One empty school bus, twenty-seven abandoned cars, and a desolate two-story house are the only refuges for combatants roving an expansive urban field. Fourteen additional playfields set the stage for games, surrounding players in open fields and dense forests. It's at Futureball Paintball's 115-acre facility that friendly paintball and Airsoft battles unfold each day and have unfolded for more than 20 years. While vehicle carcasses characterize the urban landscapes, two airfields exhibit red inflatables that mimic the ruins of ancient bounce castles. Between games, a 5-acre picnic area serves as neutral ground to strategize and nibble snacks.
To ensure fair play, Futureball Paintball's staff leads brief orientations and monitors all action. They can also repair and upgrade guns.
Ducking behind one of the inflatables scattered among the turf outdoor field, the soldier lines up his shot before firing his Tippmann 98 marker at an unsuspecting opponent. Meanwhile, his teammates snake around wooden obstacles erected on the recently completed outdoor speedball field. Like its indoor counterpart, the field accommodates masked marksmen at weekend open-play sessions. Warzone Paintgames reserves weekdays for private contests among birthday party attendees or large groups that can exceed 100 participants. Teams can also face off during projectile-free bouts of laser tag waged from the glow-in-the-dark obstacles filling Warzone's 12,000-square-foot multilevel arena. In between refereed rounds, visitors can restock on equipment at the pro shop, which dispenses markers, tanks, and gear preowned by Leonardo da Vinci.
A green turf floor, inflated obstacles, and industrial-sized plastic barrels populate Killer Paintball's two indoor fields. Within this paint-splattered environment, opposing teams don goggles, develop strategy, foster teamwork, and turn each other into sprinting, diving rainbows. Attentive referees supervise three-hour bouts to assure fair play. Open play occurs Friday through Sunday and on Wednesdays. The staff also facilitates paintball parties for birthdays, graduations, and reenactments of Jackson Pollock's last stand.
Hell Survivors' own history of paint-splattered skirmishes dates back to 1983. The facility’s 14 playing fields span a 180-acre outdoor arena and provide ample battlements for players to duck behind with Deluxe Tippmann semiautomatic markers in tow. Before deploying teams to the field, paintball experts equip them with anti-fog goggles, 300-round ammo packs, and unlimited nitro/HPA refills. Professional referees are present on the field to help refill air and explain how to use the equipment.
After players have exhausted their supplies and painstakingly replicated all of Jackson Pollock’s masterpieces, they can refuel with cheese burgers and chicken sandwiches at the pro-shop.
Your hands wrap around the grip of a Tippmann marker. Multicolored spheres fly past you, spattering the trees and cutting air inches from your mask. Through the foliage, you can see half a plane buried nose-first in a clearing, one of many obstacles concealing potential foes. At SplatterPark, this good-natured combat sprawls across the adrenaline-soaked turf of 12 outdoor fields and 40 wooded and open acres adjacent to a lake. Warriors battle through capture-the-flag, base-defense, and other scenarios in themed arenas with adventurous names including Fort Buckeye, Snake Pit, and Dark Forest. Each field is suited to at least three types of play, but only the regular type of physics, and shouts of camaraderie echo off paint-flecked cover such as a broken-down school bus and a wooden-slat fort. In preparing for battle, combatants strap on rental or purchased gear under covered staging shelters, happy in the knowledge that their biodegradable paint ammunition will be harmlessly washed away by the elements or bears doing community service.
The arena's surreal terrain was featured in the intense combat of Greg Hastings' Tournament Paintball, a video game from Activision, but the real park caters to players of all abilities and ages. At an onsite café, hot dogs and energy drinks refuel warriors and allow them to tell if their nemeses are actually target dummies with no appetite, and the pro shop's staff bustles among markers, accessories, and spare parts.
Apocalypse Games has carved its 37-acre site into four different fields to test the marksmanship and dodgemanship of paintballers in a variety of game types. On the speedball field, teams of three to five paint pugilists take to the air-ball fields for quick five-minute bouts of target practice. The large woods field offers plenty of bunkers for repelling flag capture attempts. In the swamp, however, paint-privates will search in vain for any underbrush to save them from oncoming paint orbs and paint-bear attacks. Perched on top of Bunker Hill, a large castle provides ample fortifications for the defending team to protect itself against the advancing enemy, who have 20 minutes to take the fortress. A ref is always around to make sure players aren't lying about their multicolored badges of courage or mother's maiden names. Call ahead to check availability.