Lake Phoenix offers a variety of games that can be played on our fields. This will give you some background and some thoughts about the types of games to expect.
Paintball is played with a potentially limitless variety of rules and variations, which are specified before the game begins. The most basic game rule is that players must attempt to accomplish a goal without being shot and marked with a paintball. A variety of different rules govern the legality of a hit, ranging from "anything counts" (hits cause elimination whether the paintball broke and left a mark or not) to the most common variation: the paintball must break and leave a mark the size of a US quarter or larger. Eliminated players are expected to leave the field of play; eliminations may also earn the opposing team points. Depending on the agreed upon game rules, the player may return to the field and continue playing, or is eliminated from the game completely.
The particular goal of the game is determined before play begins; examples include capture the flag or Elimination. Paintball has spawned popular variants, including woodsball, which is played in the natural environment and spans across a large area. Conversely, the variant of speedball is played on a smaller field and has a very fast pace with games as brief as two minutes fifteen seconds in the (NSL) or lasting up to twenty minutes in the PSP (Paintball Sports Promotions).[ Another variant is scenario paintball, in which players attempt to recreate historical, or fictional settings; the largest being Oklahoma D-Day's World War II re-enactment.
Woodsball or "Bushball", is a term developed late in the history of the game to refer to what was the original form of the game: teams competing in a wooded or natural environment, in which varying amounts of stealth and concealment tactics can offer an advantage. The term is commonly used as a synonym for specialized scenario-based play, but it technically refers to virtually any form of paintball played in fields primarily composed of natural terrain and cover such as trees and berms, instead of manmade obstacles.
Woodsball may feature large or small teams, in competition to obtain various goals and objectives. Large-scale Woodsball games are commonly referred to as "Big Games" or "Scenario Games". Popular examples of the scenario format are Cousin's Big Game in Coram, New York (on Long Island), Hell Survivor's Monster Game (just outside Pinckney, Michigan), Invasion of Normandy at Skirmish U.S.A in Pennsylvania, and Oklahoma D-Day 9in Wyandotte, Oklahoma), events which draws in 2,000 to 4,500 players and last for two days, up to a week. Another variant of the Big Game is the "Attack and Defend" format where large numbers of attackers try to overrun a fixed, but a well-defended objective, such as a compound or large building.
MilSim ("Military Simulation") is a mode of play designed to create an experience closer to military reality, where the attainment of specific objectives is the most important aspect of the game.
MilSim addresses the logistics of combat, mission planning and execution, and dealing with limited resources and ammunition. Players are typically eliminated from the game when struck by paint. For aesthetic reasons, MilSim often uses airsoft guns rather than paintball guns, as their prominent hoppers appear unrealistic, however Airsoft pellets, being smaller caliber and fired at higher velocity, have an increased risk of player injury if the scenario involves high rates of fire or close range.
With the advent of shaped projectiles, such as the First Strike, and the resulting development of magazine fed markers, a considerable increase in range, accuracy and MILSIM realism was gained. Functionally speaking, magazine-fed markers are no different than any other paintball marker, with one exception. Instead of paintballs being gravity fed from a bulky hopper, which sits above the marker, shaped projectiles (or paintballs) are fed from a spring-loaded magazine from the bottom of the marker. The caliber of both the gravity fed and magazine fed markers are the same (.68 caliber) and the velocities are also generally the same. The increased range and accuracy of the shaped projectile comes from the higher ballistic coefficient that the shaped projectile has, and the gyroscopic spin imparted onto the projectile from a rifled barrel and fins on the projectile itself. Magazine fed markers and shaped projectiles have allowed marker designs to more closely approximate the styling and functionality of actual (real steel) firearms, which intern has given paintball a better avenue to compete with Airsoft in the MilSiM environment.
Speedball is played in an open field that could be compared to a soccer field, it is flat with a minimum of natural obstacles, and sometimes artificial turf is used, especially in indoor fields. The first speedball fields were constructed with flat wooden obstacles staked into the ground to provide cover; this concept was further developed into a number of urban-scenario field styles with larger building-like obstacles for casual play, but speedball itself progressed to using smaller obstacles made from plastic drainage pipe, which offered a more variable field layout and some "give" to the obstacles for increased safety. Eventually, inflatable fabric "bunkers" were developed based on common obstacle shapes from previous fields, such as "snake" and "can" bunkers. The use of inflatable obstacles both increases player safety by reducing potential injury from collisions with obstacles, and allows them to be easily moved to reconfigure the field or to set up temporary fields. Tournaments such as the PSP hold different events throughout the summer months all over the United States. Speedball games were originally started as a way to make the game safer for players who might trip on uneven woodland terrain. Speedball is generally a fast-paced game where many more balls are used than in woodsball style games. The Markers used are usually more "High Tech" in a sense that they are controlled by an electronic board and have very high rates of fire(upwards to 20 ball per second).
Other possible scenarios
Team Deathmatch (Elimination)
Start on different sides of the field with the same amount of players on each team if possible.
Proceed in trying to eliminate every player on the opposing team. Some games can be played with "Multiple Lives". This means a player can be shot 1, 2, 3, or however many times you set up.
Go back to their starting point and can then proceed in re-entering the game if you are shot.
If a player is shot multiple times within a couple seconds of each other it still only counts as one life lost.
The player must go back to the starting point before another life can be lost. This makes games last longer and can also be interesting when you have to borrow paintballs from other players on your team because you run out.
Capture The Flag
Set up two flag sites on opposite sides of the field.
Make sure that everybody knows where each flags are located and the flags cannot be removed or hidden by the team that is guarding it.
Retrieve the other team's flag and bring it back to their own base without being shot.
Eliminations are the same as team deathmatch unless otherwise specified.
Center Flag Push
Know the story well. One flag is placed directly center of the playing field (this step is not important) this method of one flag is fun because it is much more of a challenge then neutral Capture The Flag because neither side has much of an advantage.
Retrieve the flag. You win by reaching the other team's base.
Neutral Capture The Flag
Play the same as regular CTF except that there is only one central flag that players have to try to get possession of.
Try to obtain the flag and bring it back to their own base while trying to fight the other team from capturing it at the same time.
Play the opposite of capture the flag. One team starts off with a "Bomb" (it can be a small box or a towel or plastic bag.)
Make the way to the opposing team's base will be the task for the team with the bomb.
Protect a specified location from the advancing team's bomb. The defending team's duty will be that.
End the game when either side is eliminated, or the bomb reaches the destination.
Two sided Bomb
Play the same as regular bomb except that both sides have a bomb and must plant their bomb on the opposing team's base while trying to defend their own base from the other team's bomb.
There is a bomb located in the middle of the map. Both sides must try to obtain the bomb and reach the opposing team's base.
He/she must leave the bomb in that position and either team can then obtain it and advance it to the opposing team's base when the player is shot.
Predator Vs. Prey
Divide teams unequally.
Keep in mind that the prey will start off with less people. You can decide how you want to do this. (e.g. 2vs3 2vs4 4vs6 and so on.)
Know that teams can be equal if you prefer.
The prey then goes out into the paintball playing area.
Set up where they want; and hide wherever, and however they want. (Under leaves, grass, in a bunker, etc..)
Go out into the field and try to hunt down the prey, while being hunted by the prey themselves if you are predator.
Understand that being shot differs on what team you are on.
If a predator is shot, they are out of the game.
If a prey is shot, they become part of the predators team.
Start off by placing everybody's name on a card and placing them in a container.
Pick a players name out of the container.
Understand that no players can reveal whose name they received. (It would be to your disadvantage anyway.)
Each player then goes out into the field wherever they prefer.
Think like there is every man for himself.
Be aware that on the beginning the game players will try to eliminate whoever name they drew previous to the game starting.
Don't shoot at anybody whose name you did not draw.
Try to hunt down your player as quickly as possibly while watching out for other players that may be hunting you.
Never trust anybody; treat everybody as if they are hunting you.
Remember that when you are shot you are out of the game.
Keep in mind that the player that shot you then receives the players name who you were hunting. That player then proceeds in trying to eliminate the player that you were hunting for.
Keep in mind that once a player is shot they keep all the names of the players who they have already eliminated. (e.g. Player A shoots player B and is now hunting for player C. Player D than shoots player A. Player D only receives C's card and player A leaves the field with player B's card)
End the when there is only one player left on the field.
Be aware that because you are the last man standing doesn't mean that you have won the game.
Award the winner to the player who has the most cards in his possession (Most players eliminated) when the game ends.
Teams begin by picking a VIP for their team.
Everybody must know who the VIP is from each team and the VIP must wear some kind of bright clothing.
You can decide if you want to the VIP to have a gun or be unarmed. Often times it is more exciting if he is unarmed.
Know your main objective. Eliminate the opposing teams VIP while taking out anybody who gets in your way.
If you are shot, you are out of the game.
The game ends when either teams VIP is shot.
Line up shoulder to shoulder, at far ends of the playing area.
Have someone call out the "FIRE!" then each team simultaneously takes one shot each at the other team.
Step out (or fall down) and the survivors stay in their line and take a step forward if you are hit.
Repeat until one team is eliminated.
Playing with Medics
Choose a medic for your team. The medic should be someone who is relatively good at dodging paintballs, as they will have the power to heal everyone else and you want them to be in the game as long as possible.
Try to eliminate players on the other team. If a player who is not the medic gets shot, he is temporarily out.
Heal "out" players. The medic must make their way over to an eliminated player and touch him to heal him. If you want, you can put a limit on the number of times a player can be healed.
Play Team Deathmatch once the medic is hit. The medic cannot heal himself, so once he is out you will have to play as if your team does not have a medic. You cannot elect a new medic.
Put everyone's name on a piece of paper and place in a hat or something similar.
Take one piece of paper out of the hat. The person's name drawn out is the rancid beast.
Send the beast in unarmed. The rancid beast will enter the field and will have 15-20 seconds to hide.
The Hunt. Once hidden, the players may enter the field and hunt the player down.
Kill the players. The beast needs to eliminate the players. This is done by simply touching them. In turn, the players need to eliminate the beast.
Eliminate the player if he is touched by beast. However, the beast can bring them back to the game but as zombies only, and these zombies are in the beast's service.
Close the game when either the beast or the team is eliminated.
Form two teams with uneven ratios. For example: 2 vs 4 2 vs 6. The smaller team has to take out the convoy. The convoy is a shot one and done rule. The "pirates" or "attackers" have three lives.
Make the convoy from one end of the field to the other while carrying a box or bag.
Close the game if, The convoy is killed or The attackers are killed, or The convoy gets to the other side.
Active Shooter(s) Scenario
Split the teams evenly. One team will be Special Weapons And Tactics (S.W.A.T.) And the Other some militant combatant group of their choosing or "Robbers".
Start (both teams) on opposites end of the field. The "Robbers" will have to defend a fixed position and hold out against the officers.
Know that the officers must get the combatants to surrender their weapons (By having them put their hands up and walk off field) or eliminate the targets. Role play is really big in this scenario game.
Concept Fields With many objects set up to allow players to remain hidden from their opponents a concept field is a perfect man-made creation for paintball games. A concept field is usually outdoors and almost always has a theme. Urban concept fields are often seen filled with cars, buildings, and other elements that are found in the city. Some concept field creators go all out and put together themes that may seem a bit over the top to people who aren't familiar with the sport.
Enforcement of game rules
Regulated games are overseen by referees or marshals, who patrol the course to ensure enforcement of the rules and the safety of the players. If a player is marked with paint, they will call him out, but competitors may also be expected to follow the honor code; a broken ball means elimination. Field operators may specify variations to this rule, such as requiring a tag to certain body locations only – such as the head and torso only. There are game rules that can be enforced depending on the venue, to ensure safety, balance the fairness of the game or eliminate cheating.
Masks On Even when a game isn't in progress, virtually all venues enforce a masks-on rule while players are within the playing area. More generally, within any given area of the park, either all players'/spectators'/officials' masks must be on, or all players' markers must either have a barrel block in place or be disconnected from their gas source, to ensure that a paintball cannot be fired from any nearby marker and cause eye injury. Some fields encourage players to aim away from opponents' heads during play if possible; splatter from mask hits can penetrate ventilation holes in the goggles and cause eye irritation, close-range hits to the mask can cause improperly maintained lenses to fail, and hits to unprotected areas of the face, head and neck are especially painful and can cause more serious injury.
Minimum distance – When being tagged, depending on the distance from where the shot was fired, a direct paintball impact commonly causes bruises. In certain areas and at close range, these impacts may leave welts, or even break the skin and cause bleeding. To decrease these risks and the severity of associated injuries, commercial venues may enforce a minimum distance rule; such as 15 ft, whereby players cannot shoot an opponent if they are closer than this distance. Many fields enforce a modified minimum distance surrender rule; a player who advances to within minimum range must offer his opponent the chance to surrender before shooting. This generally prevents injury and discord at recreational games, however it is seldom used in tournaments as it confers a real disadvantage to the attacking player; he must hesitate while his opponent is free to shoot immediately. The act of shooting a player at close range is colloquially called "bunkering"; it happens most often when a player uses covering fire to force his opponent behind the cover of a bunker, then advances on that bunker while still shooting to eliminate the opponent point-blank. A tap of the targeted player with the barrel of a marker, sometimes called a "barrel tag", "Murphy" or "tap-out", is generally considered equivalent to marking them with a paintball and is sometimes used in situations where one player is able to sneak up on an opponent to point-blank range.
Hits - A player is hit if a paintball leaves a solid mark of a specified minimum size (often nickel- or quarter-sized) anywhere on the player's body or equipment. Some variations of paintball don't count hits to the gun or the pod pack, or require multiple hits on the arms or legs. Most professional fields and tournaments, though, count any hit on a person, the equipment on his person, or even objects picked up at random from the field. A gray area of "splatter" often occurs when a paintball breaks on a nearby surface and that paint deflects onto the player; this usually does not count as a hit but it can be difficult to tell the difference between significant splatter and a genuine direct hit.
Overshooting – Fields may discourage players from overshooting (also regarded as bonus balling, "ramping", "overkill", or lighting up), which is to repeatedly shoot an opposing player after he is eliminated from the game. It is also considered overshooting if a player knew the opponent was eliminated but continued to shoot, disregarding the safety of the opposing player and risking dangerous injury to others.
Ramping – Ramping is a feature of many electronic markers, where after a certain number of rapid shots or upon a threshold rate-of-fire being achieved by the player, the gun will begin firing faster than the trigger is being pulled. Ramping of rate of fire is prohibited or sharply limited at most paintball fields, however it is allowed in various tournament formats with specific rules governing when and how the marker may ramp.
Wiping – Players may attempt to cheat by wiping paint from themselves, to pretend they were not hit and stay in the game. If caught, "wipers" are generally called out of the game, and in recreational paintball may be ejected from the field for multiple instances of wiping. Various tournament rules state additional penalties for players or teams caught wiping, such as "3-for-1" (calling the wiping player and the nearest two players out) in PSP capture-the-flag, or a prescribed number of "penalty minutes" in XBall.
Non-contact - While paintball does involve tagging players with paintball projectiles, this is generally considered the sole point of physical contact between members of opposing teams. Players are generally prohibited from physically contacting other players, such as colliding with them, physically restraining them, and especially using fists, feet, protective gear or the markers themselves to hit other players. Fisticuffs in particular are dangerous not only to the participants but to all players on or off the field, and referees are generally trained to respond immediately and aggressively to stop the fight, and to eject and ban instigators of these fights.
Player and team strategy varies depending on the size and layout of the field and the total number and experience level of players. The most basic strategy is to coordinate with the team to distribute the team members across the field roughly perpendicular to the line between starting stations to cover all potential lines of advance; a team that runs all in the same direction is easily flanked by opponents moving around the field on the opposite side. A second basic goal is to control as much of the field as possible, as early as possible, either by being the first to get to advantageous obstacles on the field or by quickly eliminating one or more opponents to reduce the number of directions each player has to watch for incoming paint. The more territory that the members of a team have behind them, the more options they have for choosing effective cover and changing position to get a good shot at one or more opponents, and because the field is of finite size, the fewer options the opposing team has.
A key element of intermediate and advanced strategy is the concept of "firing lanes". These are clear lines of sight between obstacles on the field and thus potentially between opposing players on the field behind them. A lane is "occupied" if at least one player of the opposing team can fire along it, and it's "active" if any player is firing along it, friend or foe. Occupied and active lanes hinder player movement as the player risks getting hit and eliminated. Open fields with sparse cover often have long open lanes between most or all bunkers on the field, most of which will be occupied if not active and so players have to keep track of which lanes to and from their bunker become occupied by the other team, so the player can make sure the bunker is between himself and the opponent(s). This becomes harder the more occupied firing lanes there are; when most available firing lanes on the field are occupied, each team has to create cover in at least one direction using suppressing fire (rounds sent to the opponent's location designed to keep their head down more than to eliminate them). Speedball, which tends to use small open fields with relatively few obstacles, requires each player to use hundreds of paintballs in the course of a game to keep his opponents pinned down, lest he be pinned himself. Conversely, if most firing lanes on the field are clear, players on each team have greater mobility and the use of covering fire to pin an opponent is less useful as the player can stay behind cover while moving long distances, so players tend to fire less and move more to gain clear shots. Urban scenarios and woodsball fields tend to be larger and with more cover, shortening firing lanes and requiring players to move more to get good shots against their opponent.
Typically, strategy is limited for casual walk-on style paintball play. Some teamwork will be seen at the beginning of the games with brief discussions on tactics and strategy, such as distributing players between bunkers and assigning defenders that will stay back and cover attackers that advance. However, mid to late game tactics tend to be limited to groups of players sticking together or doing isolated attacks rather than a coordinated sweep down the field. In team paintball tournaments, more serious planned team tactics and strategy is seen throughout each game from the opening to the endgame. Teams generally practice together and have planned tactics they can use in the tournament, and know what each of their teammates will be trying to do in various situations during the game.