Every paintballer (that’s what we call ourselves, alternatively – ‘baller) on the face of the planet had questions before they played their first time.
Some of those question come from genuine curiosity, others from an (slightly) informed interest and still others from fear.
Before we get to some answers to the basic questions that every newbie (that’s what we call the uninitiated player) has, here are some facts to ponder:
Paintball has been played – as a game – since June 27th of 1981. Three decades have gone by and the game remains safe, legal and fun. If there was anything inherently wrong with the game, it’s equipment or the way we play, it would have been discovered by now.
Paintball is played in virtually every corner of the globe: United States, Canada, Mexico, Nicaragua, Columbia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Venuzuela, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, UK, France, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, Poland, Russia, Bulgaria, Italy, Greece, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Turkey, Portugal, Croatia, Israel, Egypt, UAE, Jordan, Iran, Pakistan, India, South Africa, Morocco, Australia, New Zealand, Guam, Fiji, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Indonesia and probably elsewhere.
Paintball safety standards are developed and approved by members of the ASTM, the US’s primary industrial standards setting body.
Paintball has been, for a number of years, a sport represented within the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association.
Millions play every year world-wide (probably tens of millions).
Now, on to your questions. These questions have been arranged in order of most common to least common.
1. Does it hurt when you get hit?
Yes, no, sometimes. Most new players need to be told that they’ve been hit the first time. That’s a fact. It’s due to the adrenaline rush you get from playing.
Most of the rest of the time you will experience a mild sting or will simply feel (or see) an impact on clothing or equipment.
Every once and a while you may get hit from close up, or in a tender area, or by surprise. In those cases you may feel some degree of pain. But it will be over in a heart beat and you’ll learn what every player learns: even the most painful hit is not so bad that you’ll want to stop playing.
2. How much is this going to cost?
It depends and is entirely up to you. The cost to get started will be somewhere in the neighborhood of forty to sixty dollars. The national average for a day of play is estimated to be about $55 for a “rental” customer at a commercial play site.
Rental customers do not have any of their own gear. Some fields supply you with the basics as part of your entry fee, others have scaled pricing. In general, entry fee and rental gear will cost between $5 and $30.
After entry fee, your other expenses will be gas and paintballs. Again, different fields do things differently – some include air fills and some paintballs, others don’t. “All-day-air” (refills anytime you need them) generally runs between $5 and $15. Paintballs will run anywhere from 2 to 10 cents per ball (usually depending on the market, the quantity you purchase and the quality you purchase). MOST new players will shoot anywhere from 500 to 2000 paintballs during their first day of play.
Additional expenses will add up once you start purchasing your own gear, step up to more frequent play, travel to play, participate in events, convert the backyard into a practice field and line the walls of your garage with your new toys.
In this regard, paintball is like any other hobby: you can spend as much as you want to, or you can get by on the cheap.
(Some new players begin playing “backyard ball” – pickup games on private property and not at a commercial paintball facility. While playing this way is a viable alternative, consider that you (or your playing buddies) will be the ones who will have to supply the paint, the gas for fills, all of the gear – everything. Backyard ball can be cheaper than playing at commercial fields, but only AFTER you’ve invested a fair number of dollars. Do yourself a favor and play multiple times at a commercial facility before you think you know it all.)
3. Yes, but does it hurt?
Nope. Well, maybe a tiny bit every once and a while.
Want to know what really hurts? Listening to paintball game stories without being able to contribute any of your own.
4. Who am I going to play with and against?
That depends entirely on the facility. Which is why you should visit a few in your area before deciding where to play for your first time.
You may be playing with and against new players like yourself. You may also be playing with and against very experienced players. This can sometimes be a problem because while you’re trying to learn how to play, the more experienced player is demonstrating to you (in a swift and pseudo-deadly fashion) that you do not yet know how to play. Which is something you already knew, thank you very much.
What you are really looking for is not a particular type of player to play with and against (newbies, casual, experienced, professional) but a particular type of playing environment. One where the more experienced players don’t view you as a target of opportunity, but instead take the time to help you, teach you and make sure that they convert you from a new player into a regular player.
68Caliber recommends that you look for a woodsball playing environment for your first few times out (rather than an arena ball or indoor environment) since woodsball generally provides a slower, more deliberately paced game. One in which you’ll be able to pick up the basics more easily.
5. How do I find the right place to start?
Check out the other resources here on the site. If you get lost or really need some help, don’t hesitate to drop us a line.