- $199 for a five-day paintball summer camp ($399 value)
Paintball Games: Recreational War
The staff will be happy to fill you in on the rules of the game you choose. But if you’d like to impress your teammates with vocab such as “speedball” and “flag,” check out Groupon’s guide to game types.
Invented in the 1980s by a few friends who saw new potential in the paint-slingers farmers used to mark trees and livestock, paintball has been growing in sophistication ever since. From structured, scenario-based games to chaotic free-for-alls, paintball takes on a wide variety of permutations.
Speedball: The most common paintball game, typically played between two teams of five on a small, flat field filled with inflatable obstacles and the flowers that sprout from burst paintballs. The first team to capture the opposing team’s flag and bring it back to its own base—or eliminate all enemy combatants—wins. As in a game of tag, players are eliminated if hit by enemy fire. Speed, athleticism, and marksmanship are crucial in this fast-paced format, and games often last less than five minutes.
Woodsball: A catch-all term for paintball games played in large, natural settings, often characterized by forest-like features. These contests place a premium on stealth, patience, and free time, as it can take hours for a single game to play out. The realistic backdrop often lends itself to storylines and scenarios based on historical events, science fiction, or war.
Attack and Defend: In this variant, each team has a different role. The attacking team can use the entire field of play as it attempts to penetrate a defensive zone. The defending team—typically sequestered in a heavily fortified zone—attempts to thwart the invaders. Although the attacking team’s objective varies, it usually involves hanging a flag or shooting a target somewhere in the defending team’s territory.
Centerflag: Often played in a speedball setting, centerflag is a popular spin on classic Capture the Flag. Rather than having two flags in the home base of both respective teams, centerflag features one in the middle of the field. The objective of the game depends on whether you are playing the “push it” or “pull it” variety. Under “push it” rules, teams strive to capture the flag and carry it through enemy lines to the opposing team’s starting base. Under “pull it” rules, teams capture the flag and strive to return it to their own home base.
X-Ball: Also played in a speedball setting, X-Ball takes centerflag rules and adds elements of other field sports. When a team successfully captures the center flag, it does not signal the end of the game; instead, that team scores a point. After a set time period, points are tallied and the winners crowned with a huge bucket of paint.