Types Of Play

Overview
There are countless ways that a group of people can play paintball and listing even half of them would take too long but several of the most common and popular modes of play are listed below. Paintball games are best played in an area that is reserved for that purpose or marked off. Commercial fields are the best places to play paintball. They usually have netting strung up to stop stray paintballs from hitting people outside the game and referees to watch out for the players and resolve disputes. Sadly, when paintball players go off "into the woods" or someone's backyard for some fun, passersby can get hurt.

Most games share a few common rules.

  • A paintball that breaks anywhere on the player or equipment eliminates them from the game.
  • A paintball that hits a player but bounces off does not count as a hit
  • Spatter from paintballs that have not broke on the player but on things around them does not count as an hit.

Referees
Referees are an important part of any game. Just like any other sport, the ref’s job is to observe the game to ensure it is played according to the rules, disputes are resolved fairly, and that everyone is safe and under control. People can get very excited in paintball and it's not uncommon for tempers to flare at times.

In paintball the most common responsibility is to check to see if players are hit or not and to ensure that people do not cheat (by wiping off paint hit marks for example).

Elimination

This is one of the most common and simplest games played. 2 teams are divided up on opposite ends of a field around a starting base and wait for the ref to start the game. The object is simple; eliminate the other team within a certain amount of time.

Though there are no limits, most teams in elimination games are 5 vs 5 up to about 30 vs 30. If teams get much larger than that, it becomes difficult to referee and control.

Games typically last 5-20 minutes depending on the size and type of field.

Capture The Flag

A slight variation on elimination, capture the flag is just as its name implies. 2 teams are placed on opposing ends of a field around a starting base and wait for the ref to start the game. A flag is placed somewhere on the field in a known location. While each team can still win by eliminating the other, teams can also win by capturing the flag and taking it the opposing team's base.

Though there are no limits, most teams in elimination games are 5 vs 5 up to about 30 vs 30. If teams get much larger than that, it becomes difficult to referee and control.

Games typically last 5-20 minutes depending on the size and type of field.

The Tournament World

Paintball tournaments began in the 1990's. As the equipment became higher and higher performance, the tournaments adapted to reflect the changes. Paintball tournaments are divided up 2 ways
  • Skill level (rookie, amateur, novice, & pro)
  • Team size ( 3 man, 5 man, 7 man, & 10 man teams)

Though there are variations in official field sizes and design, all tournament fields are relatively small (usually 50 yards in length or smaller). Bunkers are air filled shapes called airball bunkers. They are portable, uniform in sizes, and will not hurt players of they run into them.

All tournaments are capture the flag style games. Points are awarded for the first team to grab the flag, for player eliminations, and for bringing the flag to the opposing team's starting base. These games are very fast-paced and are over in under 10 minutes.

Scenario Games

Scenario games are often thought of as the opposite style of play to tournament style. Scenario games are usually very large (up to 2-3,000 players) and take place over several days and many acres. A theme is chosen to base the event off and to give it more of a special effect. The most well-known scenario game is held annually in Oklahoma State and is a reenactment of WWII D-day in Europe.

While there are typically 2 major sides that battle it out, there are many objectives and side missions that each side must try and complete in order to win just like a real war conflict. In addition all sorts of unusual vehicles, weapons and costumes are brought in for added fun. There are many homemade tanks, buggies, mortar launchers, bazookas and land mines that may be lurking in these games.

Unlike brute force, cunning and disguised movement is often what wins games.


This site and all images property of Zak Vetter 2008 All rights reserved