Paintball

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Paintball
NAdo.jpg
A paintball player taking part in a popular style of paintball known as 'woodsball'.
First played June 27, 1981, Henniker, New Hampshire, United States[1]
Clubs Teams range from Pro Divisions to local and low division teams
Characteristics
Contact No physical contact between players (contact can result in penalties)
Team members Varies depending on game format and level of play, recreational or competition(usually between 3 & 10 man teams)
Mixed gender Yes
Type Extreme, team sport, winter sport, indoor, outdoor
Equipment Paintball mask, Paintball marker, body armour (optional), paint grenades, Compressed air or CO2 canister, paintballs, hopper
Venue Varies, often fields or woods and indoor

Paintball is a sport[2][3][4] in which players compete, in teams or individually, to eliminate opponents by tagging them with capsules containing water soluble dye and gelatin shell outside (referred to as paintballs) propelled from a device called a paintball marker (commonly referred to as a paintball gun). Paintballs are composed of a non-toxic, biodegradable, water soluble polymer. The game is regularly played at a sporting level with organized competition involving major tournaments, professional teams, and players.[5][6] Paintball technology is also used by military forces, law enforcement, para-military and security organizations to supplement military training, as well as playing a role in riot response, and non-lethal suppression of dangerous suspects.

Games can be played on indoor or outdoor fields of varying sizes. A game field is scattered with natural or artificial terrain, which players use for tactical cover. Game types in paintball vary, but can include capture the flag, elimination, ammunition limits, defending or attacking a particular point or area, or capturing objects of interest hidden in the playing area. Depending on the variant played, games can last from seconds to hours, or even days in scenario play.

The legality of paintball varies among countries and regions. In most areas where regulated play is offered, players are required to wear protective masks, and game rules are strictly enforced. Masks are not required in the staging area.

Equipment[edit]

Main article: Paintball equipment
Players with woodsball equipment

The paintball equipment used may depend on the game type, for example: woodsball, speedball, or scenario; on how much money one is willing to spend on equipment; and personal preference. However, almost every player will utilize three basic pieces of equipment:

  • Paintball marker: also known as a "paintball gun" or "marker", this is the primary piece of equipment, used to tag the opposing player with paintballs. The paintball marker must have a loader or "hopper" or magazines attached to keep the marker fed with paint, and will be either spring fed, gravity-fed (where balls drop into the loading chamber), or electronically force-fed . Modern markers require a compressed air tank or Co2 tank. In contrast, very early bolt-action paintball markers used disposable silver capsules (12 gram CO2 cartridges) normally seen in pellet guns. In the mid to late 1980s, marker mechanics improved to include constant air pressure and semi-automatic operation.[7][8][9] Further improvements included increased rates of fire; carbon dioxide (CO2) tanks from 3.5 to 40 ounces, and compressed air or nitrogen tanks in a variety of sizes and pressure capacities up to 5000 PSI. The use of unstable CO2 causes damage to the low pressure pneumatic components inside electronic markers, therefore the more stable compressed air is preferred by owners of such markers.
  • Paintballs: The ammunition used in the marker, paintballs are spherical gelatin capsules containing primarily polyethylene glycol, other non-toxic and water-soluble substances, and dye. The quality of paintballs is dependent on the brittleness of the ball's shell, the roundness of the sphere, and the thickness of the fill; higher-quality balls are almost perfectly spherical, with a very thin shell to guarantee breaking upon impact, and a thick, brightly colored fill that is difficult to hide or wipe off during the game. The highest-grade paintballs incorporate cornstarch and metallic flake into the fill to leave a thick glittery "splat" that is very obvious against any background color, and hard to wipe off. Almost all Paintballs in use today are biodegradeable. All ingredients used in the making of a Paintball are food grade quality and are harmless to the participants and environment. Manufacturers and distributors have been making the effort to move away from the traditional oil-based paints and compressed CO2 gas propellant, to a more friendly water based formula and compressed air in an effort to become more "eco-friendly". Paintballs come in a variety of sizes, including of 0.50" (.50 Caliber) an 0.68" (.68 Caliber).
  • Mask or goggles: Masks are safety devices players are required to wear at all times on the field, to protect them from paintballs.[10] The original equipment used by players were safety goggles of the type used in labs and wood shops; today's goggles are derived from skiing/snowboarding goggles, with an attached shell that completely covers the eyes, mouth, ears and nostrils of the wearer. Masks can also feature throat guards. Modern masks have evolved to be less bulky compared with older designs. Some players may remove the mouth and/or ear protection for aesthetic or comfort reasons, but this is not recommended nor often allowed at commercial venues.

Additional equipment, commonly seen among frequent players, tournament participants, and professional players include:

  • Pods and pod packs: The most common addition to the above "mandatory" equipment, pods are plastic containers, usually with flip-open lids, that store paintballs in a ready-to-use manner. Pods are available in many sizes, including 10, 80, 100 and 140-round sizes, with the larger 140-round pods being most common among tournament players. Pods are carried by the player in pod packs or harnesses which facilitate easy access to the pods during play. There are several designs of pod packs, from belt loops allowing a recreational player to carry one or two extra pods, to harness designs generally designed for either tournament-style or scenario-style players.
  • Squeegee/swab - From time to time, a paintball will break inside the player's marker. When this happens it coats the inner surfaces of the marker with paint, especially the barrel, which considerably reduces accuracy. While speedball and tournament players generally have no time to clear this obstruction and instead simply "shoot through it", woodsball and scenario players generally carry a tool to allow them to clear the barrel following a break. There are several types of squeegee, most of which are advantageous in two of three areas and disadvantageous in the last: cleaning time, effectiveness, and storage space.
  • Paintball jerseys and pants: Originally derived from motocross and BMX attire, tournament players commonly wear special outer clothing with integrated padding that allows the player a free range of motion, and helps protect the player both from paintball hits and from incidental contact with rocks and hard ground. Certain designs of jersey and pant even advertise lower incidence of hits, due to increased "bounce-offs" and "breakaways". In indoor fields, where shooting generally happens at very close range, hard-shelled armor is sometimes worn to protect the player from bruising and welts from close-range hits.
  • Elbow and knee pads: Common among outdoor sports, players can choose to help protect knee, elbow and even hip joints from jarring impact with the use of pads. For paintball, these pads are generally soft foam worn inside a player's pants to prevent abrasion of the pad against the ground.
  • Gloves: Paintball impacts to the hands, knuckles and fingers can be extremely painful and temporarily debilitating. In addition, being an outdoor sport, players are often prone or crawling which can cause scrapes to the hands. Padded or armored gloves help reduce the potential for injury to the hands from these things.
  • Athletic protector: Also common in other sports involving potential impact of fast-moving objects, players generally take care to protect sensitive or vulnerable anatomical areas from painful hits and injury; men commonly wear an athletic supporter with a rigid cup similar to types used in football, lacrosse, hockey or baseball, while women often wear a pelvic protector and a padded or hard-shelled sports bra also commonly seen in the aforementioned sports.
  • Other paint marking equipment: Normally seen in scenario play only, and disallowed at most tournaments, other forms of paint-marking equipment are sold, such as paint-grenades (paint-filled balloons or lengths of surgical hose), "paint throwers" (designed to model the effect of flamethrowers, basically a large water cannon filled with paint), and markers (used for close range, usually a bright color, so as to see were a player got "cut" with the pen.).
  • Vehicles: Again normally only seen in scenario play, a variety of vehicles have been devised based on go-karts, ATVs, etc. to create "armored vehicles", within which players are protected from hits and can move around on the field. Such vehicles may employ a wide range of mounted paint-discharging weaponry.

Gameplay[edit]

Paintball is played with a potentially limitless variety of rules and variations, which are specified before the game begins. The most basic game rule is that players must attempt to accomplish a goal without being shot and marked with a paintball. A variety of different rules govern the legality of a hit, ranging from "anything counts" (hits cause elimination whether the paintball broke and left a mark or not) to the most common variation: the paintball must break and leave a mark the size of a US quarter or larger. Eliminated players are expected to leave the field of play; eliminations may also earn the opposing team points.[11][12] Depending on the agreed upon game rules, the player may return to the field and continue playing, or is eliminated from the game completely.

The particular goal of the game is determined before play begins; examples include capture the flag[13] or Elimination.[14] Paintball has spawned popular variants, including woodsball, which is played in the natural environment and spans across a large area.[15] Conversely, the variant of speedball is played on a smaller field and has a very fast pace with games as brief as two minutes fifteen seconds in the (NSL) or lasting up to twenty minutes in the PSP.[16] Another variant is scenario paintball, in which players attempt to recreate historical, or fictional settings; the largest being Oklahoma D-Day's World War II re-enactment.[citation needed]

Woodsball[edit]

Main article: Woodsball

"Woodsball" is a term developed late in the history of the game to refer to what was the original form of the game: teams competing in a wooded or natural environment. Recently the term has been adopted to refer to virtually any form of paintball played in natural surroundings, as opposed to arena or artificial fields. A lot of the time, people played outdoors because it was readily available. Woodsball should not be mistaken for scenario ball; the two forms of play differ in tactics, size and rules.

Woodsball features large teams, in competition to obtain various goals and objectives. Large Scale woodsball games are commonly referred to as "Big Games" or "Scenario Games". Popular examples of this format are Cousin's Big Game in Coram, New York (on Long Island) and Hell Survivor's Monster Game just outside Pinckney, Michigan and Invasion of Normandy at Skirmish U.S.A in Pennsylvania which draws in about 3,500 to 4,500 players a year and lasts for two days. Another variant of the Big Game is the "Attack and Defend" format where large numbers of attackers try to overrun a fixed, but well defended objective such as a compound or large building.

Speedball[edit]

Main article: Speedball (paintball)

Speedball is played in an open field filled with inflatable fabric "bunkers" which can be used for protection and or concealment. The ability for these objects to be inflatable and deflated quickly allows them to be easily moved from venue to venue during competitions. Speedball games were originally started as a way to make the game safer for players who might trip on uneven woodland terrain. Speedball is generally a fast-paced game where many more balls are used than in woodsball style games.

Enforcement of game rules[edit]

Regulated games are overseen by referees or marshals, who patrol the course to ensure enforcement of the rules and the safety of the players.[17] If a player is marked with paint, they will call them out, but competitors may also be expected to follow the honor code; a broken ball means elimination. Field operators may specify variations to this rule, such as requiring a tag to certain body locations only – such as the head and torso only.[18] There are game rules that can be enforced depending on the venue, to ensure safety, balance the fairness of the game or eliminate cheating.

  • Masks On Even when a game isn't in progress, virtually all venues enforce a masks-on rule while players are within the playing area. More generally, within any given area of the park, either all players'/spectators'/officials' masks must be on, or all players' markers must either have a barrel block in place or be disconnected from their gas source, to ensure that a paintball cannot be fired from any nearby marker and cause eye injury. Some fields encourage players to aim away from opponents' heads during play if possible; splatter from mask hits can penetrate ventilation holes in the goggles and cause eye irritation, close-range hits to the mask can cause improperly maintained lenses to fail, and hits to unprotected areas of the face, head and neck are especially painful and can cause more serious injury.[19]
  • Minimum distance – When being tagged, depending on the distance from where the shot was fired, getting marked directly can cause a bruise. Being marked may even leave a welt or break skin causing bleeding. Because of the pain associated with being hit by a paintball, commercial venues may enforce a minimum distance rule; such as 4.5 metres (15 ft), whereby players cannot shoot an opponent if they are closer than this distance.[20] Many fields enforce a modified minimum distance surrender rule; a player who advances to within minimum range must offer his opponent the chance to surrender before shooting. This generally prevents injury and discord at recreational games, however it is seldom used in tournaments as it confers a real disadvantage to the attacking player; he must hesitate while his opponent is free to shoot immediately. The act of shooting a player at close range is colloquially called "bunkering"; it happens most often when a player uses covering fire to force his opponent behind the cover of a bunker, then advances on that bunker while still shooting to eliminate the opponent point-blank.[21] A tap of the targeted player with the barrel of a marker, sometimes called a "barrel tag", "Murphy" or "tap-out", is generally considered equivalent to marking them with a paintball and is sometimes used in situations where one player is able to sneak up on an opponent to point-blank range.
  • Hits - A player is hit if a paintball leaves a solid, quarter-sized mark anywhere on the player's body or equipment. Some variations of paintball don't count gun hits or require multiple hits on the arms or legs. Most professional fields and tournaments, though, count any hit on a person, the equipment on their person, or even objects picked up at random from the field. Splatter often occurs when a paintball does not break on a person but on a nearby surface and then paint bounces onto the player, but this does not count as a hit unless it forms a solid mark on the player.
  • Overshooting – Fields may discourage players from overshooting (also regarded as bonus balling, "overkill" or lighting up), which is to repeatedly shoot an opposing player after they are eliminated from the game.[22] It is also considered overshooting if a player knew the opponent was eliminated but continued to shoot, disregarding the safety of the opposing player and risking dangerous injury to others.
  • Ramping – Ramping is a feature of many electronic markers, where after a certain number of rapid shots or upon a threshold rate-of-fire being achieved by the player, the gun will begin firing faster than the trigger is being pulled. Ramping of rate of fire is prohibited or sharply limited at most paintball fields, however it is allowed in various tournament formats with specific rules governing when and how the marker may ramp.[23]
  • Wiping – Players may attempt to cheat by wiping paint from themselves, to pretend they were not hit and stay in the game.[24] If caught, "wipers" are generally called out of the game, and in recreational paintball may be ejected from the field for multiple instances of wiping. Various tournament rules state additional penalties for players or teams caught wiping, such as "3-for-1" (calling the wiping player and the nearest two players out) in PSP capture-the-flag, or a prescribed number of "penalty minutes" in XBall.
  • Non-contact - While paintball does involve tagging players with paintball projectiles, this is generally considered the sole point of physical contact between members of opposing teams. Players are generally prohibited from physically contacting other players, such as colliding with them, physically restraining them, and especially using fists, feet, protective gear or the markers themselves to hit other players. Fisticuffs in particular are dangerous not only to the participants but to all players on or off the field, and referees are generally trained to respond immediately and aggressively to stop the fight, and to eject and ban instigators of these fights.

Strategy[edit]

Player strategy varies depending on the field "bunkers" or the amount of players per team. For instance if a match is held on an "Airball" or "Hyperball" field beginning strategy suggests sprinting towards the inflatable bunkers on the edge of the field and "flanking" the other team, strategy may vary depending on the amount of players. If there are 7-15 players on both teams, a few may decide on staying back and "suppressing fire". But if there are only 6-1 players on both teams, sprinting towards the other edge of the field may prove helpful to victory.[citation needed]

Strategy also depends significantly on the style of indoor or outdoor field being played on. A smaller indoor venue with inflatable obstacles often results in a the participants hunkering down behind the bunkers with a lot of covering fire being laid down. The group of players and their experience level will often determine on how aggressively people advance to new bunkers and try to do attacking runs.

At larger outdoor style paintball venues, there will often be larger obstacles such as varied terrain, hills, woods, trenches, bunkers, buildings. The layout of the field will generally determine the strategy taken. For example, if there is a key bunker or building, it may become the focal point of a serious fire fight as attackers and defenders vie for the position.

Typically, strategy is limited for casual walk-on style paintball play. Some teamwork will be seen at the beginning of the games with brief discussions on tactics and strategy, such as who will defend and where some players will go. However, mid to late game tactics tend to be limited to groups of friends sticking together or doing isolated attacks rather than sweeping planned team tactics.

Of course, in team paintball tournaments, one would see more serious planned team tactics and strategy. Teams generally practice together and have planned tactics they can use in the tournament.

Playing venues[edit]

A "speedball" field consisting of inflatable paintball bunkers.
A non-commercial, community paintball field with wooden structures in Mexico, which is used in playing "renegade" or "gotcha" paintball.

Paintball is played at both commercial venues, which require paid admission, and private land; both of which may include multiple fields of varying size and layout. Fields can be scattered with either natural or artificial terrain, and may also be themed to simulate a particular environment, such as a wooded or urban area, and may involve a historical context. The world's largest paintball company, some have around 37 paintball centers globally and provides movie themed fields complete with movie-quality props and structures.[25][26] Smaller fields (such as those used for speedball and tournament play) may include an assortment of various inflatable bunkers; these fields are less prone to cause injury as the bunkers are little more than air bags, which can absorb the impact of a player colliding with them. Before these inflatable fields became available and popular, speedball fields were commonly constructed of various rigid building materials, such as plywood and framing timber, shipping pallets, even concrete and plastic drainage pipe. The use of plastic pipe tethered with stakes became common, as it allowed for relatively easy reconfiguration of fields and at least some impact-absorption, and was the precursor to the modern inflatable bunker (in fact, certain common features in inflatable fields, such as "can" and "snake" bunkers, were derived from similar features built with plastic drainage pipe). Recreational fields still commonly use these older materials for their higher durability and novelty; inflatable bunkers are prone to bursting seams or otherwise developing holes and leaks. Other fields have wooden or plastic barriers.

Commercial venues may provide amenities such as bathrooms, picnic areas, lockers, equipment rentals, air refills and food service. Countries may have paintball sports guidelines, with rules on specific safety and insurance standards, and paid staff (including referees) who must ensure players are instructed in proper play to ensure participants' safety. Some fields are "BYOP" (Bring Your Own Paint), allowing players to buy paint at unrelated retail stores or online and use it at their field. However, most fields are FPO (Field Paint Only,) meaning players must buy paint at the venue or at a pro shop affiliated with the park. This is largely for revenue reasons; field and rental fees generally do not cover expenses of a paintball park. However, other reasons relating to player safety are generally cited and have some merit, as poor quality or poorly stored paint can cause gun failures or personal injury to targeted players.[27][28][29] Other times, FPO policies are in keeping with municipal laws for wastewater and runoff; paintballs contain food dyes, and some formulations have metallic flakes and/or cornstarch to make them more visible, all of which can pose problems in water reservoirs and treatment plants. So, fields that must wash paintball paint into municipal wastewater facilities, or that have substantial rain runoff into bodies of water that are used as sources of drinking water, are generally required by the municipality to restrict players to only certain paint formulations; the easiest way to achieve this is to sell only approved paint and require that field paint be used.[30]

Playing on a non-established field is sometimes referred to as renegade or gonzo play or outlaw ball (with the players nicknamed renegade ballers or outlaws).[31] Though less expensive and less structured than play at a commercial facility, the lack of safety protocols, instruction, and oversight can lead to higher incidence of injuries.

Organized play[edit]

Green paintballs

The first organized paintball game in record was held by Charles Gaines and friends in New Hampshire in 1981, with the first paintball field opening approximately a year later in Sutton, NH[32] In 1983 the first National Survival Game (NSG) national championship was held, with a $14,000 cash award for the winning team.[33] As of 2010, tournaments are largely organized by paintball leagues.

Leagues[edit]

A Speedball league is an organization that provides a regulated competition for Speedball players to compete. Leagues can be of various sizes (for example, regional, national or international) and offer organized tournaments and or games for professional, semi-professional, and amateur teams, sometimes with financial prizes. The first British national league was the British Paintball League created in 1989 by Gary Morhall, Richard Hart and Derek Wildermuth in Essex England.[34][35][36][37] As of 2010, major leagues include the PSP and the NPPL in the United States,[37][38] the Paintball Asia League Series(PALS) in Asia, the Millennium Series in western Europe,[39] the Centurio series in Eastern Europe, and the National Collegiate Paintball Association in the US and Canada (A league was also created for high school and college players, the NCPA.).[40] They are supplemented by various regional and local leagues spread worldwide. Within these leagues it is narrowed down further to divisions. There are 6 divisions from division 5 to division 1 also pro leagues.

Tournament format[edit]

The nature and timing of paintball events are specified by the league running the tournament, with the league also defining match rules – such as number of players per team (anywhere from 3-7 players per team), or acceptable equipment for use. The number of matches in a tournament is largely defined by the number of available teams playing.

A match in a tournament is refereed by a judge, whose authority and decisions are final. Tournament rules can vary as specified by the league, but may include for example – not allowing players to use devices to communicate with other persons during a game, or not allowing players to unduly alter the layout of terrain on the field. In contrast to a casual game designed for fun, a tournament is much stricter and violations of rules may result in penalties for the players or entire teams.[41]

Though tournament paintball was originally played in the woods, speedball became the standard competitive format in the 1990s.[37][42] The smaller fields made use of artificial terrain such as bunkers, allowing symmetrical fields that eliminate terrain advantages for either team; woodsball fields having no such guarantee.[43] Most recently, fields using inflatable bunkers, tethered to the ground with stakes, have become standard for most tournament formats; the soft, yielding bunkers reduce the occurrence of injuries, the bunkers deflate to store in a compact space and anchor to the ground with tent stakes, allowing for temporary fields to be set up and torn down with less impact on the ground underneath, and the arrangement of bunkers can be easily re-configured to maintain novelty of play or to simulate a predetermined field layout for an upcoming event.[44]

Professional teams[edit]

A professional paintball team is one that plays paintball with the financial, equipment or other kind of support of one or more sponsors, often in return for advertising rights. Professional teams can have different names in different leagues due to franchising and sponsorship issues.

Accused terrorists' usage[edit]

In the past, unlawful groups and terrorist have been accused of using paintball for tactical training purposes in connection with the following incidents:

Mohamed Mahmood Alessa and Carlos "Omar" Eduardo Almonte, two men arrested in June 2010 as they were bound for Somalia, and charged with terrorism and conspiring to kill, maim, and kidnap people outside the U.S., had simulated combat at an outdoor paintball facility in West Milford, New Jersey, according to the complaint against them.[45][46][47][48]

Similarly, 11 men, convicted in 2003–04 of composing the Virginia Jihad Network, engaged in paintball training in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, to simulate small-unit tactical operations and develop combat skills to prepare for jihad, according to prosecutors.[46][47][49][50][51][52] In 2006, Ali Asad Chandia of the Virginia Jihad Network was also sentenced to 15 years in prison for providing support to a Pakistani terrorist organization, Lashkar-e-Taiba, including helping Lashkar ship 50,000 paintballs from the U.S. to Pakistan.[53]

In addition, two of the 2005 London 7/7 bombers were filmed in June 2005 at a paintball center in Tonbridge, Kent, ducking behind oil barrels and shooting paintballs at cut out figures.[54] Also, the suspects in the 2006 Toronto Terrorism case played paintball to prepare for their attack.[55][56] In 2007, paintball training was engaged in by five terrorists to prepare for an attack aimed at killing American soldiers in Fort Dix, New Jersey; they were later convicted.[57][58]

Safety statistics[edit]

Paintball players in mid-game

The rate of injury to paintball participants has been estimated as 45 injuries per 100,000 participants per year.[59] Research published by the Minnesota Paintball Association has argued that paintball is one of the statistically safest sports to participate in, with 20 injuries per 100,000 players annually,[60] and these injuries tend to be incidental to outdoor physical activity (e.g. trips). A 2003 study of the 24 patients with modern sports eye injuries presenting to the eye emergency department of Porto S João Hospital between April 1992 and March 2002 included five paintball eye injuries.[61] Furthermore, a one-year study undertaken by the Eye Emergency Department, Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston has shown that most sports eye injuries are caused by basketball, baseball, hockey, and racquetball.[62] Another analysis concluded that eye injuries incurred from paintball were in settings where protective equipment such as masks were not enforced, or were removed by the player.[63] Eye injuries can occur when protective equipment is not properly used and such injuries often cause devastating visual loss.[64][65] For safety, most regulated paintball fields strictly enforce a 'masks-on' policy, and most eject players who consistently disobey.

Regardless, paintball has received criticism due to incidents of injury. In Canada in 2007, an eleven-year-old boy lifted his mask and was shot point blank in the eye by an adult playing on the same field,[66] leading to calls by the Montreal Children's Hospital to restrict the minimum age of paintball participants to 16 years. In Australia, the sport attracted criticism when a 39-year-old man playing at a registered field in Victoria died of a suspected heart attack, after being struck in the chest.[5][67]

Additionally, the use of paintball markers outside a regulated environment has caused concern. In the United States in 1998, 14-year-old Jorel Lynn Travis was shot with a paintball gun while standing outside a Fort Collins, Colorado ice cream parlor – blinding her in one eye.[68] In 2001, a series of pre-meditated and racially motivated drive-by shootings targeted Alaska Natives in Anchorage, Alaska, using a paintball marker. In Ottawa, Canada in 2007, Ashley Roos was shot in the eye and blinded with a paintball gun while waiting for a bus.[69][70][71]

In game characters[edit]

In order to enhance the experience for players, some paintball companies introduce themed characters to some of the rounds, with the purpose of making the game more challenging for players, as well as adding an element of surprise. Such characters usually under the basic premise of having enhanced characteristics, such as being "invincible" or possessing superior weapons, and often their own specific rules of engagement during the game. In an effort to increase the "fear factor" for players, the character is often introduced randomly to games throughout the day.

One group uses a character called "The Predator", based upon the trophy-hunting alien character from the Predator science-fiction franchise. The Predator is only able to "see" players if they move, meaning that players must remain as still as possible whilst in the presence of the Predator to avoid being shot by his highly accurate "double plasma cannons".

Legality[edit]

Argentina[edit]

Paintball has been considered an inappropriate game, that promotes violence, by the Parliament of the Province of Buenos Aires. The approved law 14.492 (December 2012) regulates its use: it is totally forbidden for children under 16 years old, but can be played with written authorization by the parents, or responsible person in charge, of youths between 16 and 18 years old. Originally, the initiative had proposed the total prohibition for players under 21 years old. The penalties are also established by law, as 30 days of communitarian work or other modalities.

Australia[edit]

Paintballing in Australia is controlled by the police in each state, with differing minimum age requirements. Players under 18 are required to have a guardian sign a consent form. The minimum ages are 12 for South Australia and Western Australia, 15 for Queensland, 10 for New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory, and 18 in Victoria.[72] Paintball has been banned in Tasmania since the events of the Port Arthur massacre in 1996.[5]

To own a paintball marker privately in Australia (outside Tasmania and the Northern Territory) one must hold a valid firearms license endorsed for paintball use.

In the Northern Territory they are considered a Class C firearm and private ownership is illegal.

In Western Australia they are considered a Category E(5) miscellaneous weapon.[73]

In New South Wales,[74] Victoria,[75] South Australia,[76] the Australian Capital Territory[77] and Queensland[78] they are considered Class A firearms for the purposes of licensing and storage.

Operators must adhere to legislation on gun storage, safety training and field sizes; private owners have to secure their markers according to state law on storage, as by law paintball markers are considered firearms in Australia.

Cyprus[edit]

As in Australia, paintballing in the Republic of Cyprus is controlled by police, i.e. all paintball markers must be registered and licensed, the field must be in certain standards that is inspected by police in order to obtain the license for a paintball field. The process of buying one's own paintball marker is just as complicated, the buyer must have completed military service, have a clean police record and be over the age of 18 years old.

Minimum age for paintball is 14 years old with parents consent, from 16 and up no parental consent is required. It is required that all players must wear protective mask as well and neck and chest protection. Paintball markers are not allowed to exceed 290 fps velocity and a maximum of 12bit/s firing rate.[79]

Germany[edit]

In Germany, paintball is restricted to players over 18 years of age.[80] Paintball markers are classified as weapons that do not require a license or permit; they are legal to buy and use, but restricted to adults. Markers are limited to a kinetic energy of 7,5J.[81] Tampering with the marker to increase muzzle velocity above 214 fps can lead to confiscation/desctruction of the marker and a fine. All Paintball markers sold officially in Germany must be certified by the government "Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt" (PTB) (Federal Physical and Technical Institute) to operate within these limits and must have a registered serial number and an official stamp on the firing mechanism. In May 2009, reacting to the Winnenden school shooting, German lawmakers announced plans to ban games such as paintball as they allegedly trivialised and encouraged violence[82][83] but the plans were retracted a few days later. Most Indoor-Paintball-Areas in Germany have a strict "No-Mil-Sim"-Policy, meaning that no camouflage clothing or real-life looking markers are allowed.[84]

Ireland[edit]

Paintballing is widely accepted as a recreational pastime in Ireland and is not directly subject to any governing regulations. In Northern Ireland all paintballs guns are classified as firearms and as such all gun owners needs to obtain a license from the PSNI (Police Service of Northern Ireland). There is also a minimum age where all players need to be 16 or older. Paintball is governed by the local Gardaí in the Republic of Ireland. A Firearms licence is required for both personal and site use. Weapon storage guidelines and security must also be strictly adhered to.

New Zealand[edit]

Paintball markers are classified as Airguns under New Zealand law, and as such are legal for persons 18 and over to possess (those between the ages of 16 and 18 require a firearms license). Following the Arms (Military Style Semi-automatic Firearms and Import Controls) Amendment Act 2012 (Which came into effect on December 1, 2013),[85] fully automatic Paintball guns are legal to purchase and use, although a permit to procure from the New Zealand Police is required in order to legally import them into the country.[86] Military replicas require a permit for import.

United Kingdom[edit]

The United Kingdom Paintball Sport Federation "UKPSF" is the UK's independent, non profit, governing body for paintball. They are an independent organisation which ensure the safety and quality of paintball venues and events in the UK. UKPSF accreditation ensures the venue meets the basic health and safety criteria of the UKPSF and has full public liability insurance. In 2014, the UKPSF will hope to send an application to the UK Sports council to make paintball a recognised sport in the UK.[citation needed]

The United Kingdom Paintball Association "UKPBA" is the also a non-profit making body dedicated to the promotion and protection of the sport of paintball in the UK. The UKPBA was established in 1989 and has a membership of over 500,000 people, and considers itself to have a fair claim to be considered the governing body of paintball in the UK.[87]

Laws pertaining to paintball markers in the United Kingdom classify them as a type of air weapon, although some could be considered to be "imitation firearms."[88] Owners do not require a license unless the marker fires above 90 m/s (300 ft/s). Only approved paintballs can be used, and the marker must not be fully automatic. The minimum age to be in possession of a marker is seventeen, except in target shooting clubs or galleries, or on private property so long as projectiles are not fired beyond the premises. It is prohibited to be in possession of a paintball marker in public places. The minimum legal age for a commercial venue is 10,[89] although facilities exist with lower-powered guns for children of a younger age.[90]

United States[edit]

In the United States, eight states define explicit legislation for paintball guns. In Pennsylvania, paintball markers have transport requirements, cannot be used against anyone not participating in a paintball activity, and cannot be used for property damage.[citation needed] New Hampshire and Rhode Island require players be at least eighteen years of age to own a marker, with students in New Hampshire faced with the possibility of expulsion from school for possessing a marker.[citation needed] In Illinois, owners must be over the age of twelve and can only use their markers in private land or on safely constructed target ranges.[citation needed]

Virginia is one of two states that permit its towns to adopt ordinances on paintball guns, allowing its local authorities to do so.[citation needed] Delaware on the other hand only authorizes Wilmington to do so, but does allow paintball to be played on farms as it is considered an agritourism activity. Florida and Texas limit government liability if a government entity allows paintball on its property.[91]

In virtually all jurisdictions, the use of a paintball marker in a manner other than its intended purpose and/or outside the confines of a sanctioned game or field can result in criminal charges such as disturbing the peace, disorderly conduct, vandalism, criminal mischief or even aggravated assault.

Paintball around the world[edit]

Australia[edit]

Despite stiff legislation, paintball is growing in popularity as a competitive sport, with several leagues and tournaments across the country. There are paintball fields in every state except Tasmania that allows paintball marker ownership.[92]

Canada[edit]

Certain paintball fields opened in the Eastern Townships and in the Laurentians. In the beginning it was mostly fields with regular open fields with barricades of wood, old tires and barrels, and very basic infrastructure. Harry Kruger has operated a paintball venue known as "Capture the Flag" in Alberta since the late 1980s. In 1995 Bigfoot Paintball opened in St. Alphonse-Rodriguez in the region of Lanaudière. After only a few years it became more and more prominent in Québec.[citation needed] In 2013, paintball has become relatively mainstream in Canada, with multiple commercial indoor paintball facilities located in most large cities across Canada, as well as a variety of outdoor style commercial paintball fields located in the countryside around the cities.

Cyprus[edit]

There are about ten fields in Cyprus, the most recognized of them being the Lapatsa Paintball Ranch in Nicosia, DNA-Paintball in Paphos, and Paintball Cyprus in Limassol. The Republic of Cyprus has a number of ongoing paintball leagues, including CRL (Cyprus Rec-ball League) and CSL (Cyprus Speedball League). Each league has tournaments every month for the duration of the season which is usually about 7–9 months.[93]

Denmark[edit]

In Denmark paintball is a very popular sport. There are around 25 paintball outdoor and indoor fields in Denmark. The largest indoor paintball center in Europe is placed in Copenhagen.[94]

India[edit]

In India, Paintball dates back to 2005 when TPCI(The Paintball Co.) joined hands with PALS (Paintball Asia League Series) which governs sport in the Asian Circuit and introduced this sport to the country by starting first commercial paintball park on the outskirts of National Capital at Damdama Lake in Gurgaon, Haryana.

In India, to cut down the cost of this expensive sport and adapt it to suit harsh Indian weather conditions, lot of innovative adaptions have been made since 2005. To promote the sport, PALS & TPCI joined hands with the Sports Authority of India in 2007 and trained several unemployed youth, who run more than 200 paintball fields across India today. Today India not only manufactures Paintballs & other accessories, but also builds professional Markers that get exported across the globe. Since 2007 TPCI has been organizing a national level League tournament every year with sponsorship from India government and various leading Industrial & Corporate houses. India's second league, National Paintball League.in was formed in 2010 by one of the senior employees of TPCI to concentrate on promoting the sport in Southern India.

Sports Authority of India, is yet to issue standard rule to regulate this sport. However several mishaps have been reported at paintball fields generally because ill-trained staff, use of fake or low quality equipment and dilution of the International Quality standards. NPCI & PALS are however in talks with the Sports Authority of India to regulate the rise of uncertfied paintball parks and introduce a comprehensive Training, Certification & Audit process.

With the growth of Outsourcing/ Offshoring and IT companies, especially in New Delhi and Bangalore, Paintball as a sport is being used as a tool for corporate training. There has been a sharp increase in the woodsball, speedball and scenario gaming arenas and is growing at a fast pace. Many semi-urban Indian cities have come up with indoor and outdoor paintball fields in recent years.

Bangalore hosts the Paintball Indian open every year in which teams come from all over the world to compete for the championship.

Iran[edit]

In Iran, paintball is a very popular recreation. Nearly every city has one or more paintball fields, and every province has one or more teams that play at the national paintball league. Iran itself has a national team.[95]

Lebanon[edit]

Hezbollah, the militant group and political party based in Lebanon, has trained with paintball.[96]

South Africa[edit]

In South Africa, organised paintball has been played since the late 1980s. The only legal enforcement regarding paintball is the concealment of paintball (and airsoft) guns in public areas.[97] There are no license requirements or age limitations in place, but with the threat of the implementation of the "Dangerous Weapons Act", this could change.[when?]

South Africa has seen a steady growth of the sport of paintball, since its introduction. Recreational bushball is the most popular form throughout the country, but the last couple of years[when?] have seen a big increase in the popularity of speedball. The South African Paintball League has been in existence since 2002 During 2013 South Africa was invited to send a representative paintball team to the first ever Paintball World Cup held in Paris, France. The South African team got officially ranked 13th in the world.

Popular tournaments such as The Tippmann Challenge, D-Day and the Navy Festival SWAT Challenge, see hundreds of players from around the entire country participate.

The first ever public paintball performance in South Africa was held at the Swartkop Airshow during 2013. More than 80 paintball players took part a in a simulated a counter terrorist raid on a weapons dealer.

Currently, the biggest national speedball league in South Africa is the SARPL (South African Regional Paintball League)[98] with over 500 members and hosting both a 3-man and 5-man series events in 5 provinces (including Gauteng, Kwazulu Natal, Eastern Cape, Western Cape and the Free State). The league hosts around 31 events per year on a regional and national level with the national finals that takes place at Oviston, Lake Gariep beginning December of each year starting at the end of 2013. The SARPL currently play PSP Race-to-2 format and use the PSP rule set as well as using APPA[99] system for player classification.

Malaysia[edit]

Paintball is a very popular sport in Malaysia. The Malaysian paintball community is considered the largest in Asia. The Paintball Asia League Series(PALS) is headquartered in Petaling Jaya near the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. They organize tournaments and events around the Asian region.

Other than PALS sanctioned tournaments, there are also the Malaysian National Paintball League (MY-NPL), the Malaysian Super Sevens Series, World Paintball Players League (WPPL), the Malaysian Ultimate Woodsball League (UWL Malaysia), and Tactical Paintball Championship(TPC). The Paintball World Cup Asia is also held annually in Langkawi island.[100]

Several woodsball and scenario big games are also held throughout the year such as the International Scenario Paintball Games(ISPG)and by Paintball Warfare Group Malaysia (P.W.G-Malaysia), There are many commercial paintball fields operating in almost every major city across the country, with most of them concentrated around the Klang Valley region.However, in December 2013, the Royal Malaysian Police stated that all paintball markers must be owned with a licence and owners must hand in their markers.Some paintball organizations have stated that this will be "a big blow" to paintball in the country while others stated that this will not effect the sport at all.

See also[edit]

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External links[edit]