So You Wanna Play Paintball?
Well good, because paintball rocks! It's tons of fun, fantastic exercise, and it usually gets you outdoors. Besides, where else can you legally shoot your friends, enemies, and coworkers?
Where do go to you play paintball?
What are the rules of a paintball game?
Does it hurt to get shot by a paintball?
What equipment do I need to get started?
For the rookie paintballer, there are lots of questions.
Beginning paintball players will want to know what to expect, before putting themselves out on a paintball field.
The Basics of Playing Paintball - What to Expect for First-Timers
Paintball is a LOT more fun than you might think, especially if you've never played before. Nothing beats the excitement of that very first whistle, signaling the start of an all-out paintball war between two evenly-matched teams.
If you've never played before, Paintball is a lot more organized than you might imagine. There are rules, referees, and boundaries. There are objectives, goals, and time limits.
Most of all, safety is taken very seriously in a paintball game. The equipment is designed to protect you from harm, and the referees will take good care of you. So if you follow all the rules? You'll come home from a day of paintball happy, exhausted, and with all your toes and fingers intact.
Your Average Day of Paintball - How Things Are Broken Down
For beginners, your introduction to paintball begins with check-in. It ends with the final whistle. In between, a lot of stuff happens. So let's go over the basics of an average paintball day:
- Arrival & Check-In
- Renting Paintball Equipment
- Morning Paintball Games
- Lunch Break
- Afternoon Paintball Games
When first arriving at a paintball field or indoor facility, you'll first need to check in. Most places require reservations, but walk-ins are also acceptable. Bring a form of ID; you'll need this to prove your age as well as to rent on-field paintball equipment. You'll also be required to sign a waiver at most places, absolving them of blame should you get hurt on the battlefield.
Once you've checked in, you'll need to suit up. To play the game you'll need a gun (also known as a paintball 'marker'), a tank (usually CO2 or N2 - Nitrogen gas), a face mask, and a bunch of paintballs. Optional but recommended are gloves, knee pads, elbow pads, and chest protector. You can usually rent everything right there at the check-in area.
For more details, read up on this full list of equipment needed to play paintball.
When everyone's checked in and ready to roll, orientation begins. This is where your field referees will explain the basics of paintball safety, usually in great and excruciating detail. You'll learn what's legal, what's not legal, and where to go when you get shot out of a game. You'll also be divided into teams, and given different colored armbands. A good ref will create balanced teams of roughly equal experience, and might modify teams as the day goes on.
Most fields or paintball facilities have a wide variety of different playing fields. This enables multiple teams to 'switch off' throughout the day, playing against other people on different battlefields. Expect to play anywhere from 2 to 6 paintball games in the morning, depending upon how quickly your orientation went, and how fast everyone got ready.
At around noon, teams break for lunch. Outdoor paintball fields generally have a common area of picnic tables used for orientation, eating, reloading, and resting up. Indoor fields will have a snack bar. Either way they'll probably sell food... but the best paintballers know to bring their own. Pack yourself a cooler, and eat in the parking lot with the rest of the veterans.
Once everyone's back from lunch, the refs will start the afternoon games. Expect to play another 4 to 6 games after lunch, depending upon how fast everyone gets done eating. An average outdoor field will end the day at 4pm, as this gives everyone enough time to return rental equiment. However many games you get in is entirely up to your group.
In the end, an average day of paintball takes about seven hours. During that time you'll run, jump, duck, hide, crawl, climb, and do just about everything else; in other words, it's a physically demanding day. So if you don't stretch and limber up? Chances are good you'll be feeling it tomorrow.
Paintball Guns, Playing Equipment, & Protective Clothing
Paintball veterans know the value of having good, reliable gear. And for beginners? Owning your own paintball equipment costs only slightly more than renting... and who wants to wear the same skeevy facemask that 300 other people breathed into all day long anyway?
Paintball Tips & Tactics: What You'll Find on This Website
Paintball beginners will find TONS of great information on what to expect on and off the paintball field. And for experts? Read up on paintball tips and tactics, as well as product and equipment reviews for some of the highest-quality paintball markers, masks, protective wear, and gear.
Be sure to check the links and articles in the left-column of the site for lots more information.