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True Squid (Newbie) FAQ

Version 1.0 (10-03-00)
Maintained by: Dawn Mills
Created by: Tim

This file is for any newbie who wants the straight answers
from a fellow newbie.


  1. What is the basic concept behind paintball? 
  2. How could I potentially get hurt? 
  4. Are there teams? Can I be with my friend/wife/husband? 
  5. Okay, everything sounds fantastic. How do I get started? 
  6. What kind of paintball place should I go to? 
  7. I heard paintball is expensive as hell. 
  8. What do I need to bring/what do I wear? 
  9. How can I make sure that waiver I signed doesn't come into play (how do I stay safe)? 
  10. Please, please tell me that paint comes out. 
  11. Okay, so what are your credentials? 

  12. How about a nice summary of what you think of paintball?

      What is the basic concept behind paintball?
      Paintball is a sport that basically produces pure adrenaline on the player's part. Two teams (sometimes a free-for-all) go out onto a field with paint markers (paint guns) and try to shoot one another. When you are hit by a paintball, it will (usually) break, leaving a big splotch. This indicates you are "out", or "dead". Of course, this description is about as basic as you can get. What I didn't mention was the sneaking around, peeking out from behind bunkers, crawling through mud puddles, or, the experience I have had, actually taking a paintball in the rear end. There are variations on the game, such as Sup'Air ball, which remain somewhat similar in concept. Overall, paintball is addictive, fun, and lets you live out your action movie fantasies.

      How could I potentially get hurt?
      Well, paintball is a very physical sport, and involves running around, crawling, kneeling, and rolling. If you can't do any of those, you might reconsider going 'balling. Other risks include being stupid and not wearing your mask, thus exposing your eye to be shot out. Plus, men can get shot in the crotch, and women can get shot in the chest. I assure you this is no fun, so cups and chest protectors, respectively, are in order. 

      Okay, well, this is the question all newbies want to know before they go out. Well, let me put this in perspective for you. I, the author of this FAQ, am 15 years old as of 2000 (year in which this is written), I weigh about 120 lbs, and I am in good physical condition. To me, the feeling of getting shot would not discourage me from going. The truth is, yes, it stings. It feels like a towel being snapped on you, or perhaps someone throwing a marble at you. The good news is, the pain varies depending on the distance from which you are shot. If you are shot in the hand at 10 feet, and the ball doesn't break, then it's going to sting extremely bad and you may need to ease off that hand for a few minutes. If you're shot from 40 feet in the arm, then it's more of a dull pain that you won't pay attention to. The FPS (feet per second) at which your assailant's gun is set to has something to do with it as well. I accidentally made an enemy the first time I went, and he threatened to set his tricked out gun up to around 500 FPS (normal is about 250) and pop me constantly with it. So, in summary, yes, it hurts, but only like a nagging reprimand that says "next time, don't get shot". 

      Are there teams? Can I be with my friend/wife/husband?
      Usually, you'll be playing either "War" or "Capture the Flag", which are both team games. The object of Capture the Flag, is to infiltrate your opponent team's base, grab their flag, and bring it back to your flag, at your base. War has two teams simply trying to annihilate each other, and the team that manages to wipe out every player on the other side wins. I prefer this game, cause it's more of an adrenaline rush and crazy blitzing. Anyway, each team will wear a bright strip of either duct tape or that plastic tape stuff (like the "Police Line: Do Not Cross" yellow thingies) which designate their team. I've heard people gripe that you can't tell what the teams are, and that your best bet is to shoot at anything that moves, because there's no way you can see the teams. Well, I've found that not to be the case at all. Not only do you   remember who's on your team by their clothing, attitude, name, etc, but the strips stick out like a sore thumb. If you go to a field, they will let you "walk-on" with a friend and usually let you on the same team (if they don't, don't panic, the paintball community is generally quite helpful and friendly to squids like us). 

      Okay, everything sounds fantastic. How do I get started?
      Well, first of all, don't think you have to have your own equipment. If you've got the money, you've got it made. 90% of the time, fields will rent guns/masks and sell CO2/paintballs. Simply look in the phone book, or search for paintball fields, websites online, call them up, and ask all your questions. Have fun! 

      What kind of paintball place should I go to?
      Since you're probably a squid (newbie) if you're reading this, you're going to want to go to the place with the picnic tables, friendly staff, gun rental, and working bathrooms, and not the greasy, dirty, one-shack field with players that have "Paintball or Die" tattooed on their arm. Try to find a place that likes to accomodate newbies and has friendly regulars. 

      I heard paintball is expensive as hell.
      You were right. Well, not quite. Paintball is very expensive, unfortunately, and is what keeps me from going every weekend. Although admission is only about $20 (in the USA, on most fields), CO2 (the gas that propells the balls out of the gun) and the paintballs themselves, along with rentals of guns, masks, etc, will bring one person's truthful paintball total up to about $50-60 each trip. Yes, I know you're wincing. The good news is, if you get hooked and buy your own equipment, and your paintballs at a store for cheap, then you can get away with just admission. Admission can be as low as $15 at some places, and some places actually offer a discount to people who are self equipped, which (at the place I've been to) brings the total down to $10. So you see paintball rewards the committers. It's like leasing a house. You don't lease a house if you're planning on living there for 60 years: you'd have paid more than the house is worth by then. What's funny is that the good majority of the price is the paintballs themselves. It's the one thing even the most advanced players simply can't save on. They have their own guns, masks, pads, etc, but you just gotta keep rebuying paintballs!  Now the $50-60 dollar figure I gave you is assuming you buy about 500 paintballs. Don't let a paintball field lure you into buying, say, 150 paintballs. I shoot that in about 2-3 games (you'll play, oh, I don't know...anywhere from 5-15 games in a trip. It really depends. Remember: one hit and you're out of that game).

      What do I need to bring/what do I wear?
      This is something where you have to call the field for some of the information. You need to know if they have food, etc. What I can tell you is what is universally brought to every paintball field. First off, bring the money for admission and the number of paintballs you've decided on (I recommend about 500). Bring, say, another $20 in pocket change in case of the emergency of running out of paint. Bring food if they don't have it, and also bring some band-aids (just in case :-P).  Now as for clothing. This is an important one: I should know. I was on the phone with my friend Jeff for half an hour before my first time, just deciding what to wear. First off: wear hiking boots or shoes with ANKLE SUPPORT. I mean this. You will seriously twist something if you go in your ratty pair of Vans. Wear some sort of hat.  Don't wear sunglasses: you'll have the mask on. Here's what I recommend for men (sorry ladies, you'll have to build from here). Wear an undershirt, then a longsleeve shirt, and then a windbreaker/light jacket, preferably cotton (it softens the impact). This is layered enough to give you some protection from paintball pain, but light enough to allow movement. As for pants, this is a good question. I wore thermal underwear with jeans on top. I wasn't especially happy with this arrangement, and I would have worn cargo pants or camoflauge pants if I knew just what it would be like. The jeans were okay, but didn't let me run as well as I could have. Remember, shoes with ankle support. Also, finally, gloves are pretty much required. Besides the groinal area for us men, the hand is the universal worst place to get shot (unless you get shot in the face with your mask off). Hand shots sting like the devil, so wear thin gloves (not mittens or those heavy ski gloves, dummy :-).

      How can I make sure that waiver I signed doesn't come into play (how do I stay safe)? 

      Don't shoot Bambi or Thumper. Yes, I know woodland creatures make tantalizing targets, but be nice to them, please. 

      Shooting at the cars in the parking lot or at the staging area isn't even funny.

      Inspect your mask. Wipe the insides, make sure there are no cracks in the goggle part, and make sure it fits snugly on your head. Also make sure you can't pop out the goggle part if you try. 

      Make absolutely CERTAIN that your gun is set below 300 FPS (250 is a good setting in my opinion). 

      Keep the barrel plug in the gun at all times, treat it like a real gun, don't point it at people when they don't have their masks on, don't leave painballs in the hopper (ammo holder), and don't screw around, please. If you're not a responsible person, do us all a favor and stay home so I don't get shot in the eye.

      Make sure you know what is going on in the game, don't shoot people at closer than 5-7 feet (even that will hurt like hell), know what the field's rules are, and keep a light and helpful attitude! 

      This one is super important, and is probably the sorest spot as far as safety goes for any paintball staff member. NEVER, and I mean, NEVER take your face mask off when playing on the field. I can't stress this enough. 

      When you're done, you're done. I know paintball is fun, but when you're so tired you're about to fall asleep from exertion, quit for the day and come back next week.

      I borrowed this from another WARPIG FAQ, since they put it so very well: "NEVER look down the barrel. Not even with protection. If barrel needs checking remove from the gun and check. If the barrel cannot be removed, disconnect all CO2/CA equipment, test fire the gun downrange until no more gas is left in the gun, clear the breech or ball loading area, and then, carefully and while wearing goggles, glance down the barrel." 

      Please, please tell me that paint comes out.
      No worries, paint washes out easily. Here's a true story: when I went, at the end of the day, we had about 30 unused paintballs and I wanted some "battlescars" for my hat, so I took it off, went into the paintball field (inactive), with permission from the owners, and shot up my hat. "Cool", I thought, and I piled into the van to go home.  Well, when I got home, I took off my hat proudly to look at it, and the paint was BARELY visible. It came off with one washing, without scrubbing. Turns out the paint is water soluble. 

      Okay, so what are your credentials?
      I've been paintballing exactly once, from about 8:30AM to 5:30PM, with a 45 minute break for lunch. That's a little more than 8 hours of actual play time. At the time of this writing, I will be having my b-day party at Jungle Island, in Lake Elsinore, CA, in only 20 or so days. Therefore I decided to write this FAQ as a way of "waking back up" to the world of paintball. 

      How about a nice summary of what you think of paintball?
      To me, paintball is, for lack of a better word, thrilling. I thought I had experienced adrenaline before, when playing an important basketball game for my team or something. No. No, not at all. Paintball gives you such a rush it's almost a drug. Something about the PFF PFF of shots firing and the THWACK THWACK of paint splattering on the ground behind and to the sides of you as you run frantically towards cover. Maybe it's the same primal instinct that makes boxing still popular that makes us be so pumped. Who knows. All I can say is, take a good friend or two, stash about $60, walk on to a nice field, and get ready for the most fun you're bound to have for a very long time. Thanks for reading this. Happy paintballing! 

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All articles and images are copyrighted and may not be redistributed without the written permission of their original creators and Corinthian Media Services. The WARPIG paintball page is a collection of information, and pointers to sources from around the internet and other locations. As such, Corinthian Media Services makes no claims to the trustworthiness, or reliability of said information. The information contained in, and referenced by WARPIG, should not be used as a substitute for safety information from trained professionals in the paintball industry.
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