If you want an intense game to play with your friends - there’s nothing quite like paintball. There’s really no game that can turn even the best friendship into a competitive rivalship. And precisely because it’s such an intense game, almost every single beginner is extremely nervous when they play their first paintball match. But if you do all you can to learn everything about this sport, you’ll feel much less pressure when you start out. That’s why we’re here to familiarize you with some of the basics!
One of the most important things for paintball is the equipment you have. Considering that, we’ll have a look at the basic gear you’ll need in order to have a fun time!
Your basic piece of weaponry is a paintball gun, also called a paintball marker. This marker shoots the eponymous paintballs at an incredibly high velocity using compressed air. If you’re just starting out with this game, you don’t have to spend too much money on gear; that will come later. You’ll be perfectly fine with a gun that costs around $100-150. Once you become a more seasoned and experienced player, you’ll find yourself craving the high-end markers which can set you back more than half a thousand dollars!
This is an intense sport, so we definitely recommend getting a pair of goggles and a protective mask. In fact, you probably won’t be allowed on the field without putting on a mask. And if you’re smart, you’ll make an initial investment into a proper safety mask of premium quality. Of course, if you’re strapped for money, you can just rent one for a couple of games.
Keep in mind, though - low-quality safety masks almost always fog up, making visibility more challenging. If you want to avoid such issues, look for masks that are designed for better breathability, and minimize fogging.
The ammo you use in this game is the titular paintball. These are pretty much pods containing water-soluble and non-toxic dye, with an outer shell made of gelatin. Before you start playing, you’ll get a specific color for that match; which makes downed targets pretty clear.
In the end, this also makes determining who won more easily, regardless of whether it’s an individual or a team. Also, in most cases, it’s your choice whether you want to buy your own paintballs from sporting goods shops, or directly in the arena you’re playing in.
If you get hit by a paintball, there’s a chance your skin may bruise on that spot; though, there’s no reason to be scared - it doesn’t hurt a lot. Still, you should take care to get as much protection as possible. There is additional safety gear to buy, including:
Gloves - it pays to get a pair of thick gloves for the paintball playground. In most situations, it will hurt more if you’re hit on your knuckles or palms than anywhere else.
Thick Clothes - for some additional protection, it’s not a bad idea to get some thick clothes; like pants and long-sleeve shirts. Though, don’t wear anything you’re not afraid to get dirty or ripped; battlefields tend to get quite muddy and nasty, just like in real life.
Cups - If you want to avoid dealing with the most unpleasant sports injury possible; get an athletic cup for your crotch!
Naturally, even the best paintball equipment in the world doesn’t make a player any better than they really are. That’s why knowing the basic tenents of this game is important for absolute beginners - and we’re here to clue you in!
When you compete against an opposing team, and it’s not a free-for-all game; there’s nothing more imperative than proper communication. Never mind your guns and ammo - teamwork is the most lethal weapon you can use against an opponent in the paintball arena. This will allow you to coordinate strategy, tactics, moves, and individual attacks.
Considering that, we recommend having a team meeting before everyone heads out - coming up with a strategy on which you can all coordinate will result in a much better match. It’s also advisable to figure out some hand signals that will make your communication during the match less obvious. Think about it - if you yell out what you’re going to do, the opposing team will find it much easier to retaliate at once. So, hand signals and other gestures are an awesome addition to any team’s strategy.
While you’re in the playing field, there’s one important rule to remember - always keep moving. You don’t want to be sitting ducks for your opponent(s). Also, don’t just shoot randomly without aiming. Always know when you’re supposed to shoot, or bunker up and take some cover. Be patient, and don’t rush things even in a fast-paced game. Wait for your opponents to make the first mistake and reveal themselves. That’s when you can reap the biggest advantage.
During every paintball game, there’s that one guy who’s seen too many action movies. He takes the heroic approach, and just rushed aimlessly expecting to gun down everyone. Naturally, he goes down in a couple of minutes at most. So, before you make any sort of attack - you need to attain a tactical mindset. Become familiar with the turf and your surroundings. Before you can make an effective game strategy, you’ll need to gather enough intel.
If you want to gather all the intelligence you need - stealth will be absolutely essential. It will allow you to monitor the movements of your rivals, and make sure that your team knows their positions at all times. And if you need to achieve specific objectives, like defending an area or preparing for some kind of ambush; all of this will be crucial.
Before you start, it’s not a bad idea to have a walk on the field, and make sure all players are aware of the game boundaries. And the pitch should be just right - not too small, and not too big.
For a three against three match, a field of around 150 yards is pretty much appropriate. If we’re talking about a bigger team than that, you may require more space for a nice game.
Remember - each member of your team must be fully aware of what the ultimate objectives for your team are. You may be playing a straight knock-out match or something more complex like capture the flag. Regardless of what it is, all the players must have a clear understanding of the objectives and rules, if you want the game to be smooth.
Apart from that, you should also settle the longevity of the game; the timing shouldn’t be too long, as the match won’t be fun for people who get thrown out right away at the start. So, you may want to organize a tournament-esque succession of short games; that will be fun and exciting for everyone.
You should be aware of the fact that every single paintball arena or ground has its own specific local rules; these should be followed to the letter if you want to maintain the safety of the audience and the players. For example, certain areas have a 3m rule; in other words, if you’re standing closer than 3 meters to your opponent, you can’t shoot them.
Also, some places will offer bonus points for particular tactical feats, so some players may want to go after that. There are basically countless variations of each basic type of game, with only the fundamentals staying the same.
Once the game starts, and you’re in the middle of a virtual battleground; you should be ready for absolutely anything. Don’t let yourself be hampered by silly things like a lack of paintballs. That will make the game far less exciting for you; something you definitely don’t want. Plus, it’ll make a loss for your team a more likely outcome. So, stock up on ammo during breaks, and consider carrying battle packs with additional paintballs in reserve.
Also, always keep an eye on your surroundings - just like you would while moving through an actual battle zone. Try to keep a mental map of the area you’re playing in, and predict where your enemies may be in accordance with that.
If there’s one essential kind of skill that you will require for a paintball game - it’s making use of stealth and taking cover. On the one hand, you need to know how to take up a defensive position and hide at the right time and place. But on the other, you don’t want to hole up somewhere where you won’t have a clear view of what’s going on around you.
In fact, many newbies just constantly take too much cover in order to not get killed and thus end up missing all of the fun activities. Plus, they make it more likely that they’ll get flanked and end up in a trap. So, shoot intelligently and stay moderately stealthy; always make sure you can see at least some of your enemies so that you can adjust your tactics accordingly.
One one of the teams has achieved the victory objectives, all of the other players in the game should immediately be informed; though, you don’t want to remove the safety mask until everyone has stopped actively shooting.
As we’ve mentioned above, most paintball arenas have specific regulations and rules; though there are some common safety rules everyone should follow:
Don’t take your facemask off while you’re on the ground
Once a paintball leaves a mark on you, know that you’re no longer a valid participant in the current game - though balls that don’t burst and bounce off won’t count. When you see that you’re out, notify everyone by telling the referee.
If there are minimum distance rules like the 3m one, make sure you respect it. And never shoot someone who’s already on their way out.
Calling yourself out is your own responsibility, so do this correctly and honestly; that’s paramount to a friendly and engaging rivalry.