The Many Different Types of Paintball Games

Paintball games vary from field to field, and from indoor arena to indoor arena. You'll probably play several different types of games over the course of an average day, depending on which fields are available and what the other players in your group would like to do.

Paintball Capture The Flag

A good day of paintball is also determined by the refs. As fields are made available by other teams, they'll usually be notified by radio.

Referees are also responsible for balancing uneven teams, changing things up with different game types, and helping beginner paintballs with everything from basic rules to gun jams and malfunctions.

If you've got a good set of referees assigned to your group that day, they'll make the day fun for you. Don' be afraid to ask for special fields or game types, especially if you find yourself playing the same capture-the-flag scenario over and over again. Most refs like to mix things up for their own fun too.

Indoor paintball fields can offer less variety, simply because of lack of space. On the bright side however, smaller fields lend to games that are more exciting and faster-paced. And since the games are over quickly, you can get more games in before the day is out.

From place to place and region to region, you'll see all different paintball game types. In general however, most games are played in the following styles:

  • Capture The Flag
  • This is the most common form of paintball game. Two teams start at opposite ends of the field, each in their own 'base'. Each team keeps a flag in their base, of their own color. The object of the game is to capture the opposing team's flag, and carry it back to your home base. Do this, and you win the game.

    In a capture the flag game, the flag is dropped to the ground when the person carrying it is shot out. It can be picked up by anyone, and carried back to either base for victory or safekeeping.

  • Defending The Village
  • A fort, town, or village is set up in the center of the paintball field. One team needs to defend it, and the other team is tasked with assaulting it. In this type of game, the assaulting team can start from one or even several positions surrounding the central defensive area.

    The game ends when the defending village falls (all players on that team being eliminated), or the assault is held off for a certain period of time. For example, you may be required to defend your fort or village for 15 minutes.

  • Ambassador
  • In this type of specialty game, one member of one team is identified as 'the ambassador'. He or she carries a special object, and the goal is to get that object from one side of the field to the other. The rest of the ambassador's team is tasked with protecting him from harm, while the opposing team must capture the object by killing the ambassador himself.

    There are many forms of this game, with all kinds of different rules. For example, in some games the ambassador is only allowed to carry a paintball pistol.

  • Gather Intelligence
  • Before this game begins, the referees hide a certain number of brightly-colored objects (the 'intel') around the paintball field. Anywhere from 3 to 5 pieces of intel are usually hidden. Teams start at opposite ends of the field, and when the whistle blows they must find and retrieve these objects, bringing them back to their home base.

    The game ends when one team safely posesses ALL of the objects in their own home base.

  • Manhunt
  • One player is hunted, and the rest of the players become the hunters. To win, the hunted player (or 'prey') must reach a certain area of the paintball field within a certain timeframe. The other players - all on the same team - must shoot him down to stop him.

    Manhunt rules vary widely. In some cases, the prey is given a big head start. In others, the hunters are given reduced weapons (such a pistols) or limited amounts of ammunition.

  • Last Man Standing
  • This is an 'every man for himself' or 'free-for-all' type of game. All paintball players begin on the outside edges of the playing area, or scattered equidistant from one another throughout the field. When the whistle blows, anything goes.

    No teams exist in a free-for-all or deathmatch style paintball game. Players eliminate each other until only one person is left, and that player is the winner.

  • Medic Paintball
  • In this scenario, each team assigns one player to be the team medic. A medic is identified by a brightly-colored vest or different type of armband so that both teams know who he is. In some games, the medic is limited to pistol only, or given no gun at all.

    Teams play normally, with the exception of being shot out. Once hit, players are not eliminated but can no longer shoot and must crawl on the ground. They can crawl to their medic, who can "heal" them by tagging them back into the game. The medic can also make housecalls; running over different parts of the field to save downed players.

    When the medic is hit, he or she is out of the game for good. In larger games, two or three medics can be assigned per team.

Paintball Equipment, Markers, Ammo, and Protective Gear

Below you'll find a full complement of all the equipment needed to play paintball. No matter which game type you're playing, protective gear and proper attire must be used whenever on the paintball field.

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Paintball Gear