Image credit: http://www.timeoutsingapore.com/sports/things-to-watch/singapore-paintball-series
What is paintball? It is a game and a sport where you compete, either as a team or individually, to eliminate opponents by shooting them with a compressed air gun (a paintball marker) that fires dye filled pellets (paintballs). The game can be played either indoors or outdoors.
The popularity of paintball has increased exponentially over the last 10 years, and it has become a great social activity. Many companies now book paintball sessions as a team building exercise. But there are three different variations of paintball, in addition to competitive paintball, which we will explore here.
The objectives may differ - capture the opponent’s flag etc, but at its simplest and most basic, two teams fight and try to eliminate each other by tagging the other with paintballs. The team that accomplishes the task, and has the most “surviving” members, is declared the winner.
This is very similar to paintball, except that the scenario is held in a natural environment (i.e. jungle or forest). The environment becomes a factor, as the players will try to use the natural terrain and the weather to their own stealth and tactical advantage, as much as possible.
Speedball is another version of paintball. It is usually played on the field, with inflatable fabric bunkers (usually) in various configurations for concealment, protection purposes, and to challenge players. The key to victory for speedball is teamwork, strategy, and aggressiveness.
Due to the exciting nature of the sport, paintball’s popularity has grown rapidly in many countries, and professional competitive leagues and tournaments have sprung up.
In a competitive paintball setting, things are more structured and organized. Players are assigned positions that have strategic purposes, and require different skill sets. Sometimes, there are very specialized roles (it depends on what scenario you are playing) but generally, you can break it down to three categories.
Fronts (or frontmen) are players assigned to compete at the front line. They lead the assault, make the most aggressive steps to capture, and finish off the enemies. The frontmen must be able to run and react fast as they are closer to the action than any of the other players.
Mid-players need to be multi-skilled and versatile. Simply put, mid players replace the players who have been eliminated (i.e. if your frontman gets shot). They need to be fit, as they will be potentially be moving from one side of the field to another. They also relay information and orders from the front to the back.
Backs (or backmen) stay in roughly the same area from the start of the game, to the end. Their role is defensive (if the game requires players to guard the flag) and to offer support. For example, they might provide suppressing (or cover) fire as the frontman tries to advance to the next tactical position.
Backs also communicate with the front players to update them on the movements and position of the enemy players. In professional games, backs sometimes carry as many as 2,000 balls, so they can consistently provide cover for their teammates.
Singapore now has its own national paintball tournament, the Singapore Paintball Series, which was established in 2008.
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