Beginner's guide to paintballing
First time paintballing? Not sure what to expect? Our guide will provide you with all the information and tips you need to make sure you get the most out of your day.
What is the aim of paintballing?
Paintballing is a game where two opposing teams fire paintballs at each other in order to win. The goal of the game can vary from capturing your opponent's flag or defending your own flag to eliminating the most players on the opposite team. The size of a team can differ depending on how many people are in a group.
What are paintballs?
Paintballs are capsules containing non-toxic water-soluble dye with a hard gelatin shell. They're fired using a paintball marker, or gun and leave splashes of colour on clothing so you know when you've been 'marked' or when you've 'marked' someone else.
What equipment do you use?
The main equipment used in paintballing is the marker, or gun, which uses compressed air or carbon dioxide to shoot out the paintballs. You're also required to wear a mask or goggles to protect your face, this must be worn at all times.
The paintballs themselves come in lots of different shapes and sizes, depending on quality. You'll need to pay for your paintballs before you start the game and how many you buy is completely up to you. On average a person usually goes through 400-500 paintballs a day but this depends on how trigger-happy you are. Don't worry, you can buy additional ammunition between games if you find yourself running out.
Where and how long do you play for?
There are many different variations of paintballing, you can play it indoors or outdoors over different size areas. The field of play is usually covered with different types of terrain like mounds, trenches, trees and bushes which provide cover for players.
Each game typically has a time limit of around 10 minutes so if you get hit straight away, you won't have to wait long until the end of the game. This can be adjusted according to the number of players and size of the area being used. If you get hit by a paintball, it will either break and cover your clothing in colourful dye which means you're out of the game or bounce off and explode near you. As long as it doesn't directly hit you, you're still in the game so don't necessarily think you're out if there's a lot of dye covering your clothing.
What do I need to bring on the day?
Players should wear old clothing that's comfortable to run and hide in. You may also want to bring a spare change of clothing to wear afterwards. Due to the uneven terrain, players are recommended to wear sturdy boots with good tread, grip and ankle support. If it's particularly wet and muddy, you may want to wear wellies.
You'll need to bring some money on the day to pay for paintballs and also lunch if this isn't provided. Some operators sell paintball accessories, like grenades, which are available to buy during the day. Registration forms should be completed before you play and players under the age of 16 must have their forms signed by an adult. These details should be provided when you make your purchase.
Does it hurt if you get hit?
As long as you're wearing all of the protective clothing and follow the advised safety procedures, paintballs won't cause a serious injury. It's best to layer up your clothing for additional padding, or wear a protective vest for extra defence against the paintballs! The dye is easy to remove from skin or clothing using warm water and soap so it won't stain.
Useful advice when you're playing
- Pick your first shelter before the game starts - you'll need enough cover to hide you from your opponents but it needs to be in a good enough location so you can still look all around and be in range to shoot other players
- Move around - staying in one position for the whole game makes you more susceptible to your opponents
- Make some noise - If you're spotted, yell and shout so that your team mates can hear you and help you out
- Be patient with your shots - don't just fire spontaneously, your paint is precious. Make sure your shot hits your target
- Above all - remember to have fun!
Paintball safety tips
- Wear an approved mask or goggles at all times
- Never shoot at a player who isn't wearing a protective mask or goggles
- Don't fire your gun unless you have a target, you may hit an object or people leaving the area of play
- Make sure your gun is blocked with a plug or sock when not in use during a game
- Never look down the barrel of your gun to see if it's loaded
- Follow the specified rules of the operator, including the close-range distance, where you can't shoot at someone who is within a certain distance from you (around 10ft)