lot, etc. Mixed is most often a forest or park with spaced trees and not much, if any, underbrush. Dense is often a forest with very thick vegetation, but it also can refer to an urban area filled with cars and buildings. It could also be the inside of a building, such as an office or school.

Game Families:

  • OHK
  • OHS
  • OSF
  • FFA

Recommendations here don't go down to Game Type - there are far too many local types. Instead, general families are recommended. Theory articles don't always cover every game family. Some things don't work in every family, and some concepts/tactics are specific to only one [such as the Suicide Rush]. Very rarely does FFA [Free For All] ever appear. My feeling is that a later extension will include its versions of existing tactics.

Extensions of the Tactical Theory:

  • Tactical Theory: Free For All
  • Tactical Theory: Large Scale Warfare
  • Technical Theory

The FFA version extends the Tactical Theory to cover the 4th game family. The focus of the primary theory is on organized warfare. FFA games tend not to be "organized" in the tradition sense of the word.

The Large Scale version covers battles with many more participants. The effectiveness of the primary theory starts to wane when a war exceeds about 20-25 players on a team. Large scale wars have their own vibe and require shifts in strategy that differ from those of squad-style fighting.

The Technical Theory is an almost stand-alone extension of the Tactical Theory into the world of tech. The Tactical Theory is tech-blind by its own nature. The Technical Theory allows a player to optimize the advantages they enjoy by using better-than-stock guns. Both theories share some of the same concepts, however, some weigh much more heavily in the Technical, such as Battle Practicality.

As of this time, FFA and Large Scale are not under active development. If you have physical and theoretical level expertise in either and would like to contribute to them, simply start writing!*


*A tactic or strategic tactic in lower case [like flank] indicates any variant of its class - "flank the enemy" means "use some kind of flank variant".

*A tactic or strategic tactic in upper case [False Retreat] indicates only that specific variant.

*While most types of tactics already exist, new and unique gambits, offenses, and defenses are created by water warfare teams every year. If you or your team uses a unique combo, please submit it! The Tactical Theory currently does not take that many unique combos into account, as not many are used yet.

*Only this theory recognizes the existence of the following stats:

  • Reservoir Shot Time
  • PC/Reservoir/Total Tap Shot Capacity
  • Stream Optimization
  • Stream Speed
  • PC Shot Time instead of Shot Time [plain "Shot Time" is not a recognized stat]

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