I've played paintball exactly three times now, at two different locations. Both of these were 'superfund' sites, like something out of DOOM. So, I guess you could say it was outlaw paintball. We mostly played search & destroy, with 2 or 3 'op4's setting up an ambush with a 4 or 5 man group flushing them out. All of my experience so far is with urban environments, with slim to nil experience in a traditional wooded setup. Anyway, I thought I'd put down some of the things I've learned over the past two weeks. Hopefully some of you veterans will correct any errors I make, and the rest of the red meat out there will learn from my mistakes...

I've been hit three times in the face, and aside from spitting out paint, I can safely say that I would prefer getting hit in the mask over anywhere else - hands down. It doesn't hurt at all. I would say that one of my crew had a ball fragment penetrate the mouth-guard and split his lip, but other than that, I'd say getting shot in the face is the best way to die.

Given that we were playing in a two story building complex, with catwalks and balconies everywhere, the danger of catching a round in the balls (from below) was a bit higher than it would be in the woods. Either way, I've seen someone get shot in the gonads without a cup, and it's not pretty. If you don't have a cup, consider it.

Dehydration isn't usually a problem during speedball (15-30 minute fights), but when you're in a longer game, it can be terrible. Just today, I was suffering from massive cotton-mouth and blurry vision. I was half-tempted to take myself out and return to the safe area for some H20, that's how bad it was. I've seen a few guys with camelbacks on, and I'm considering using one myself. Let's put it this way, I lost 7 pounds of water over the last two days from playing. That can't be too healthy...

You've just killed an opponent, and they've surrendered. They step out and leave the area. Don't assume they were alone and the room/area is clear. Always assume there is someone else hiding nearby until you clear the area yourself. I witnessed this mistake twice. The first time, my partner had just taken out a guy and advanced on his position in the open, only to catch a round in the gut from a second opponent hidden two feet from where the first had been. The second time, my partner and I cleared a room, taking out a lone shooter. We were tired as hell, and decided to sit down and take 5/regroup. Big mistake... Two other shooters heard us take out the first guy from the next room over, came at us fro behind and popped us both in the back - we let our guard down.

Some guys get so intent on the game that they forget they are a member of a team. Always check to see if your team members are trying to communicate with you. Your partner could be trying to warn you about someone on your flank, who you don't notice, but if you've got tunnel vision on, you'll never notice him trying to get your attention.

The opposite of the tunnel vision guy is the guy who's to scared to get out of his cover to do any good. We had three guys in an ambush team today and one of them saw an opponent come through a door right under his nose. Instead of taking him out, for fear that the second shooter would get him, he left his position. Not only didn't he take out the guy who was outflanking us, but he didn't warn us either. Myself and the third guy on ambush got plugged in the back while the first one hid in a corner. Talk about a way to piss people off.....

Speaking of pissing people off... Wiping has been talked about everywhere, but I can tell you that the best way to get people to hate you is to wipe of a hit. In our first match on Saturday a guy wiped two hits off his jacket and re-engaged. When the game was over (10 minutes later), the guys on the other team were VERY pissed off. If you can't stand to sit out for 10 minutes b/c you got hit, then you should find another sport. I tell you the truth, if the guys you play with are anything like the ones I do, you'll find that wiping paint off will do nothing more than paint a target on you. Yep... our wiper 'friend' ended up ostracized and targeted by everyone else for the rest of the day. I doubt we'll invite him to the next game.

Clausewitz writes in 'On War' that one of the aims of war is to remove your enemy's ability to harm you. Just today, I had an opponent come through a door not one foot from my position. The way I figured it, the only options I had was to (1) wait for him to come in and take him out or (2) disarm him and call him out. I'm not sure how the rules are where everyone else plays, but shooting someone at point blank range is not a good thing. So, if I took the former option, I'd have either plugged a guy at point blank or risked him spotting me and getting shot myself. I took the latter route... simply grabbed his barrel, swung into the doorway, placed by barrel in his stomach and called him out.

Welp, that's about it. For now. When/if I learn any more jewels of Newbie wisdom, I'll make sure to let you know.

- e

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