Different Types of Paintball

Want to unleash your competitive spirit? Well, paintball is the answer to your wants!

Paintball is a competitive sport that involves the use of paintballs, which are fired from paintball guns, and these paintballs burst on impact, marking you as eliminated if they hit you. Just when you thought that paintball was simply running around with a marker trying to hit your buddies, think again. This sport has evolved from the basic recreation sport it was to a competitive level which has branched out into different types of paintball.

Here are the different types of paintball so that you can give each one a try, or choose which one suits your preferences.



Paintball was designed to be a fun recreation sport that took place in open spaces and available terrain. Woodsball is designed to reflect the original form of the game, with teams competing not in arenas with manmade obstacles, but in natural terrain. Players use natural terrain and wooded areas and use the natural cover for concealment purposes, making this a very strategic and skillful version, requiring players to use the environment around them to get ahead in the game.

It still follows the basic rules of paintball – with each team or players attempting to eliminate the opposing team with their paintball pellets and markers. Usually boundary of the terrain is limited to the availability of the land – so your woodsball terrain could extend to quite large distances, making this a very real life enactment of military exercises.

Many times woodsball is often combined with scenario paintball to enact parts of historical events, because the equipment, tactics and terrain allow for a very realistic military simulation or recreation of an event.

Most of the games played in woodsball revolve around elimination or capture the flag type of paintball games. However, there are infinite possibilities of the types of games you can play within woodsball, making it for a very fun sport, as each player plays a tactical role that could help the team to victory.

Because of the large expanse of gaming territory, it could even take a player up to ten minutes before a member of the opposing team is spotted. This means that games often could run for many hours or even longer. Because of the large terrain that has to be covered, woodsball teams are quite large in size, with several large scale woodsball ‘Big Games’ being held in various parts of the country.

The beauty of woodsball is that each player is not limited to a single type of weapon; they each have different weapons such as woodsball paintball guns depending upon their assigned roles within the team, as well as the strategy created. This is what makes woodsball such a preferred type of paintball, as your roles can change with every game and every strategy, allowing you to familiarize yourself with various weaponry, which are often based on realistic military roles.

Even the weather can play a part in these games as the wind can change the paintball trajectories, the temperature outside can affect the CO2 in the marker propellant system and even the fog can obscure your line of sight – all being real life problems in military exercises.



Unlike woodsball, which is held in open natural terrain, speedball is quite spectator friendly, and is held in a small symmetrical playing field with various obstacles placed within. These obstacles are mostly inflatables placed in various challenging configurations. This team sport gained a lot of popularity due to the ease with which the inflatable bunkers can be moved, relocated and set up in any field, to the minimal injuries that can be caused when players collide with these inflatable obstacles.

The games are played usually with players split into teams of three, six, nine or twelve. This version is extremely fast paced, with virtually not much concealment offered on the speedball playing field. As the bunkers are inflatables, they can be easily moved to create a new speedball playing field.

Speedball differs from other paintball types as the skills you need in woodsball or even mil-sim do not feature here. Stealth is of no use as opponents are easily visible. The skills you need here involve team work, continuous communication to identify where your opponents are and being very aggressive in your movements. This version is not made for players who like to hide behind as the only way to succeed is to venture out and be aggressive in your game plan.

Speedball has evolved to leagues where uniforms are worn, as well as points systems are specified. When you play speedball, you can decide how the rules play out – you choose the points system. Points can be awarded for the eliminating players, for staying until the end, for capturing the flag and more.

As the playing field is significantly smaller than woodsball, the way to gain superior advantage over your opponents is to pin them behind cover, while you are free to move around. Speedball guns also uses a much higher number of ammunition, and the markers are much lighter than their woodsball counterparts.

Scenario Paintball

As the name suggests, this version involves re-enactment of a historical event, parts of a story, scenes or simulations from video games. This type of a paintball game lasts for much longer than the average paintball game.

While speedball may last for a few minutes to more, and woodsball can take many hours up to a day, scenario paintball events range form hours to a matter of days. Scenario paintball also involves large scale numbers of players that participate.

Scenario paintball is more objective driven than simply eliminating members of the opposing team. Because of the large scale of participants, the event itself is planned far in advance as compared to a fun get together at the paintball arena.  Elaborate missions are dreamed up, the game itself is spread over multiple locations, with code names given to each for merging into the overall story line.

This seems almost a little more hardcore, as many props are used within the game. It is not uncommon to see paintball tanks and other vehicles being used in the event to gain more points. Everyone gets into character, more or less, and many players wear costumes or uniforms as per the scene being re-enacted.

Due to the complexity of the event, large player networks are created and maintained, year after year, as the same players play together and discuss strategies throughout the year. This form of paintball sees a level of organization which far outclasses the basic paintball team play strategies.

The only thing you probably have to worry about is heat and water, which is why many players carry water bladders, so they can hydrate themselves without exposing their faces to probable attacks when they remove their paintball masks to drink water.

The type of scenarios designed can range forma game which runs in daylight hours – so 8 hours, to a more complex game over a 24 hour period. The event itself can be a large team vs. team or many small battles and individual missions that add up to the team’s total score.

It is not unusual for an eliminated player to return to the playing field after a set time has passed, as the game runs for so long, the player may be sitting on the sidelines for a very long time. The role playing feature is what draws many players to this type of a paintball game, with certain ‘characters’ gaining additional missions in keeping with their character.

As this game runs for much longer than the standard paintball game, players pack a lot more equipment and gear than normal paintball players. They can carry, night vision goggles, maps, smoke grenades, radios, water, law enforcement vests, mag fed paintball guns, camouflage clothes and of course, their mil-sim style gear.


Short for military simulation, Mil-Sim involves realistic military experiences, with achieving certain objectives being the key to the game. Ranging from all aspects of military planning, execution, combat logistics and managing to accomplish the mission with limited resources makes this version very challenging.

As the aim of this game is to be as realistically close to military encounters, players prefer to use airsoft guns rather than bulky paintball markers which do not look realistic with the prominent hoppers located on the top of the marker. Airsoft pellets are smaller however, and this could cause injury when shot in close range.

Paintball has evolved a lot since its creation in the 1980’s, and each version of this competitive sport has spawned leagues of their own, where players band together to gain victory over their opponent teams. The legality of this sport varies from country to country, and the amount of safety gear which is mandatory also differs.

But due to the unique experience paintball offers, it is used in the military, paramilitary, law enforcement and security organizations to supplement their training.

So, do you feel you’re a natural born paintball champion?

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