Paintball, what is it?
Paintball is one of the fastest-growing sports in Europe. It first started over forty years ago in America but today is played around the globe.
There are various styles of paintball. The most common being tournament, scenario, woodsball, magfed and recreational play (Rec-ball) at paintball centres accessible to the public at large.
Played in an arena laid out with inflatable barricades. The size of the arena and the number, shape and layout of the barricades is set down in the tournament rules. Two teams of three to five players then compete in fast and furious games objective-based games
Teams try to achieve objectives but within the setting of a ‘scenario’, which might, for example, be a historical re-enactment of an event or an imaginary circumstance. These events take place in settings ranging from disused military bases, through ancient castles to large woodlands.
Similar to tournament paintball but played in a woodland setting, whilst devotees of magfed paintball take part using paintball guns (properly known as markers) that have a limited number of rounds of ammunition.
Most first time players will attend a corporate day event, stag or birthday party, or are a group of friends getting together to have a fun day out. They will play at one of the UK’s 200 or so commercial paintball venues.
Whatever the style of play the basics are the same. Opposing teams shoot small balls of paint at each other with the aim of marking their opponents with a splat of paint. The marked player is knocked out of the game as each team strives to achieve the game’s objective. Depending on the style of play games can last anything from a few minutes to several hours!
Is it pretend soldiering?
A common mistake is that paintball is aimed at would-be soldiers. Whilst it’s true that many younger players – boys and girls alike – try paintball for the first time because they’ve grown up with “shoot ‘em up” video games, the reality is they soon learn paintball is high-energy, high adrenalin that requires great skill and fitness to reach the top levels of the sport.
Paintball can be played by pretty much anyone, young and old (venues have different minimum ages), fat, thin, fit, unfit, men and woman can all be equals on the Paintball battlefield.
Does paintball hurt and is it dangerous?
Safety is paramount in paintball and a properly equipped player who uses the equipment correctly need have no fear of injury from a paintball. Like other sports protective equipment is used to avert recognised risks.
By far the MOST IMPORTANT pieces of safety equipment are specially designed masks (Goggles) to protect the eyes, ears and mouth from injury. Novice players will receive a safety briefing before playing to emphasize the importance of ALWAYS wearing a mask and following other rules, such as minimum firing distances. The key role of the marshals who control the games is to enforce the rules to maintain a safe and fun game.
In addition to masks, players may wear additional protective clothing such as padded chest plates, gloves and elbow or knee protection for when laying or crouching down.
Paintball venues have equipment that enables trained staff to check and regulate paintball markers to ensure the velocity of the round is within the permitted range (which is set down in law). Paintball technology has improved so the paintballs themselves are more fragile and burst on impact.
Many Paintball venues now use a smaller sized (50cal) Paintball that goes by the name Low Impact Paintball. Due to the reduced size, the energy and impact of these smaller Paintballs are much lower. The rush is just the same, but if you’re scared of getting hurt, check out Low Impact Paintball.
Players wearing the right equipment and playing safely as covered in the safety briefing run no greater risk – probably much less – of bruises or injury than someone playing a field sport like football.
How much does Paintballing cost?
For a recreational player, a good average cost is around £10 per playing hour.
Most venues catering for novice players will offer either an entry fee (covering equipment hire) and paintballs at anything between £5 and £8 per 100, or packages that include equipment, a specific number of paintballs and sometimes refreshments. The type of paintball you play will vary the number of balls you require. Typically 500 paintballs are good for a day of play if you are not too trigger-happy and will cost around £35 per person.
How Long does Paintball last?
Time played varies from venue to venue and the type of paintball played, Magfed, Tournament, Scenario or Woodsball. Typically you’ll be able to play for anything from a couple of hours to a full day. Some venues only open at weekends but many are open for bookings on weekdays. Many sites will continue to play into the evening during the lighter summer months.
For experienced passionate players, there are weekend-long events held in interesting or unusual locations. They typically start late on a Friday and finish by Sunday afternoon.
What do I need to take with me?
Sites will recommend you wear clothing suitable for the weather – ideally clothing you’re not too concerned about – and sensible footwear, such as old trainers, sports or work boots or wellingtons. Players often wear hoodies and bring gloves with them. A change of clothing may also be needed if the day is wet or the ground muddy as the dirt and wet can penetrate the suits you’ll be issued with.
The most important thing to bring with you is a sense of fun and a willingness to get stuck in and possibly make a fool of yourself.
Where and when can I play paintball?
Click the ‘Find a Venue’ button below
Give the venue a call – they’ll be happy to advise you on all aspects of the event you are planning, can tailor the day to your needs and will tell you how much it will cost, what to bring, when to arrive and so on.
You will be asked to pay a deposit for the number of players you plan to bring and then it’s just a case of turning up on the specified day to experience the ultimate adrenalin rush!
At BattleGearUK we specialise in Magfed Paintball and as such are affiliated with the best Magfed Event organiser in the UK, OMG Events, who host Magfed Only games across Europe throughout the year. If you want great Magfed Paintball click the other button below