With the Atlanta skyline as their backdrop, players at Dosser Works Paintball fire rounds of pigment on four outdoor fields, each covered to keep out inclement weather and the sun’s judgmental glare. Experienced paintball players run these facilities, and they channel their knowledge of the game by supervising safety and regularly changing field layouts and game scenarios. Themed competitions and night games play out on two tournament-size fields, an astroturf-covered speedball field dotted with air bunkers, and a post-apocalyptic warzone where competitors dive and shoot from behind mounds of tires, sandbags, and an authentic burned-out Ford Windstar. A sniper tower between the speedball and dirt fields lets players take aim and give constructive haircut critiques to those below. The play area at Dosser Works Paintball has expanded to include two new fields called "The Back Lands" with two airplanes, a derelict van, two mountains connected by a bridge, topped with flag towers.
In Lithia Springs, there's a tiny clapboard building called the Church of Mighty Pain. Its name is a big hint that it's not a traditional worship center. Passers-by seek refuge not from the world's ills but from an onslaught of paintballs. Their fully stocked pro shop located on site, one of five fields that also feature spaces to play with airball and spool markers. Teams battle each other in fun skirmishes or competitive tournaments, including playing capture the flag just like the United States and Great Britain did before things got out of hand in 1812. Players can rent a Tippmann 98 marker from Classic Paintball or buy one from the pro shop, which makes future games less expensive and future house-painting sessions more fun.
Players never know what to expect when they step into SAS Black Ops Indoor Airsoft Arena's 13,000-square-foot indoor airsoft arena, That's because SAS Black Ops' staff didn't build it with permanent structures or referees super glued into position. Instead, they use interlocking black panels to construct rooms and obstacles that change often, keeping things fresh with brand-new layouts. Players can plan for these scenarios using the briefing area's scale model before entering the colorfully lit arena blaring realistic battle sound effects to duck, fire plastic BBs, and complete missions.
However, the airsoft field occupies just one section of SAS Black Ops' 27,000 square foot facility alongside an indoor airsoft shooting range. Birthday parties can be held in rooms decorated as army tents with canvas walls and camo netting ceilings, as teams gather in the arena for corporate team building sessions. Spectators can watch the action from the live video feed in the air-conditioned lounge that's equipped with wi-fi or choose to spend time playing arcade or air hockey games on the facility.
Snaking through paint-splattered trees, the marksman kneels behind a wooden cable spool, carefully lining up a shot as an opponent clambers uphill past a row of paintball-ridden boards. Little does the marksman know that, from the second-level of a nearby wooden structure, another player points a marker in his direction and laughs a maniacal laugh. Such scenes have unfolded since 1998 at Carnage Paintball, which began hosting refereed bouts as Club Paintball in 1994. Open-play sessions commence every Saturday and Sunday, and weekdays only accommodates private parties and group outings.
The value of teamwork—this is the overriding lesson the staff at Lowell Paintball hopes its players take from the game. As players shuttle through the wooded field to find the opponents' flag, they’re incentivized to work together, ducking behind trees and climbing into bunkers to provide enough cover so that their teammates can advance or take a nice cat nap. As play unfolds, judges keep an eye on all the action to ensure safety and that all the rules are being followed.