The game of Paintball can be played in almost infinite variations and ruleset. These are agreed upon before the game starts. The basics are generally to achieve the goal of the game without being shot or hit. There are even different rules of when a hit is considered successful, reaching from anything is valid (Paintballs breaking or not) to a minimum size of the mark left on the player by the size of a US quarter or greater. Eliminated participants are supposed to leave the game immediately. There are also variants where eliminated players can return to the game under certain conditions, respawning rules and so forth.
The different Gameplay modes of Paintball
The most popular game modes known are probably Capture the Flag and Elimination. From the basic game modes, other variants developed such as Woodsball that is being played in the forest or woods within the natural playing field, or Speedball that is played on a small field usually with air-filled obstacles that consists of much faster-paced gameplay (usually a game lasts a few minutes). Last but not least there is also Scenario Paintball that attempts to re-enact fictional or historical contexts, the most popular and largest being Oklahoma D-Day (World War II).
Woodsball also called Bushball evolved rather late in the history of Paintball. It sort of evolved from elimination games being played outside in light woods acting as playing field with natural structures and cover. The tactical aspect of this game mode is even further enhanced with stealth possibilities and concealment or cover options. Adapting the gear and clothing to the forest environment and forming squads with an understanding of silent communication makes a big part of Woodsball.
Speedball is a game-mode that takes place on an open field and usually consists of very flat terrain. This can however also be played indoors and big enough arenas are suitable to host speedball games. Originally larger covers such as flat wooden obstacles were used, these quickly developed and evolved to the smaller fabric inflatable covers that are used today. These are also preferrable from safety point of view as sliding and hitting into them is not as hazardous.
The inflatable covers also provide high flexibility in the arrangement of the playing field. Changes are quickly made and can be adapted to the preference of the players and or game hosts. The flexibility is also what makes this game mode so popular for tournaments. The PSP is a very popular Brand that hosts various events during the summer all over the United States.
Speedball includes a very high energy and fast-paced gameplay. That promotes the use of quality equipment where the paintball markers have a high rate of fire. The players are eliminated and you ideally want to shoot as fast as possible. You will need loads of Paintballs as ammunition gets used very heavily. Be prepared to spend more if you are into this game style. However, this is also considered as the pinnacle of the sport with regards to the competitiveness and is played by the professional players.
Scenario games evolved out of Woodsball games that re-enact large scale historical and iconic battles. These games can typically involve hundreds or thousands (2000-4500) of players simultaneously and last from days to even weeks on end. These games are also called “Big Games” or “Scenario Games”. The most famous Scenario games are well known and named:
- Cousins Big Game in Coram, New York (Long Island)
- Hell Survivor’s Monster Game (Pickney, Michigan)
- Invasion of Normandy (Skirmish Paintball, Pennsylvania)
- Oklahoma D-Day (Wyandotte, Oklahoma)
Yet another modification of this game mode is called “Attack and Defend” and involves large-scale player bases to try to overtake a structure or a building that is well defended.
Milsim is short for Military Simulation and is derived combining Military strategy and tactics into Paintball gameplay. The goals and objectives of this game mode are heavily leaned towards military operations and also even sometimes used as combat training from armed forces. The game usually involves many different aspects such as logistics, mission planning and operation briefing, resource and ammunition orchestration.
The game also enforces rather strict rules as opposed to other types of gameplay, such as any trace of paint usually leads to elimination. As one would think Milsim does include many players that also arm themselves with airsoft guns due to
Another aspect of Milsim actually led to the development of shaped projectiles which in turn allowed for spring-fed magazines as opposed to the gravity fed hoppers. For one reason that was also due to aesthetics and also adds more similarity with regards to military realism.