BBs fly across Citadel Airsoft's 60,000-square-foot indoor facility as marksmen square off in CO2-fueled contests. Three days a week, open skirmishes reward strategy in 30-minute games that follow a variety of rules and scenarios such as Downed Pilot, where rival teams compete to either rescue or capture a specific player. For more experienced sharpshooters, Citadel organizes indoor and outdoor simulations that test players' mettle with unique obstacles and targets painted on remote-control houseflies. First-time players can boost their airsoft skills during training events and add to their personal armory with safety equipment and supplies from the facility's onsite pro shop.
When slender tree trunks don't offer enough protection, paintballers dive behind barrels, inch along behind rough-hewn wooden barricades, or crouch behind a dense pile of sticks. These are the barriers that ALLSTARR Paintball's playing field offers paintball warriors as they battle for supremacy. As soon as they don the necessary protective gear and grab a paintball marker, competitors can get out on the field and start splatting the field—and their opponents—with color.
At Action Games Paintball, players streak across 80 acres comprising six woodsball fields speckled with forts, towers, bridges, and bunkers. After playing one of 10 themed games such as capture the flag or attack and defend, they post up against a towering tree or at a picnic table and dig into a complimentary, all-you-can-eat barbecue lunch.
Sneaking up the ridge, the players prepare to storm the multilevel Castle Anthrax, a wooden fortress where defenders lurk in its 20,000-square-foot interior and ready their counterattack. The castle is one of seven outdoor playing fields at AG Paintball, which has been featured on WMUR's "New Hampshire Chronicle." Amid forest terrain, participants duck into huts, snipe opponents from behind paint-splattered barrels, and trick the guard sphinxes into unveiling one of the multiple entrances to the Octagon. Updated annually with new fields, the facility hosts both novice and experienced players and matches those of equal experience and skill for games in varying styles of play. After their bouts, guests can restock supplies in the pro shop, commission repairs from the onsite gunsmith, or grill some burgers in the covered patio area, where those 21 and older can also enjoy BYOB privileges once all gear is returned.
A player crouches and duck walks toward the base of an uprooted tree, stepping judiciously to avoid crunching the fallen leaves and pine needles that might give his position away. In the dense woods, an opponent could be mere feet away, perhaps lurking behind a nearby rock wall. Fox 4 Paintball's 34 acres span both wooded terrain and fields designed with inflated bunkers. In addition to supervising the grounds' public play, referees oversee special mission-based scenario games, which are designed after action films such as Ice Station Zebra and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome. Beyond the fields, Fox 4's facilities encompass a snack stand and picnic tables where players can enjoy any refreshment they bring, barring alcoholic beverages and whole roasted mastodons.
Just under an hour's drive from Boston, Merrimack Valley Paintball's fields are just big enough for referees to keep an eagle eye on all the action. Arching over the woodsball field is a thick canopy of trees, providing good cover in case of rain or flaming hail. As they maneuver around the tall trees, players duck behind stacks of logs and other obstacles. On the speedball field, combatants enjoy regulation-style play, whether they're packing high-end .68-caliber markers or Splatmaster gear, engineered for a softer impact so kids as young as 10 can play.