Diving behind a stack of paint-splattered tires on the speedball field, the player catches his breath before unleashing fire on an opponent, who peeks out from behind a wooden spool. Next, they weave through brush-lined trails and take aim from lean-tos on the castle course or crawl through the tubes that throng the hyperball field. Before they commence these bouts on one of Brazos Splat Games' five fields, however, guests shield themselves in protective goggles and ready their semiautomatic markers in the netted staging area. Trained referees oversee 15- to 30-minute games that rotate through a variety of scenarios including Capture the Flag, Elimination, and Name That Rembrandt.
Tank's Paintball Park has hosted chromatic combatants in the Houston area for more than 17 years. It recently added a Sugarland paintball complex, which covers 29 acres of woodland. There's even a central creek, which can act as a strategic border or a place for cheaters looking to wash paint from their clothes. Casual players can take advantage of rental equipment for open games, and there are buckets of field paint to help keep veteran players' markers topped off. The field also offers SplatMaster games, which employ special, low-impact markers so kids up to the age of 12 can explore the sport.
"The Zombie Apocalypse has hit," bellows TX Zombie Hunt, "and you are recruited." Luckily, this isn't a matter of life or death, just a matter of zapping the undead with 100 rounds of zombie-killing serum from the back of a tractor-pulled trailer. As the trailer weaves through the dark woods, the hunt is on. Passengers will move through thick fog filled with strobe lights and blood-soaked zombies before taking their shot. Back at the headquarters, youngsters can get in on the action in the Kids Zone, which includes a spooky jumping house and a face painter.
Equipped with obstacles for speedball, hyperball, and woodsball players alike, Splatterhouse Paintball’s ten fields unfold across more than 25 acres of diverse game-playing terrain. Armed with a top-of-the-line rental marker, combatants duck behind wooden spools and tire stacks, navigate their way through a one-story house in the woods, or brave the open space of Nottingham. Under the watchful eyes of trained referees, players duke it out during private weekday games and walk-on matches that last from morning to nightfall every Saturday and Sunday. Splatterhouse Paintball’s games are designed with guests 10 and up in mind, though nine-year-old visitors can play if accompanied by a guardian during the match.
Paintball Bonanza Houston pits roving teams of weekend warriors against each other across five distinct outdoor fields. Competitive combatants can skulk across the frontline with their own paintball gun and garb or arm themselves with a rental marker and suit up in Paintball Bonanza's protective masks, goggles, and pasta colanders. Opposing forces compete in Capture the Flag or square off in elimination rounds, both of which typically last 10–15 minutes and are conducted at different fields throughout the day. Eliminated players can regroup with some shade and ice water in the fields' netted elimination zones and luxury foxholes. Along with munitions, Paintball Bonanza rents out camouflage clothes and body armor to protect and conceal bodies throughout a day in the combat zone.
Paintball Bonanza requires all players to complete a release form before they compete. Loose-fitting clothing is recommended, and should be able to cover arms, legs, and capturable flags.
Messages such as Are You Game? and Bang are scrawled in glow-in-the-dark graffiti on the black-lit walls of one of Indoor Tactical Sports' paintball and airsoft fields. The two-story facility, which declares itself the only indoor paintball arena in Houston, is air-conditioned to a crisp 65 degrees and houses a total of four fields where players can shoot at their friends with no-cleanup Reball paintball pellets or BBs from Airsoft guns. To ensure fair play, one referee for every 10 players patrols the fields and prevents participants from shooting their opponents in vulnerable spots, such as the working screenplay they carry around. In the gear shop, players can rent all the gear necessary to play, including guns, masks, ammunition, and air canisters. Visitors can also buy equipment or bring in personal guns and gear for repairs.