How to Play Paintball: A Guide for Beginners


Paintball can transform your friends into adversaries, display your strength when confronted with danger, and also make your clothes extremely dirty. It’s an intense game.

Here I can tell you about How to Play Paintball: A Guide for Beginners

It’s not surprising that an aspiring players might be intimidated when they play their first game. To ease things up a bit, we talked with Play Paintball USA co-owner April Schwartz who frequently assists novice players get around the playing field. With her assistance, we came up with a list of rules, equipment, as well as other important information about the game of paintball.

What equipment do I require?

There’s no requirement to buy everything before you get to the field. In fact, if this is your first experience, you should not. It’s better to rent equipment so that you can learn about the game prior to deciding if you’d like to invest in your own equipment.

The typical package rental would include the following elements:

  • Marker for paintballs (AKA “paintball gun”)
  • Facemask
  • Hopper (paintball container that connects onto your marker)
  • CO2 or a compressed-air tank to drive the marker

You’ll also have to purchase paintballs before you can play, which you’ll be able to make upon arrival. A lot of businesses have the “field paint only” rule which means you are only able to play with paintballs that you bought on the spot. This is to ensure that all paintballs used are in compliance with the safety standards of the field.

How much is paintball going to cost you?

The answer is contingent on the length of time you plan to play for and the level of trigger happiness you have. A reasonable price range is 40-$80 for a day of equipment, field access, and paintballs (though there are many discounts on paintballs at Groupon). The most significant variation is ammo. You could use anything from 250 to 1,000 paintballs during an entire day, which puts the price of paint about $10-$40.

Do paintballs hurt?

Paintballs are certainly painful however there’s a lot that you could do in order to reduce the discomfort. “You want to cover up as much exposed skin as possible,” says Schwartz. “Put layers of clothing between your skin and the paintball to [blunt] the impact.” Hoodies sweats, sweats, or just a few layers of T-shirts can make an impact feel as “a bouncy type of hit, as opposed to something that stings.” A lot of fields rent out optional protective gear, like gloves and chest protectors.

What do you wear to paintball?

In addition to layering to keep yourself safe one of the most important things to be aware of when wearing a paintball outfit will be that you’ll find yourself at a disadvantage if you don’t try to disguise yourself. The majority of players dress in shades of olive, earthy tones, and other natural shades so that they blend in with the surrounding players when they play.

It is also important to choose the right shoes. “Standard sneakers are slick, [so] you’ll want to wear something that has ridges in the bottom,” Schwartz says. Schwartz. She recommends sporting cleats that offer some extra grip. “You want to have some grip on your shoes because a lot of times the dirt has some rocks in it and [it’s easy to] slip and fall.”

Are there rules to paintball?

There are a variety of games, but nearly all of them share certain rules they all share.

Don’t remove your facemasks in any way while you are playing on the field.

Always shoot at enemies who are beyond a specified minimum distance. Also, don’t shoot people who have been identified. In Paintball USA, for instance, “you can’t go closer than 10 feet and just stand there and unload your gun on someone,” Schwarz says.

If you’re stuck with a paintballtech, and it leaves a mark you’re not allowed to play. (Paintballs that bounce without breaking do not count.) Place your hands up in the air to signal that you’re not in, and then walk off the field after the official has acknowledged that you’re out.

It is your responsibility to call you out. Doing it in a fair manner is the most crucial element in keeping a game enjoyable and fun. Be careful not to try to scratch off the paint after an injury or be penalized for “wiping” (and lots of dirty stares from other players). Some fields enforce a “reincarnation rule” for beginners. “If you get shot early on, you can clean off the paint and come back,” Schwarz says.

What are some other play paintball games?


In this game, the action goes on until one of the teams is totally eliminated. It is also possible to play in a group, with the last player standing being declared the winner.

Capture the Flag

The objective of this game for teams is to enter the territory of your opponent to capture their flag and then return it back to your home base. You can also beat them by eliminating all players on the opposing team.


This category encompasses a broad array of games that involve creating a particular scenario and assigning goals that are competing for the teams. For example the game “VIP” scenario, one team tries to guide one participant across the playing field until an endpoint at a specific point in the opposite direction, while the opposing team is trying to eliminate that player. The scenarios often are based on real-world military scenarios.


It is not a particular game type as compared to a general play style This classification covers all games played on a specially designed speedball field that is, in comparison to a standard field can be smaller and flatter, and free of any cover, aside from artificial barriers that are placed across the course. The goal is to encourage teamwork and a spirited strategic play, not to mention slowness and stealth.

There are many additional minor and major variants on playing paintball, with a variety of fields featuring their own variations. Visit the website of the field or contact the field upon arrival to know what game types are on offer. Once you’ve made it onto the field of paintball learn more about our paintball strategies and tips for taking playing to the next level.

For Dominick Schwartz, the Play Paintball arena is his second home. Schwartz was raised among bunkers and forts that were made up that are part of Paintball USA, the SoCal paintball business operated by his parents Mike as well as April. Then, he joined the Army and served in Iraq in addition to Afghanistan.

We asked Schwartz to tell us if any of the tactics that he was taught during his time in the Army can be applied to the more casual world of Play Paintball. If you’ve landed the paintball deal and you’re looking to be a winner in your next round go through five of his most-loved tips for playing paintball below.

1. Leapfrogging

The technique is to shoot as an opponent leaps forward in a sudden manner. Continue doing this, and often switching roles until you’ve reached the desired place.

The reason it works: Schwartz says you’ll “rarely ever shoot straight in front of you. You’re crossed up with the guy on the other side of the field … so no one can run upon him and no one can run upon you.” But, you have to overcome this impasse and gain over your opponent. Schwartz suggests leapfrogging as one of his most popular Play Paintball techniques that are modeled on the military strategy known as “buddy live-fire.”

2. Flanking

The paintball technique is easy to follow: the majority of your team moves forward, while a smaller hidden force is able to strike the opponent from behind.

The reason it works It allows you to pass your opponent without them even noticing. “They don’t even see it coming,” Schwartz states with a hint of excitement.

3. Division and conquering

The first step is to divide the right and left teams equally and save two players for the middle. “Just hammer the left and right side and maintain the middle,” Schwartz recommends. After that, if certain forces of your adversaries have shifted towards the left or right side “pull everyone back to the middle and run up that way.” Take a gulp.

The reason it works If you feel you’re at risk of being attacked by your opponent this is among the most effective ways to defend yourself.

4. Playing Dead

The procedure: If you’re shot during a normal Play Paintball match and you are hit, you need to shout out “dead man walking” and take off from the field. Schwartz employs this strategy to gain an advantage. “You can get up any time in a tournament game and pretend like you’re dead,” Schwartz explains. “You can’t actually say it, because then it’s a penalty. But you can just get up and pretend to walk off the field like you’re dead and then just start shooting people.”

What it does The simple game is designed to trick the opponent into a false feeling of security. If it’s not specifically against painting rules it’s completely legal. It’s all about what works, right?


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