Paintball is a sport in which participants use compressed-gas (either CO2, N2,air, and recently propane canisters) powered guns to shoot paintballs—marble-sized gelatin capsules containing a non-toxic, Vegetable based dye—at other players. Among the most common of the many variations of the sport is a version of capture the flag, in which two teams of players attempt to seize each others' banner without being eliminated (struck by a paintball). Another common variation is total elimination, in which one team wins when all members of the opposing team are eliminated by being struck by a paintball.

The first paintball game was played in New Hampshire in 1981 by Bob Gurnsey, Hayes Noel, and Charles Gaines, who used guns (also called "markers") built to tag cattle or trees. The first tournament with a cash prize was held in 1983.

The terms "paintball marker" and "paintball gun" are interchangable. However, the term marker is generally preferred due to negative connotations attached to the word "gun." Other than markers, paintball equipment includes various forms of protective gear.

Paintball games

Location/Fields: Woodsball

Woodsball is the classic, oldest and most common style of paintball played. Most woodsball fields are large enough to hold dozens of players on each team and sometimes have some pre-made bunkers along with the natural cover. Woodsball games are generally longer in duration than other formats, and rely on entirely different tactics. Whereas speed and rate of fire are key elements in a speedball game, woodsball relies much more on strategy, teamwork, concealment, large-scale maneuvers, and patience.


Speedball is played much faster than its brother woodsball. It is usually played on a much smaller field roughly the size of two tennis courts. Many speedball fields use inflatable bunkers and are generally sized for teams of three to ten. Since the opposing teams are much closer together, there is a lot of movement and a lot of "bunkering", or running up to an opposing player's bunker and eliminating them from a close distance. Also the markers are generally much faster, smaller, lighter and more expensive than woodsball markers.

Due to the team based rule enforced action, speedball is the perfect basis for tournaments, and many leagues exist. The three big national tournaments are the NPPL, PSP, and NXL, with many other local tournament series such as the CFOA or NEPL.


Scenario paintball games are often larger-scale re-enactments of historical battles involving hundreds of people, such as the Battle of Normandy, or modern day scenarios such as storming a building and rescuing hostages. Scenario games can last hours or sometimes days, and bigger games often have player re-insertions at set intervals. Many fields hold scenario games, and many promoters are now running scenario games at different fields. One well-known field for scenario games is Skirmish Paintball in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania which holds several scenario games every year, including The Battle of Stalingrad and the aforementioned Battle of Normandy (also called D-Day) which increases in size every year and continues to be the largest scenario game in the world, with more than 5,000 attendees in 2005 at D-day. There are a limited # of American slots so sign up now!


Gauntlet, like Duel, is one-on-one; however, it does not have the same restrictions on ammunition, and players generally start on opposing ends of the designated play area (similar to most team games). Gauntlet games have become more popular as a quick filler in larger play scenarios, for instance, between players awaiting re-insertion into a scenario game.



Tournament Paintball has been a part of paintball from nearly the beginning; however, the modern tournament has developed in earnest within the past 15 years. Tournaments, while once held in the traditional woodsball fields, have quickly made the transition to speedball fields, generally utilizing inflatable bunkers. The most widely-used bunkers are made by Sup'Air. These bunkers are easy to inflate, deflate, and move about the field in order to change field configurations between matches or tournament stages.


The most common tournament formats are with teams of either three, five, or seven players per team, with two teams per field per game. The object of the game is to pull and hang the flag (usually placed in the center of the field) on your opponent's starting bunker or base. Points are given per game: Eliminations are worth a certain amount, as is pulling the flag, and finally, hanging the flag. Depending on the format, a perfect score includes eliminating all opponents, pulling the flag from its original position and hanging the flag.

X-ball is a new format of paintball in as many rounds are played that can be fit into twenty minutes, the end of the round is determined by the hang of the flag a live player at the opposite team's base. Each team consists of 5 players and recieves one point for each time they hang the flag. A match is sperated into two 10 minute halves, and the clock is stopped each time the flag is hung, and restarted when the next game starts. Also different rules apply to this format. There is a different gun setting allowed which your marker can go into a "ramp" mode were you pull the trigger at least 3 ball/s and the gun ramps to 15 ball/s but has to be capped at 15 ball/s. Coaches are also allowed where somebody on the sidelines can tell you what to do which does not apply to a normal 7 man format.

© Copyright 2024 Sports Central All rights reserved.
Unauthorized duplication in part or whole strictly prohibited by international copyright law.