You can play speedball or woodsball at public fields, parks designed for paintballing or in a field or wooded area near your home. Speedball is most commonly played in a more formal setting, using inflatable bunkers to set the cover and staging. Woodsball is generally played outside in wooded areas (hence the name) or in mocked-up urban settings. Some paintball parks have courses to play both speedball and woodsball that include settings such as castles, old-west-style towns, desert settings and more. Be careful, though, because paintball parks can be expensive. By the time you add up the fee for entry, paintballs and air refills you may recognize a day at the paintball field something you can only afford on special occasions.
Woodsball, which is also sometimes called scenario or tactical paintball, is the most realistic type of paintballing. Most of these players will dress in camouflage and other realistic military-type gear, as well as use military replica paintball guns, grenades or landmines during the course of the game. Games are generally set up like military missions that range from ‘Capture the Flag’ to a man-hunting of your opponents. Here are just a few variations:
Elimination – Kill everybody. You may either play by yourself or with a team.
Capture the Flag – Just like the traditional game, except this one uses paintballs as weaponry against the opposing team. Use flag stations and collect more flags, or have just one flag for each team and claim it for victory.
Assault – players are divided into two teams. One team protects their territory while the other attacks. The attackers try to eliminate their opponents or take hold of their territory.
Popular woodsball equipment is generally made up of military-style paintball guns. Some good options are Tippmann, MilSig and T68. These guns come in many different configurations including AK47’s, M4 Carbines, sub-machine guns and sniper rifles. These guns are so authentic that they can use many of the parts for real guns. For example, you can use the same rails, sniper scopes, sights, handguards and stocks on your paintball gun that you would on a real military rifle. This gives you many options for how your gun may look and function. It also adds realism to the game.
The different options and look of your paintball gun will also help define the part you play on the field. For example, if you have a sniper paintball gun, your position on the field will likely be as the sniper, purposed for precision shooting or providing cover fire so the other players can position better. The player with an M16-style paintball gun is more on the front line, making tactical maneuvers, flanking the enemy or capturing the enemy flag.
Speedball was created primarily for professional competitive paintballers because it uses a standard field with better spectator viewing. If you think paintball is for some weekend fun, professional speedballers would disagree – there are many professionals who play speedball for a living! Speedball has turned into a true sport, complete with teams, coaches, uniforms and sponsorships.
In speedball, there are generally 3- or 5-man teams that play in 5-, 10- or 15-minute timed matches. The games are fast and usually utilize a variation of elimination. Successful speedball teams use rapid, constant movement, strong strategies and effective communication. Speedballers use different paintball markers than woodsballers. Their guns are faster, lighter and look more like laser-tag guns or space-age pistols.
A few good speedball gun makers are Spyder, Planet Eclipse (Ego), Proto/Matrix (PM9) and Smart Parts. These guns generally come with 8-12″ barrels and some sort of electronic trigger system. An electronic trigger offers several different modes of fire – single, burst and fully-automatic. Another common accessory for speedball guns is an electronic hopper, which allow for much faster firing.
Uniforms for playing speedball are usually paintball jerseys, which have some padding built in for extra protection. By the way, an important part of any paintball setup (whether for speedball or woodsball) is a good paintball mask. Paintball is an extremely safe sport, as long as you wear protective eye wear.