The sport of paintball is an ancient one and there are many variations on how the game is played. There are almost an unlimited variety of rules and regulations that players can choose to enforce. However, the most basic object of the sport is to be the first to mark your opponents with a paintball marker before they hit you. The three most popular types of paintball games are woodsball, milsim and speedball.
Woodsball is a very immersive style of gameplay that is characterized as an extreme sport played in large outdoor settings such as forests or other heavily wooded areas. The natural setting of woodsball gives players the opportunity to play a number of scenarios. Given the size of the setting, players often come up with strategies on how to traverse the terrain in order to find the their opponents while avoid being detected. Depending on the size of the field, many players do not encounter their opponents until 5-10 minutes into the game. The number of players are also not limited unlike indoor settings. There are a number of games and tournaments that attract thousands every year. These types of games take extreme planning and allows players to reenact truly historical battles of the past. The number of players also allow them to divide themselves further into squads or units.
Capture the Flag
In this mode of gameplay, players try to capture a physical flag much like the original capture the flag game. In this case, players are eliminated if they are hit or marked by an enemy. After possession of the flag, players must try to return to their base without being struck.
Defend the Castle
In this scenario, there is usually a shack or an abandoned wooden building that players designate as the castle. One team is stationed inside defending it while the other team tries to breach it. Teams can also develop advanced strategies or split themselves up to breach multiple points simultaneously. This is related to the military simulation version where a team storms a compound to “rescue” hostages while the other team tries to prevent it.
Free for All
Players all start a fixed distance from every other player. From then on, it’s a race to mark everyone else. The last person standing wins the game. The key is to survive however you can. Having the most “kills” means nothing if you do not last till the end.
This mode involves playing during night time and being equipped with night vision goggles. Basically, this game is the same as normal woodsball except the addition of nighttime adds additional challenges. Even though some of those challenges are mitigated by the night vision goggles, it’s still a very challenging but rewarding type of game.
Military simulation is a type of gameplay where players immerse themselves in a fictional military scenario. The objective here is often to adhere to military battles as close as possible. As a result, many players will wear uniforms of their favorite military force and have guns that resemble actual military weapons. Military simulations can be played in outdoor settings as well as indoor urban settings. In addition to the usual armor and markers, most players also choose to communicate with two way radios. This makes teams well coordinated and aware of their surroundings, much like how actual soldiers operate during war.
Compared to other types of gameplay, strategic planning is a crucial part of military simulation games. Mission objectives are made in advanced and there are often multiple secondary and tertiary objectives. There are no strict rules on what objectives must be met and players often make up the rules as they go. This type of gameplay evokes realistic reactions from all players and adds to the game’s excitement.
Speedball is the most traditional of the three types of gameplay mentioned here. The game is played in a traditional paintball course with artificial barriers. Teams are also smaller than either military simulation or woodsball due to the smaller nature of the course. Objectives include being eliminating the other team before you get eliminated. Many players prefer speedball because it is the most convenient type of play and requires the least amount of planning. They could simply drive to a paintball course, gear up, and start playing.
The controlled manner of the course also makes the game much easier to regulate for paintball tournaments. Obstacles and barriers could be placed symmetrical on both sides so teams will start off evenly. The Paintball Sports Promotions league in the United States use speedball exclusively.
The numerous variants of the other two types of paintball, woodsball and military simulation, can also be applied to speedsball. Capture the flag, defend the castle and free for all are also often played in speedball. Because of the simplicity of the game, players often use the most common type of equipment and gear. Even though masks are always a must, other body armor are optional as players can maneuver around the course faster without the added weight.