Speedball vs Woodsball – Can I Play Both?

When you start out playing paintball it’s not too long before you find yourself getting drawn into the excitement and fun of this sport, be it woodsball or speedball. One thing is for sure, that is, you are going to find yourself getting rather passionate about this addictive pastime.

You should give both speedball and woodsball a try out but don’t blame us if you get hooked on both of these games resulting in you spending all your free time down at  your local paintball venue!


Speedball vs Woodsball

Speedball vs WoodsballIn this blog post we discuss the differences between the paintball game variations including that of Woodsball, Speedball; Hyperball & Airball – also to give you just a little history. Maybe you have played this game before, or maybe you are a first timer just doing a little research into the sport before you take to the field, however in both instances you want to be aware of the game variations and the rules – always take care whilst playing and observe paintball safety guidelines closely.

You can find a really good explainer video just below this article about the speedball vs woodsball, hyperball and airplay games.


Paintball first originated around the start of the 1980’s when a few friends, who just happened to be farmers, decided to have some fun shooting at each other with air guns and modified ammo. The pellets that they created to fire from these gun was based loosely around what we see today with plastic capsules but they used paint that had its intended use for cattle marking.

Over the last few decades paintball has evolved and advanced in many aspects, including the fields we play on, the paintball equipment that is used, and the recognition of this game as a sport which is now played at tournament levels.

Moreover, today you will find players talking about playing paintball in the terms of Woodsball & Speedball, the differences lye in the field upon which they are played and the pace of the relative game action.

This brings us nicely onto modern times with paintball and its development into game variations, discussed in more detail below.


The original game of paintball was played outside in large open areas, often in woods or country surroundings and therefore adopted the name of woodsball (Tactical Paintball). Played by a number of single or team players opposing each other with a couple of primary aims to take out an opponent’s base or shoot and hit all the enemy players.

In woodsball you will find either completely natural surroundings, comprising trees and bush to take cover behind or around. Additionally, in most commercial paintball venues you will also find manmade objects placed in the wooded area including bunkers, old cars and rubber tyres, and raised platforms etc.

The two main types of woodsball game play include a team of players who work together and try to “Capture the Flag” of their opponents. Also you can play “Elimation”, which is as the word suggests, where a group of players formed into a team, find and shoot at the enemy with the aim to eliminate all of the enemy team players from the game to win.

Typically, you find woodsball players wanting to create realism in their game play (MilSim – Military Simulation). That is to recreate a realistic warfare scenario that would possibly be carried out by combat soldiers in the real world. The military simulation players like to have realistic paintball guns, camo combat clothing, and they utilise replica ammo such as paintball landmines and grenades! (See this video on how to make a paintball grenade) with the common thread here being realism.

Around 1996 as paintball, and namely woodsball, increasingly became a faster paced game with athletic players taking it more seriously, obvious problems, and dangers arose from the surroundings the game was played in. Players who run between taking cover behind trees can easily trip and fall on things likes vines and tree roots and obtain obvious injuries. This is the point where a few players got together, they scratched their heads, and speedball was born.

Speedball (Inc. Hyperball & Airball):

The main objective for speedball was to advance the game for more athletic players of the sport and offer them a safer playing environment by way of a flatter playing surface and objects that are strategically placed within the playing field for taking cover.

The game of speedball is a fast paced version of woodsball and was developed from the derivative game of speedball soccer, and it has to be said, of course paintball speedball is so much more fun.

Speedball can be broken down into 2 further game variations, that of Hyperball & Airball.

Hyperball is the first incarnation of speedball and includes a playing field that is generally fairly flat and level although not normally laid to grass and AstroTurf on which the modern game of airball is played.

A number of tournaments starting adopting hyperball in the late 1990’s as the preferred form of competitive paintball play and from this the sport started to grow and take hold across the world.

A hyperball field generally contains static objects of differing different heights usually made from large solid and half cut pipes and conduit that has been fixed to poles firmly secured and placed into the ground. You may have also come across the term ‘the snake’, this is a name for these large pipes placed flat on the ground for players to crawl through.

The major problem with hyperball is the field objects are generally fixed in position and they cannot be readily moved, that is without a deal of effort. The hyperball field would remain the same layout and players generally would start to become a little bored, if they come to play, week in and week out.

Reference: Badlands paintball in Chicago Illinois were reportedly the first commercial venue to have a hyperball field.

Airball – Speedball as we know it today:

The game of modern day Airball (speedball) derived from all the best parts of the original speedball game and those of hyperball with the manmade objects and the flatter playing surface.

Airball players now enjoy a level field which is often laid to grass or AstroTurf which ensures they have much less chance of injury. The outer perimeter of the modern speedball field is erected with paintball netting and the playing area is therefore contained and easily controlled by marshals or officials during tournament action.

The field comprises of different sized inflatable bunkers and objects which can be easily moved around the field or even removed and replaced with others at any time. The versatility of the modern speedball field makes for a much more exciting and fun playing environment.

Go, Play Speedball & Woodsball!

This is the complete evolution of what we know today as paintball, from its humble beginnings on a farm to a worldwide competitive sport that we enjoy today.

We hope you enjoyed reading this explanation and summary of “Speedball vs Woodsball” and suggest that you watch the video below for further information. Please also visit our paintball shop where you can see a range of markers, clothing, and complete paintball sets for sale.

In a previous blog post we gave you our recommendation for choosing the best woodsball gun package – this is an informative article, which is also a good read, especially if you are planning to buy a woodsball marker or gun kit.

Check out our important Paintball Rules article or hop to the Speedball & Woodsball summary on our blog category page.

TAGGED WITH:   Speedball Vs Woodsball, Speedball Tips, Woodsball Tips, Hyperball Paintball, Airball Paintball


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