.:How do you Play Paintball?:.

The most basic game of Paintball is known as 'Capture the flag' and is played within a forest or wooded area.

In this game there are 2 teams of Paintballers of equal size (say ten a side). Each member of the team is equipped with camouflage, a face mask (especially designed for the safety aspects Paintball), a Paintball gun (also known as a Paintball marker) and a team coloured arm-band which is most commonly worn around the left arm.

Each team starts of in a base camp (this is usually a small designated area within the wood say 3 meters squared in size). It is clearly shown usually by a red and white coloured tape tied around the parameter of the base camp at a level just above head height. In the center of this camp hangs the teams flag (this is the same colour as the teams arm-bands).

Before the start of the game there should be at least one marshal in each base camp and a number on the field (the number of marshals depends on the number of players and the size of the field). Marshals are essentially the games referees but are also there to help you with any problems that you may have such as problems with your marker, checking you for Paintball breakages (more on Paintball breakages will be explained later) etc.

When the game is ready to begin, all of your team must be inside your base camp. Then the marshals will start a count down (usually over a walkie talkie system) - it should be something like "5...4...3...2...1...GAME ON". When the 'Game on' signal is given the game has started :-)

In this game, the primary objective is to reach the opposing team's base camp, grab their flag and then bring it back to your own base camp before the opposing team can do the same to you. Once you have done this your team has won the game.

The only thing stopping you from walking over and grabbing the opponents flag is the opposition's team members who are all armed with Paint markers. Any member of the opposition can take you out of the game by shooting his/her marker which is loaded with Paintballs at you which (if they are accurate enough) will cause a Paintball to split on impact leaving its contents on you - i.e. a splat of paint about the size of a 50 pence piece. If this happens then you are out of the game (more on eliminations later) and you have to take off your arm-band, hold it up in the air and walk as quickly as you can out of the field of play and back to the neutral zone (more on the neutral zone later).

This is why it is often a good idea to take as many of the opposition out of the game as possible (by shooting them with your marker). Please note that even if you eliminate ALL of the opposition this does not mean that you have won the game - you still have to complete the primary mission which is to capture the opposition's flag and return it to your base camp.

The primary mission has to be completed within the time allowed (this is usually 20 minutes).

At the end of the game (whether the game has been completed or the time has run out) the marshals will shout out "GAME OVER" to let any players that are still on the field know that the game is over. When the game is over all of the players are required to proceed back to the neutral zone.

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