A lot of big things start in a garage; Boston Paintball, however, needed a warehouse. The team of paintball enthusiasts came together in 1992, and they spent 10 years in a downtown warehouse, introducing thousands of people to the sport and spilling more paint than an artist working on a tilt-a-whirl. But even that space eventually proved too small, and the company has since expanded to three locations in the greater Boston area.
Fully stocked pro shops and indoor fields greet players at the Chelsea and Ashland outposts. Maynard, on the other hand, takes the game outdoors. At every location, the staff keeps competition safe and fair, pairing up players based on ability from beginners all the way up to tournament level.
On Xtreme Action Sports' 13,000-square-foot indoor field, every surface in sight is splattered with colorful reminders of paintball impacts. The maze of wood walls draws players into close-range confrontations, forcing them to dive for cover beneath open windows and tactically placed barriers. Whether using paintballs, airsoft pellets, or laser tag markers, teams fan out into the facility in search of opposing players or first aid kids that inexplicably hover and spin in the air. Between competitions, players can return to the pro shop to peruse markers, safety gear, and travel accessories.
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.
As a conglomerate of paintball facilities, Paintball International offers many distinct destinations for chromatic outdoor combat. Some fields, such as Splat Zone Paintball in Louisiana, challenge players to find adequate cover in an arena littered with creative obstacles. In Massachusetts, PnL Paintball thrusts players into a realistic Ghost Town, comprised of churches, multilevel buildings, and stone walls. Meanwhile, trees, leaves, stacked wood, and foliage inside K.C. Crusaders offer players all-natural hiding places from which they can spring forth to surprise their rivals or remain undetected while they determine the color palette they will use to paint Water Lilies on the surrounding bunkers.
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.