Silence fills the forest as a masked paintball player creeps over logs and leaves, unable to find the opposing team he knows is there. Suddenly, a shower of colored paint spews from behind a nearby tree, and the battle begins. Such moments unfold daily at PBC Paintball Park's facilities during the regular season. Their staff, all of whom are paintball players themselves, have designed both wooded and concept fields at Greensboro, Charlotte, and Greenville. At Greensboro, wooded landscapes transform into a battlefield with bunkers, creeks, and large forts. Felled trees and dense foliage give players ample cover amid the undeveloped woods of Greenville's fields, while tournaments unfold across PBC Charlotte's level terrain. Additionally, PBC Paintball Parks are affiliated with Paintball Central, which runs two stores in North Carolina and one store in South Carolina where players can stock up on enough paintball gear to ready themselves for the inevitable cartoon-character rebellion.
The themes of the seven fields sprawled across Boss Paintball’s 35 acres of woods are nothing if not eclectic. Teams may imagine that they are a posse of sheriff’s deputies fighting bandits in the saloon and bank of Dodge City, or a group of unfortunate soldiers caught in a battle in a spooky haunted house. They may even find themselves set head-to-head inside the Ark, a 40-foot boat that holds a maze, a flagpole mast, and two of every action hero. An astroturfed speedball field caters to fast-paced matches and forces players to duck behind inflatable cover on an open course.
In Paintsburgh City, warriors use a rundown embassy and unoccupied police station for cover as they dodge opposing armies. Friendships have been put aside for the day as teams stealthily move about the 20,000-square-foot ghost town, aiming their CO2-powered paintball guns to hit targets and score bragging rights. The elaborate city is one of several scenario fields that make Xtreme Kombat's paintball and training facility a draw for both recreational players and professional law-enforcement and military personnel seeking challenging training environs. In addition to Paintsburgh's watchtowers and wrecked vehicles, the other themed fields—with names like Fort Massacre and Death Valley POW Hills—combine imaginative storylines with wooded landscapes, obstacles, and freelancing ghosts. The complex's fields are also illuminated for after-dark play.
The enthusiastic staffers at Mighty Sports Center oversee youths as they frolic through a range of indoor and outdoor activities. They arm visitors with markers, protective gear, and paintballs before setting them loose on two speedball fields, one hyperball field. On a 10,000-square-foot outdoor turf field and maze, they referee players engaging in team laser-tag skirmishes. Staffers also help visitors climb into designated rows on a large, inflatable human foosball field.
The expert referees and staff at Black River Paintball have hosted games of speedball, woods play, and simulated urban warfare for more than 22 years. Outdoor fields at two locations—each spanning at least 85 acres of wooded terrain—comprise bunkers, particleboard barriers, and thick patches of undergrowth that serve as ideal spots for players to hunker down after assaults or botched Braveheart monologues. Onsite rental shops arm participants with all necessary equipment including markers, goggles, and paintballs. In addition to walk-on rounds, the facility accommodates players during annual tournaments and scenario games, including themed survival quests based on properties such as G.I. Joe, World of Warcraft, and Harold and the Purple Crayon.
As a medic in the war in Afghanistan, owner Aaron Murray became known as 91 Whiskey. After suffering health complications when his vehicle was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade, he was honorably discharged from the army with a Purple Heart. Upon getting home, he missed the camaraderie found in the army, but not necessarily the danger of war. In paintball he discovered a similar sense of brotherhood that provided a safe and carefree means of team spirit found through tactical planning while looking out for one another. Teams find that bond while trekking the woodsball field’s 3 acres of hills and ravines, or the tight quarters of the 100’x200’ speedball field. In the coming months, Aaron plans to open four more fields, expanding the playing field and number of gaming styles.