Players at OSG Paintball might forget that it's all a game. While other paintball arenas litter their fields with leftovers from factories—empty spools of cable, hollow barrels, battered hamster wheels—all nine playing fields at OSG are intricately designed to immerse players into another world. At the 25,000-square-foot Empire Castle, opponents scramble around the perimeter of the enclosed town, supported by a 1/8-mile-long second story walkway. At the Pirate Cove, a ship's three masts stretch into the air, providing cover from foes hunkered down in the lighthouse or taking a nap in the lifeboat. Players tumble into deep gullies and climb into a replica scorpion tank at the HALO village, modeled after the popular video game series. Periodically throughout the year, the fields play host to massive themed games where players can pretend they're characters in their favorite video game, apocalyptic television show, or Charles Dickens novel.
Paintballers sprint, strafe, and army-crawl across Birch Hill Paintball's battlefields, seeking refuge behind overturned barrels or inflated edifices as they seek out opponents. The venue features four distinct battlegrounds, letting players outflank adversaries in an urban setting, skulk stealthily through a sandy junkyard, or obscure themselves behind the trees, fences, and elephantine ant hills of a wooded battlefield. Players without their own paintball guns and other munitions can rent all necessary gear directly from Birch Hill, which hosts simulated warfare on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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.
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.
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.
When you step into the colorful crossfire at Boston Paintball, you'll be armed with its basic rental package of paintball equipment and 200 rounds of ammunition. Equipment provided by this package is a Tippmann 98 Custom paintball gun, a full-face goggle system, and unlimited air fills—a lust for bruises and welts on the skins of one's enemies is not included. With artillery and ammunition in hand, Boston Paintball guests can take to the 50,000-square-foot Everett Indoor Field, claimed by Boston Paintball to be the largest indoor paintball field in New England. As the air at Everett Indoor Field erupts in a frenzy of pigmentation, paintballers will duck, dodge, and commando-crawl from obstacle to obstacle, seeking a sheltered spot where they can unleash a vibrantly hued H, E, and a couple of hockey sticks upon combatants.