For more than 14 years, paint-splattered players have duked it out on the varied terrain of Krossfire Paintball's well-kept outdoor fields. Under the watchful eye of fair-minded referees, participants duck for cover and take aim from behind blue inflatables, stacks of barrels, large wooden spools, and a fort surrounded by fencing. Over in the woods, meanwhile, players huddle in bunkers, plan ambushes from behind standing and downed trees, and crawl through overgrown grasses while avoiding opponents camouflaged as overgrown grasses. After private weekday or open weekend games, guests can update their gear by browsing the latest equipment in Krossfire Paintball's pro-shop, which stocks guns, loaders, goggles, and protective pads.
On Paintball Knights' nine pristine grassy play fields, combatants take cover behind inflatable obstacles and large tin drums while waging good-natured warfare against the opposing team. A referee for every 10 participants keeps things civil and fun by promising to foil cheaters and inaccurate Braveheart reenactments. Between matches, players can hatch master plans in the 50-table gravel staging area or refuel at the snack bar. The staff supplies biodegradable, easy-break paintballs that leave minimal stains and bruises, as well as complimentary lens cleaner and paper towels to scrub away colorful specks from skin, clothing, and monocles.
A wide, dusty expanse lies in the center of rugged woods. Its sandy floor occasionally laps up into wind tunnels as desert breezes roll through. The expanse is dotted with large wooden spools and shrubs. Through the eerie silence, a muffled rustling is heard, and suddenly a masked figure appears, a long marker aimed at an opponent.
Within Austin Paintball's nine distinct fields, paint-slinging commandos encounter strategies and scenarios sprawled across 30 acres of dense woodlands and dusty lots. Units march into the Barrels field, which is haphazardly strewn with stacked, splattered barrels, or onto a new tournament area. The Underground and Iwo Jima, two fields marked by deep trenches that force exhilarating combat, re-create famous battles from history or legendary finger-painting skirmishes from kindergarten.
Self-service stations include 3,000 and 4,500 psi compressed-air stations, where players can recharge their air-powered devices or inflate self-brought blimps for paint-based air raids. Pacifists can view the action from the 1,000-square-foot stone patio that overlooks the hill country or take aim at motionless targets at the firing range.
According to his bio, Stunt Ranch owner Steve Wolf specializes in "professional training for people who like to play with matches and run with scissors." Or at least, how to look like they're playing with matches and running with scissors. Throughout his 25 years in television and film production, Steve developed an affinity for stunt work and special effects, supplying his expertise to shows such as MTV's Call to Greatness and feature films such as Hustle & Flow. Still active in the industry, Steve also shares his passion for throwing spectacle-laden events through heading up multiple enterprises that include Wolf Stuntworks, Stunt Ranch—which also encompasses paintball and stunt parites—and Science in the Movies. Through these companies, Steve's experienced team of special effects professionals is able to stage professional fireworks shows, train people in creating controlled explosions, and applying special-effects makeup to help zombies look human again.
While some would look upon a timbered field and see possible farmland or a housing development, Shane Heffernan and Regan Land saw a potential paintball battleground. Rolling up their shirtsleeves and soliciting the help of friends with promises of cupcakes, the duo hauled in obstacles such as industrial-size cable spools, oil drums, and stacks of tires to construct five fields, including two woodsball fields and a full-size PSP course bedecked with inflatable obstacles. A picnic area offers players a place to relax between games, and Adrenaline's staff anticipate visitors' questions on a FAQ page.
Terrain changes fast in Hill Country. The landscapes on Texas Paintball?s 40 acres, for example, transform from flat, open fields to foothills to wooded valleys. This dynamic terrain naturally lends itself to a variety of playing scenarios, which the owners capitalize on with nine fields such as requisite air-ball and hyperball fields and custom-designed wooded grounds with names such as Normandy and Trenches. Texas Paintball also has a sawmill field where players can stalk stacks of timber while battling to control a two-story mill, and a Vietnam-themed field with a fishing village, air control tower, and fuel depot is in the works.
On these fields, crews divide up players according to experience level for a variety of games, from classics such as Capture the Flag to creative scenarios such as Rush, where one team escorts an unarmed player to a safe zone while the other attacks and yells false Gallup Poll numbers. Props, including a Huey helicopter, 1920's ambulance, deuce and a half, cars, trucks, and various boats, scatter themselves across a 10,000-sq.-ft. turf field. The knowledgeable staff also caters to players? ability levels by renting an array of markers, from the basic Tippmann Pro-Lite to the tournament-level Empire Axe, one of the farthest-shooting models on the market.
Off the fields, Texas Paintball encompasses amenities including dressing rooms, a concession stand, a picnic area with two barbecue pits for players who bring their own food, and a pro shop.