Paintball is a lot like chess in that both require complex strategizing and both are almost impossible to win against autonomous robots. Shoot alongside your warm-blooded allies with today's Groupon: for $25, you get a walk-on paintball combo package that includes all-day open-play entry, gun rental, CO2, a safety mask, and 500 paintball rounds at Blastcamp Paintball in Hobart (a $49.99 value).
Blastcamp Paintball, located on a decommissioned Cold War–era military base, unfurls a playing arena that’s peppered with obstacles for a variety of paintball games sure to excite shooters ages 10 and older. Before each match, Blastcamp’s staff equips paint-slingers with a Tippmann 98 custom semi-automatic marker and divides them into teams based on age, skill level, and ability to recite the ABCs backward in Latin. Teams then engage in colorful combat while navigating several types of fields that include close-quarter landscapes, open fields, wooded areas, and speedball battlegrounds. Juke and jive through 17 full buildings, messing up the mess halls, careening through the communications rooms, and ballroom dancing in the barracks during game lulls.
Blastcamp is committed to maintaining a safe paintball environment for all players; though safety masks are included in this package, chest protectors may be rented for an extra $5 fee. Open play runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. most Saturdays and Sundays. All extra paint must be purchased onsite ($25 for 500 rounds; $40 for 1,000 rounds; $68 for 2,000 rounds).
During the Cold War, anything could happen. The US military's response to this reality was to ring every major metropolitan area with defensive missile bases that could launch Nike antiaircraft supersonic missiles at any time. The goal was to make attacking the United States so costly that the Soviets would not dare try. One of the roughly 20 bases defending the Chicago area was Nike Missile Base C-47, a 14-acre site built between 1954 and 1956. Surrounded by 8-foot-tall cyclone fences, the base housed three underground concrete bunkers, three launchers, five radar towers, a fallout shelter, and day barracks.
Today, the Cold War is safely tucked in the nation's memory, but much of C-47 still remains. However, instead of military personnel coming and going throughout their 24-hour shifts, it's paintball and Airsoft players who creep along the 10 sprawling fields, simulating the warfare that luckily never occurred on the base. The terrain includes many of the original features—such as a mess hall, army barracks, and satellite towers, which host strategic meetings and midbattle naps. Referees enforce special safety rules for minors to keep games safe and organized.