Let's Play Paintball
Playing Paintball is Fun For the Whole Family!
To the left is my son, also known as "The Boy". For his birthday one year he wanted to play paintball. It's a game we all play as a family - with and against each other - and, often, with other friends and acquaintances. The more, the merrier!
Now, paintball is definitely a Spring or Fall game if you're playing outdoors, unless you're impervious to pain. I'll explain about "pain" later. The Boy's birthday is in late June. It was a bit warm to play during the day so we waited until after 5:00 in the evening. He wanted to play again last year for his birthday but we had temperatures in the 90s - in Ohio in late June and it just wasn't possible. Why not, you ask...well, because of pain... I guess I better explain.
Read on for all the scoop on the game and sport of paintball!
The Games People Play
The photo shows a couple of the young men we played with for my son's birthday waiting patiently in line for the hoppers (paintball holders / feeders) on their paintball markers (guns) to be filled. I think the one young man's t-shirt says it all, "Do what you love!". We love paintball in all of it's forms!
Paintball is a growing sport that can be played by two people or 40 people facing off against each other in the backyard, the woods or in an arena style setting. We sometimes play in the woods in our area but just as often we play in an overgrown farm field with some man made barriers (pallets with cardboard inserts).
You can play games like "capture the flag", other team style games for points or bragging rights, "lone wolf" (one against many, one of my sons favorites), "last man standing", "extremities" (only limb shots count and once shot, you lose the use of that limb. 4 limbs shot, you're out.) and many more.
There's just one thing you really need to know about this game: Paintballs can sting where they hit, especially if they hit soft flesh, and they can leave a bruise. Heavy clothing or clothing made for paintball is usually advised. That's the reason for my previous pain advisories and the heavy clothing is the reason it's a tough game to play when the temperature exceeds 70-75 degrees. Even hardened athletes in sports like football have a tough time running around a paintball battlefield with heavy clothes on and all their gear for extended periods of time when it's 90 degrees!
If you're not afraid of a little bit of potential discomfort to play a game everyone can get into and, literally have a ball, paintball is the way to go! Look at it this way; it's going to hurt much, much less than tackle football!
The Basic Equipment Requirements for Paintball
Here's what you really need to have a great day playing paintball with your friends or others who are brave and willing...
A paintball marker - Note, while many call it a "gun", it's actually considered a "marker". Also, although you could technically hand feed each ball, it's probably not your best survival move. You'll want a hopper that attaches directly to the marker. A standard one is very inexpensive. Motorized ones cost more and, usually, aren't worth it as they often have auto-feed problems and they'll also give your position away in a stealth environment (woods) with their constant whirring sound.
A Co2 canister filled with Co2 (this is a one time bottle purchase and a few bucks a refill in my area which is generally enough for several rounds of play if you have a 20oz bottle).
Paintballs - It will be a very short day without these!
A paintball mask. You'd be a fool to enter a paintball battle without a face mask. Scroll up and see the picture at the top of the page for a prime example of the reason for this!
A place to play! You can certainly play in your backyard, if you have a bit of room, but you're better off playing in wooded areas and / or in open fields with man-made diversions. You can also utilize any number of facilities, both indoor and outdoor (with light to heavy terrain) dedicated to paintball that have popped up around the country in the past several years. We have some great ones near us. Those, of course, charge fees and typically require the signing of a waiver of liability to the facility. If you don't have an easily accessible area of your own to play in or a place where you have permission to play, the Paintball Review website can help:
And, last but certainly not least; you need a group of enthusiastic participants willing to shoot at others for fun and be shot at. Oh, and it's very helpful if they have the previously mentioned thick clothes! Official paintball attire is not required - unless they're playing competitively or in certain leagues.
Your Basic Tippman Paintball Marker
You can buy a serviceable paintball marker at many mass merchandisers for less than $40 U.S. that will get you in the game. For accuracy, more range and long game play (Co2 can start to freeze the tubing and make your marker misfire) you'll want a bit better than basic equipment.
You can spend thousands of dollars on a single paintball marker. You'd be the envy of everyone you play with until it jams, as all markers do, and then they'll all walk away snickering at you. What you really need to get started is a decent marker from one of the most trusted names in recreational paintball, Tippman.
Below is the Tippman A5. It's their standard marker. Most players, while they may interchange barrels on this (longer for more accuracy, for example), will never otherwise need another marker. It's a nice marker and it comes in an easy to blend in black as opposed to the silver, blue and red of a certain retailers line of markers (imagine that!).
Other Equipment You May Want
Now, you'll fill your hopper with paintballs to start off but, in the heat of battle, you're not going to want to run back to base to refill when you run out. You're going to want some inexpensive pods and a pod belt so you can carry extra ammo for refills.
You'll want camouflage attire / dark attire / earth tones for outdoor play. The photo is again of "The Boy" after he put together his latest funky crawling suit. He has a store bought ghillie suit he has played in too. During a game in the woods, I couldn't see him for nothin' in the ghillie suit! He shot me in a place that got a bruise for two weeks when we were on opposite teams (adults against kids). Now, I try to play on his team now when he's camo'ed up!
A shirt designed specifically for paintball with padding for outside arena and indoor arena play. There are places that have an arena type set up consisting of a flat, fenced in playing area that's usually only half a football field long or so. There are typically some blow up obstacles for cover and nothing more. Indoor arenas are much the same. These are generally used for league and tournament play. Padded clothing is a necessity given the close ranges.
Get All the Basics from Amazon
Everything else you need, once you get a marker.
Ready! Aim! Fire!
Let the Games Begin!
Paintball...Yes or No?
Do You Play Paintball?
All Set? Let's Play!
The two young men in the photo don't look very stealthy, do they? I was the photographer that round and I had a position on a hill in the back of a pick-up. They actually did manage to go undetected for a bit and took out a couple of members of the other team before they ran out of ground cover!
They didn't care! They were having a great time!
We want to hear all about it! What's your favorite brand of marker? Brand of balls? Game? Place to play?