Scenario Paintball vs. Tournament Paintball
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Paintball is a sport in which players compete as individuals or as a
team by marking their opponents with paintballs markers or paintball
guns. Paintball marker equipment utilizes gelatin capsules filled with
non-toxic paint. Paintball guns or markers are used to shoot the
paintballs and are powered by either CO2 or Compressed air. Depending
on the style and location of the game, typical paintball games are
played either on outdoor or indoor fields varying in size and terrain.
Paintball guns or markers were first used in the 1970’s for
marking cattle and trees. The first paintball game was played in June
1981 by Bob Gurnsey, Hayes Noel, Charles Gaines and nine others. From
there, the sport grew quickly. The first recreational field opened in
1982 and the in 1983 the first tournament was held with a grand prize
of $14,000. In the late 80’s fields began to open up in England and
Canada. By 1991, fields were opening up in Europe. In 1992, the
National Professional Paintball League was formed. This league hosted
highly publicized events with hundreds of thousands of dollars in
prizes. Paintball today is played by over 10 million players worldwide
according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association
International, making it the number 3 extreme sport in the world behind
inline skating and skateboarding.
type of paintball equipment used is dependant on what style of
paintball you are playing: tournament paintball, speedball, woodsball,
scenario paintball, MilSim, etc. Depending on which paintball playing
style you have, will determine the necesary equipment. Equipment can be "class" much like airsoft gear. But there is a
basic list of different paintball equipment below.
Paintball guns are generally either electronic or mechanical.
Electronic markers or paintball guns will have electronics typically
found in the grip frame. These electronics will usually have settings
to adjust the rate fire. Rate of fire can be set for semi-automatic,
full-auto, and two round burst, three round burst or ramping. Not all
modes are allowed at all fields. Some markers have “eyes” which helps
eliminate miss feeding of paintballs into the breech. Mechanical
paintball markers have no electronics such as “pump guns”. These types
of paintball guns or markers work off of spring tension.
Pump guns or single shot pump paintball guns are
more common during woodsball or scenario paintball. These shots are
single shot, one shot per pump.
The more technologically advanced paintball guns are used for
tournament ball or recreational paintball. Tournament ball players
usually have very high ROF (Rate of Fire), at times shooting 40 rounds
in less than 5 seconds. This type of paintball play is where "eye" and
other electronic triggers and components come into play.
masks or goggles are mandatory while playing paintball anywhere. Masks
are the primary reason why paintball remains a very safe sport. Most
fields require full face masks. Full face masks cover at least the
entire face, while others will cover most of neck, head, ears. Masks
used for anything other than paintball are not allowed. Paintball masks
must meet specific impact requirements in order to be used for
paintball games and are regulated by ASTM. It is very highly
recommended that you use an ASTM certified or approved paintball mask.
CO2 or compressed air is the most common choices to power paintball
guns or markers. In the beginning, paintball guns or markers were
solely powered by 12 gram CO2 cartridges. As the sport grew, players
shot more paint so the demand for larger CO2 cartridges grew. 7, 10 and
20oz CO2 tanks became the standard. On average a 12 gram CO2
cartridge powered 7 to 10 shots, where as a 20oz tank would power
approximately 600 shots. Most CO2 tanks are aluminum. As the demand to
shoot more paint grew, so did the demand for air systems to keep up.
Compressed air systems entered the paintball industry in the early
90’s. Compressed air or “HPA” (high pressure air), unlike CO2
which changes from liquid to gas states, stays in a gaseous state. This
gave the paintball gun or marker a more consistent velocity which
allowed the player to fine tune his/her paintball gun or marker. Though
HPA tanks come in many sizes and air capacities, a player can expect to
get anywhere from 700 to 1400 shots per tank. Most HPA tanks are fiber
wrapped for greater strength at higher pressures. All HPA tanks need to
be re-“Hydro Tested” after 3 to 5 years depending on the tank. This is
to test the metal strength of the tank. But all tanks have some sort of
expiration date where they either need to be retested or disgarded.
Barrel Safety Devices:
Another required piece of equipment is sort of barrel safety device.
They are commonly known as plugs, baggies, condoms, covers or socks.
These devices are mandatory at all paintball fields to ensure safety.
All of these devices either plug or cover the end of the paintball guns
or markers’ barrel so in the event of a marker accidentally firing the
paintball is stopped. This is important on and off the field, but is
especially jsut off the field where bystanders could be in the vicinity
and not have any face masks or safety apparrel on.
Scenario paintball usually requires a basic “Theme” or “Story Line.”
This typically consists of a reenactment of past battles or a story
line behind the battle for more realistic and life-like situations and
objectives. You normally forget about the fa ct you’re playing paintball
and think more of the battle strategy much like a real military
scenario, which is like MilSim. These games require hundreds or
thousands of different players to be on opposing teams of each on huge
fields that are outdoor/woodsy type places. Different missions are
acted out while keeping score using the point system. Due to the nature of this style of gameplay, many players deploy the use of tactics to accomplish their goals. Costumes or
Camouflage is required for such type games to fill the theme and is
more for fun than competition or rank. Because of the large size of
some scenario games many scenarios take place of an entire weekend or
longer. Scenario paintball is the best style of play for beginners
and/or children. With that said many players have a need for something
more advanced and competitive….enter Woodsball.
Woodsball Paintball: MilSim Information
Both woodsball and scenario paintball take place in natural settings
and primarily wear some sort of camouflage. However woodsball unlike
scenario is more competitive in nature. Woodsball is more more similar
to MilSim. Stealth, camouflage and game time limits also make woodsball
different from scenario. With games like “Capture the Flag” and “Attack
and Defend”, woodsball is more improvised and less about pre-determined
objectives and tasks. Capture the flag, one of the first paintball
games, is the basis for woodsball tournaments. These tournaments date
back to the early 1980’s. Tournaments consisted of 5, 10, 15 and 20
players on each team. With fields roughly the size of two football
fields, strategy, stealth and team communication are vital. The basic
objective in Capture the Flag is for both teams to get the other team’s
flag and return it to their own flag station within set time limits of
10 to 20 minutes. But with any sport, tournaments must be spectator
friendly and by the mid 1990’s tournament players took paintball from
the woods to the arenas.
Tournament Paintball / Speedball
Tournament paintball unlike scenario and woodsball paintball is played
in spectator friendly venues or arenas. Tournaments draw teams
consisting of usually 7 players (some tournaments 5 or 6 players) who
compete for thousands of dollars in cash and prizes. These events can
be held on the local, regional and international levels and played on
private property or even professional sports stadiums. Whereas scenario
paintball is more recreation based, tournament paintball is highly
competitive with tens of thousands of dollars of team sponsorship money
on the line. Because of this, tournament players use the latest and
best paintball equipment available. There are more than a few
tournament circuits each year and it is very common for a professional
paintball team to play in more than one circuit each year.
A typical tournament is based on points accumulated from each
game played. Points are awarded for opponents eliminated and hanging
the opponent’s flag. Players are required to “Chrono” their paintball
guns or markers when coming off the field. Each player has their
paintball guns or marker speed checked on a chronograph which measures
the muzzle velocity in FPS (feet per second). If a player shoots “Hot”,
additional points are deducted from his team.
Most tournaments are in netted arenas with air filled bunkers
of different shapes and sizes. These bunkers are carefully placed to
ensure both sides of the field are mirrored. Surfaces in these arenas
range from dirt and sand to astro turf or real grass.
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