How Do You Play Paintball?
By: Jeffrey “Tigurius” Espejo

First of all I would like to say THANK YOU for your interest in Paintball, and I hope your first time is an unforgettable positive experience for you. In this article I will help you understand the different ways you can play Paintball and how the game works as well as how the sport works.

Generally speaking when you show up to the Paintball field the referees will instruct you on the always important safety. So do pay attention to this, the main big ones to save your eyes is always keep your mask on while playing and your barrel blocking device in at all time when you are not in a designated playing zone or some one has taken their mask off when they are not suppose to while playing or otherwise instructed by the referee. 

There are many game types to play in Paintball, including the competitive sport side of Paintball that is fast paced, which include “Speedball” and “X-Ball” styles of play and is more widely played by regular Paintball players. The type of game types that you will most likely play in your first time experience of Paintball would be generally played in a themed area such as in the woods, a castled area, a town, dirt hill or many other type of courses. Then it would be up to the referee on the type of game play you would like to play, of course you can always mention to him the many different type of game plays you have heard of and if you can play it. The few different game types commonly played are: Elimination, Reincarnation, Capture the Flag, Centre Flag, Spy, Retrieval, Rescue, Search and Destroy, Hold the Fort and Convoy.

In this game type it is pretty much straight forward, even the teams as much as possible, eliminate the other team, the one with the most players left at the end of the round or has eliminated the entire opposition wins.

This game type is pretty much the exact same as elimination, with the exception of once your eliminated, you go back to your start and the referee will either let you go back in right away or let you wait a minute and send a group of you in at once. This is generally played at the end of the day to get rid of any extra paint you have or during large massive “big games” where large groups of 100 or more players play with each other.

Capture the Flag
Of course the goal is always to eliminate the opposition, in Capture the Flag both teams have a flag and to win you must capture the opposing teams flag and bring it back to your station without getting eliminated. This format is also used in tournaments for scoring purposes.

Centre Flag
Centre Flag is like Capture the Flag with the exception that the flag is in the middle of the field where both teams have to grab the flag, hold it, and bring it to the other teams starting point in order to win. This format is currently one of the most popular at tournaments. 

Spy is a very fun game type to play with a large group of friends. How the game works is like normal elimination, or you can mix it up with another game type like Rescue or Search and Destroy. The exception is that before the game starts, the referee will have all of you line up in a line and tap you on the shoulder signaling that you are the spy for that team. When the referee blows a whistle the spy can either choose to reveal themselves right then and there, or wait till the opportunity to take out their team that they were “spying” on. Of course if either team eliminates the spy they cannot reveal themselves. What some referees do to cause less confusion, is give an armband to the spy of the team he is spying for, then the player hides it in their pocket for safe keeping until time comes to reveal themselves.

In Retrieval both teams have battle over an objective, the team who retrieves the objective and brings it back to their starting base or another designated point wins the game.

Rescue is a very fun game type, it can be mixed with Hold the Fort, Spy, and Convoy to make a very unique game type. It can be played one of two ways. Either both teams designate a captain and that player is “captured” in the opposing teams starting base (with their gear but unable to touch) and when the captured players team shows up, they create a convoy and have to bring them back to their starting point.

Search and Destroy
In this game type one team defends an objective or multiple objectives (or you can have both teams have objectives) and the other must go and “destroy it” this can be signified as having an object with a coloured flag on it. When the flag is lifted or placed over the object it signified as destroyed.

Hold the Fort
Called many different things, such as defend the base or defend the castle. This game can be played almost anywhere that allows the defenders to be surrounded. Usually a Paintball field will have a castle of some sort, all the defenders would stage inside and would be surrounded by the opposing team. The goal of course would be to fend off the invaders, or to get into the castle and raise the flag.

In this game type you would designate either a player or an object that would have to be carried from one side of the field to another. This game type is very fun to play on a field that has a distinguishable trail. 

Now all these game types I have mentioned above are not all of the different game types out there but the most common. You can usually mix and match the game types or even create your own game type. Just ask the referee and they would be glad to help you along as long as it is safe.