The first time you hear about the paintball field, you have no idea what to expect. It seems like a bunch of grown-ups acting like warriors, but this couldn't be far from the truth. It is a hide, seek, and tag game mixed, where you propel balls with a water-soluble fill that bursts on impact.
While it has some military-associated playing style, its purpose isn't to create soldiers but to be a very entertaining outdoor activity to help you and your friends achieve victory in a team. If you have not played before, you might find it challenging from what to wear, how to aim, how to shoot and move. We have taken time to break down everything you need to know about paintball to help you enjoy the experience.
The History of Paintball
It began in the 1960s when the first paintball gun was invented by Nelson paint Company. The company developed gelatin-shelled spheres with oil-based paint then a CO2 based gun to hit them. The weapon and marker weren't intended for use by people; instead, it was designed for use by loggers to denote trees and by ranchers to identify their cattle. The first paintball gun was a Nel-spot paint pistol, a bigger version of the modern pellet pistol.
The game developed from a discussion among good friends, Hayes Noel (stockbroker), Bob Gurnsey (sports equipment retailer), and Charles Gaines (an author). They enjoyed talking about all sorts of topics, especially the survivability in the woods. Specifically, they questioned whether a city dweller with street smarts would be as smart as a countryside person with survival skills. The debate continued until 1981 when a friend came across Nel-spot painting gun in an agricultural catalog.
Eventually, the first paintball game took place on 7nth June 1981 in the New Hampshire's woodland. It involved 12 players who are Gaines, Noel, Gurnsey, Ritchie, Carlson, Barrett, Ronnie, Drinnon, Carl, Lionel, Jones, and Jerome. The participants had oil-based paintballs, shop goggles, and a Nel-spot pistol, and they searched throughout an 80-acre piece of land for 12 non-identical colored flags at each station. The first to gather all the 12 flags or the last standing player was to be the winner. Carlson opted to hunt others and remove them, and the winner was Ritchie, nobody spotted him, he didn't fire a shot but creped through the stations stealthily collecting the flags.
After the first game, Bob Jones compiled a write-up concerning paintball, and published it in October 1981 and was later published by Sports Afield and Time magazine. The game was first known as" Survival Game," and in 1982, Bob opened a mercantile paintball field, got into an agreement with Nelson Paint to be the leading supplier of paintball items.
Later, the National survival game got franchised, and areas began opening all over the United States, and by 1986, it spread even further around the globe. With time, the industry got more significant, more streamlined to play, cheaper, with more specialized equipment. Tons of new brands, products, themed games, and special events popped up; it has become a significant phenomenon and the safest game within the last few decades.
Types of Paintball play
Before embarking on your first paintball game, you should have an understanding of the various options available.
It is also known as the bush ball and is the oldest type played in the natural outdoor areas, in the woods, hence the name. It can have as many players as space requires. Within the field, various natural covers give the players freedom to engage in several scenarios like ambushes, protecting relevant persons, or assaults on fortified positions to enhance the game.
The playing length ranges from 15 to 30 minutes, and different games have varying rules, including the ability to be "healed" by team members considered as medics, which allows you to continue even after a hit. Different game variants in woodsball play include;
- Elimination is a simple one, where two teams of players begin from opposite-field ends eliminating all their opponents by marking them with a paintball or forcing them to surrender. The team with the last member standing wins.
- Attack and defend; it involves two teams, and the distribution of players must not be equal, attackers may outnumber the defenders. One side guards the flag at their base while the other group attacks the opponent to capture the flag and return it to their station. There is a set time limit, and the defender can win the game if time runs out.
- One flag captures the flag; two teams compete over a banner located at the center of the paintball field, the objective is to catch it and take it to the other side of the area, in the attacker's territory.
- Two teams capture the flag; each team has a flag at their station, and the objective is to fight your way to your opponent's station and catch it and bring it back to your base without getting hit. If the player carrying the flag gets hit, then the opposing team takes back their flag.
Its characteristic feature is small fields with obstacles to challenge, located on a leveled treeless terrain. The area contains no natural barriers; the bunkers are humanmade and also have some inflatable obstacles to make the game safer. Two teams start the game from the opposite ends and aim at eliminating the opponent team's members. Because of the small-sized field with no natural obstacles, players can see one another; the game, therefore, begins with range and action between the groups; thus is much shorter than those played in the woods.
It is a type of paintball game that adds a story or specific theme to the game. The ideas can include popular movie themes, historical battles, or holiday stories, among many. The game holds numerous players for an extended period from 6 to 48 hours, and a paintball hit eliminates players, however, you return to the game after a preset period, offering you a chance to get involved throughout the game.
Paintball is a fun, highly tactical, and skilled game, and not every player has the same style and tactics. There are various playing styles that you can apply to achieve victory, and none of the techniques is necessarily better than the other, but they work differently for multiple players.
Here are several techniques that you may consider;
Fast and frantic; is all about trying to hit an opponent as hard and as quickly as possible. The technique requires a good knowledge of the game; you know what is needed, and you can make the impossible shot. While using this tactic, it is essential to stick around your team and avoid jeopardizing the plan. It involves assessing risks, know when to attack sometimes firing fast may involve drawing attention, or getting a better position to make a better shot. It suits fast game styles like speedball.
Precise and deadly; the style involves making minimal shots while ensuring that each member has a significant positive effect. The members may not have the experience but have confidence, tactics, and strategies to dominate the enemy, go beyond them to achieve victory. Principles behind this style are deceptive and straightforward; you only need to keep yourself safe, only shoot when you have a clear shot and time to aim carefully. It, however, requires some skills, elements of sneakiness, and a good cover against your enemies.
The tactical team style requires you to work closely with your team, have clear goals and ideas on how to achieve victory. The group operates under the guidance of a pro player with expert knowledge from multiple battles and takes this idea to a whole new level. Winning through this style requires the effort of everyone; each person has a defined role and a clear plan to complete specific tasks by working together towards victory.
Paintball game Basics
If your child has asked you whether they can play paintball, maybe you asked yourself what the age requirement is. Well, different countries have different age restrictions, and most paintball venues do have age restrictions as well. Most of them will have the age set as ten years, being the youngest with the parent's consent. Most venues cease to seek parental consent for individuals above 16 years, and the younger player should be capable of following rules and directions while operating the paintball marker before being allowed to play.
What to wear
You should always make sure you cover every part of your body to avoid being hurt by the paintballs, which propels mostly at a maximum of 300 feet per second. For extra padding, wear a long-sleeved shirt and a hoodie to act as a layer for the upper body protection. Cover the lower body with at least two loose pants or cargo pants with a jumpsuit on top. Try having them thick and free to aid in a movement when crawling, diving, or kneeling. Also, wear a mask to cover the whole head and goggles for your eyes, ears, nose, and mouth. Scenario players and different teams can put on paintball jerseys to stand out.
Depending on the paintball variation, we can determine the accessories and equipment required. The standard gears used by all players are as follows;
Paintball gun or marker – It is the first accessory used to mark opposition players with paint by firing the paintballs. Some of the internal elements in the gun are bolt, air regulator, gas line, grip, hammer, and Air Sauce Adapter.
- Paintballs– They are the ammunition for the markers comprised of non-toxic substances and spherical gelatinous capsules with water soluble dye.
- Paintball hopper – This is the loading area of your paintball that aids in feeding the balls into the marker so that the player can fire. They are two types; gravity-fed hopper that relies on gravity to feed and the electric hopper that uses a motor and batteries to force the paint into the marker thus, making it quicker.
- Air tank – It determines how fast the slug gets propelled in the paintball gun, and it comes filled with different kinds of liquids like CO2, Nitro, HPA, or compressed air.
In scenario games, you can use other equipment like small off-road automobiles, go-karts, and pick-up trucks to protect players from being hit from inside and increase players' mobility. Others use marking tools like paint grenades and paint throwers.
As a player, you must abide by both general and safety rules to be safe and productive in your team.
Different venues have varying standards, and every player must know what is expected before, during, and after the game for safety measures, as discussed below.
- Keep your fingers off the trigger until it is time to shoot – keep in mind that paintball involves teams; thus, mishandling the trigger could injure you or your friends. Always take care of it and treat it like a real firearm.
- The barrel blocking device should always be kept on until the game commences – this prevents you from accidentally shooting someone or going blind.
- Always listen to the referees - every team will have a referee, and failure to listen to them can result in elimination.
- Hit an opponent once – One shot is enough to hit and eliminate an opponent; more than one is too much. Also, if you are too close to your opponent, shoot at areas that are less painful like the back, pack, shoes, and mask.
- Don't be closer than 10 feet when firing – Paintballs can be painful mainly if shot in closer proximity than 10 feet; thus, this rule protects players from a painful shot. If you get too close to your opponent, you should give them a chance to surrender.
- Always wear your mask – Every player must wear their mask even on the safe zones to avoid being hit by an accidental discharge. Just in case your mask gets off, cover your face and head and alert the referee.
The general rules
- Don't wipe off the hit – you will be eliminated from the game, meaning that you will not be able to even play for some extra minutes; you will also lose respect from fellow players.
- Keep within the boundaries – for fair play purposes, always remain within the game's limits, or else you will get kicked out.
- Raise your hand when hit – Paintball relies on the honor system; thus, always raise your marker or shout "HIT" to notify your opponents and walk out safely even if the player who hit you may be aware already. Also, make sure your barrel blocking device is on while walking out.
- Maintain the required velocity – Don't turn your speed too high as some guns can shoot upwards up to 500 feet per second, whereas most fields require you to keep to 300 feet per second.
Why People Enjoy Playing Paintball
People from varying backgrounds and interests can enjoy paintball. It is a social game that involves many participants; thus, you can interact with many new people and make new friends. You will also strengthen your bond with friends and colleagues during team plays.
It entices you to play since it is rewarding, involves a lot of adventure in running, shooting, and anticipation of opponents' tactics. The variations in the types of games also give the best experience from the range of games available whether you want to play it while indoor, outdoor, tournaments, backyard games, or recreational engagements, you will love it.
Benefits Associated with Paintball
- Exercise-The intensity of the game can improve your metabolism; thus, lead to weight loss. There is a lot of running, jumping, and sprinting involved while playing, and a few moments of sitting, which is healthy also to prevent diseases like high blood pressure and heart diseases.
- Improves your strength and endurance – Through the vigorous running and squatting, you improve your overall body capacity and enhance the power of arms and legs.
- Stability – with the equipment and gears that you have to put on, you still have to be fully productive in the game. It means that your body has to be sufficiently stable so that you can compete.
- Teamwork and strategy – You learn the art of cooperation by working together with a team as you devise strategies and work together towards victory.
- It relieves stress – It is a way for busy employees to alleviate work stress and take a break from tiring daily activities.
Paintball is not all about who gets the most hits but a way of having fun and bonding with friends and colleagues. As a beginner, you will make mistakes, but there will be another chance to fix them as you try out new things.