Paintball is a modern team sport which combines skill, speed and accuracy in a chase environment.
Paintball combines two fun childhood games: hide-and-seek and tag. Air-powered paintball guns are used to shoot paintballs at opponents and "tag" them out of the game. According to the World and Regional Paintball Information Guide, paintball is currently played in more than 40 countries around the world.
The first commercial outdoor paintball field opened in 1982, followed by the first commercial indoor field in 1984. Today, paintball is one of the most popular extreme sports, with an estimated 5 million players.
Paintball is typically played in teams of 10 or less. However, as few as one player or as many as over 1,000 players can be on each team, depending on the amount of space available. Each team has a flag and the object of the game is for one team to capture the other team's flag while protecting its own. While trying to capture flags, players are eliminated from the game if they are hit with a paintball. The paintball itself is a round gelatin capsule filled with colored liquid. When a player is hit by a paintball the gelatin capsule splits and spills the liquid. This leaves a paint mark on the player. A player who is hit and marked by a paintball is out of the game. Games last between 20 and 45 minutes, depending on how many people are playing and the size of the playing field.
In order to play paintball, players need the proper equipment. Most commercial paintball fields provide rental equipment for the occasional player. This makes paintball a feasible activity for birthday parties, corporate teambuilding and other group events.
The single most important piece of equipment, which should be worn at all times when playing, is protective goggles or a mask. Anytime the barrel covers are off of a paintball gun or a player steps onto the playing field, goggles should be on.
Players also need a paintball gun and paintballs in order to play the game. Paintball guns, also called paintguns or markers, are powered by air, carbon dioxide or nitrogen. Paintguns come in pump-action, semi-automatic and fully-automatic models. Players choose their style of paintgun based on their own personal preference.
Paintball competitions take place all over the world. Most competitions follow the standard capture the flag type of play, but some competitions add their own unique twist to the game. Each league that runs tournaments organizes its competitions a bit differently. Teams should check with each league to get specific structure and rules. Teams interested in playing in competitions or tournaments can find information through their local playing fields. The World and Regional Paintball Information Guide, provides a field finder, which allows players to find nearby paintball locations.