Paintball Rules ExplainedPaintball Rules Emblem

We have put together the standard and most common set of rules of paintball. Whilst the general safety rules are universal at all paintballing venues, and strictly enforced, it is normal that specific game rules tend to vary between different venues. Such venue specific paintball rules should be made available to all the players before game commencement to study and understand at that time.

The general rules are there for making paintballing both fun and safe, it is very important that you learn and understand the rules of the game as they will safeguard your enjoyment and your safety on the field, you may also want to take a quick look at our paintball safety advice article.


The Paintball Rules:

1) Always Keep your FACEMASK or GOGGLES ON!

The primary rule is to always remember to keep your goggles and/or facemask on at all times, with the only exception being when you are in the NEUTRAL zone. If you do not abide by this principal rule then you could get hit in the eye by a paintball and this could result in you easily losing your sight in one or both eyes!

2) Marker firing velocity set below 280 (FPS) feet per second

Paintball guns, referred to as markers, shoot capsules out of the barrel at an extremely fast speed and they are able to sting and bruise your skin. It is important that if you bring your own marker to a venue that the marshal checks that the velocity is set to under 280 (fps) as above this can result in the hit from the gun actually causing nasty welts on the skin. If you are renting the equipment from the venue then the markers will be checked periodically by themselves to ensure they meet the said velocity settings.

3) The NEUTRAL zone or DEAD zone is your safe area

The neutral zone, sometimes referred to as the dead zone, is your area of safety, no guns are allowed in this area they are kept outside on a rack. You will be shown the neutral zone by a marshal and you should orientate yourself at all times with this location as you will need to quickly move to this safe zone if either you are hit, surrender, or called out by a marshal.

In addition, the neutral zone is somewhere where you will all gather at the start or end of each game, to take a short break, and prepare yourself for the next game.

4) Walking quickly off the playing field

It is important for your safety that you do not dither around on the playing field once eliminated as you are more likely to get shot again. Also, remember to hold your marker (gun) above your head and make a quick and direct route to the neutral zone.

5) Do not shoot a player at ‘point blank’ range

It is not acceptable to shoot a lone player at point blank range, it is customary to allow a player to surrender rather than to shoot them at close range – see player surrender.

6) Marshal shouts that a player ‘in neutral’

Whilst, a game is in progress a marshal standing next to a player may shout ‘player is neutral’ and this means that the said player is temporarily out of the game. It is possible the marshal is checking for a valid hit or gun problem and therefore the player is not to be fired upon. However, the player may well be shortly back in the game so it is advisable not to think her or she is automatically out.

7) Dead or eliminated players should not talk

In most games, you should remember that if you have been eliminated from the game you should not communicate with any players. There are a few game exceptions where you can talk to your own players but this is an exception rather than the rule.

8) The Elimination of Players

A player is eliminated from the game when then are hit by any other player through the firing of a paintball which hits them directly and impacts anywhere on their body. The paintball must impact and break on the player’s body to leave a clear and visible paint mark and only then are they eliminated for the duration of that game, valid paint mark size can vary between venues but a successful hit usually leaves a circle mark about diameter size of 2” (inches) on the player’s body.

In addition if a paintball hits and breaks on an object, such as tree, and then strikes a player the resulting splatter is not normally counted as an elimination and the player is rightfully able to continue.

Generally, at most paintball venues, you can eliminate a player by hitting them on any part of their body which is covered by clothing including the torso, arms, legs, head and feet and also anything they may be carrying including the marker (gun), pod, flag, or a backpack etc. However, some paintballing venues have their own specific rules about what will be considered a valid hit and may limit you to body and leg hits or even require multiple hits to players to get them out of the game.

Top Tip: Many seasoned players like to wear very baggy clothing which allows for marker hits to often bounce of the clothing and therefore not counting for elimination of that player.

9) Valid Player Elimination

There may be occasions that you are uncertain about a marker hit, it could be that you have been hit by splatter from a close object and it is not clear to you if indeed the paint mark was a direct hit or not. You may believe that you were hit by a player that was eliminated and they have broken the rules by firing at you. If in doubt then the best policy is to always ask either a close by team mate, or the referee whom can validate the hit for you.

The referees are always happy to perform what is called a ‘paint check’ for you, it is commonly understood that if you shout ‘paint check’, when located nearby a referee they will clarify a valid hit for you. In addition, some game rules will allow you to be considered a ‘neutral’ player whilst this check is being done which means that you are temporarily inactive and not able to be fired or advanced upon by any opposing players.

If you are certain that you have been hit and are therefore eliminated from the game it is accepted that you should shout the words “I’m Out” or “I’m Hit”. Declaring that you are out of the game may extend to having inadvertently walked out of the bounds of play, or being hit by a paint grenade or paint mine which are used in some game scenarios. As previously mentioned it is important that you are certain that you have had a direct paint marker hit before declaring yourself out especially if a resultant mark has only been caused by splatter.

You are rightfully able to call a “paint check”, on any other player as if you believe you have successfully and directly hit them and they maybe are either not aware of the hit or they are attempting to cover up, or remove, the hit. It is illegal and against the rules for a player to continue in the game if they have taken a valid hit and are attempting to remove the paint mark, termed ‘wiping’. If a player is caught cheating and ‘wiping’ a paint mark then the venue will consider a severe penalty against that player which may include a permanent ban from future games. There are even specific tournament play penalties including the ‘3 for 1’ where if any player is found ‘wiping’ a paint mark during play then 3 team mate players will be eliminated from the field for the game duration.

10) Player Surrender

During paintball play there are specific times when a player may have to make a voluntary or forced surrender on the field. It is accepted that on most fields of play that if any player is at close range, typically 10 feet away or closer, from an unaware opposing player that a player may shout the word “Surrender” or “Freeze” before they shoot as this will give the opportunity for the player to surrender and avoid a close range marker hit. The player that has been caught unaware may then shout “I’m Out” or they can raise their hand or marker gun to show that they have accepted the surrender action. However, if the player decides not to surrender then the opposing player is within his or her rights to open fire and initiate hostile action with the distinct possibility that they may get hit with a close range shot that is likely to be fairly painful.

Top Tip: You should always offer an unaware opponent the option to surrender before firing upon them as this is thought to be fair and sporting. Additionally, consider firing at the feet of a player if they do not accept your offer for them to surrender.

Players that are new to the paintball field tend to get over excited and their adrenaline makes them volatile with inadvertent firing of the marker gun. With this in mind you should make a judgement call when playing alongside inexperienced players and use the “Surrender” call only when you have them pinned at close quarters, and they are unaware, as they could well unexpectedly shoot you.

In tournament paintball games you usually find the ‘Surrender’ call is not enforced and players will firstly fire upon opponents and push for the elimination over and above any offer of a surrender to players. A player is also legally able to use what is called the ‘run through’ where he will run forward and shoot any or all opponent players in his path and this strategy can be deadly if carried out correctly.

The ‘Surrender’ rule is still open for interpretation between players and at different venues. The most important reason for the ‘Surrender’ rule being in place is to make sure that novice players are not intimidated by game play or by more advanced players firing at close range which can on occasions be very painful. Also, there are occasions where a less experienced player may take cover behind an on field object or a bunker only to be fired upon at close range by another player and in certain interpretations of this rule the opposing player could be eliminated for not offering a ‘surrender’ before opening fire on the other player.

Top Tip: Always check with the paintball field referee to clarify the ‘Surrender’ ruling for their venue.

11) Start or end a game on the whistle

A paintball game is both started and ended with a whistle blow, once you hear the blow of the whistle the game has either become live or has ended. If you happen to be taking cover behind a tree and you hear the end whistle then you should make your way back to the neutral zone.

The marshals have the final say!

It is important that you listen and obey the game marshals they will help you during game play and they will answer any questions you have on gameplay and resolve any issues that arise on the paintball field. Like other sports the marshal (referee) has the final decision on any matters or disputes, you will do well to remember not to disagree or argue with the decision of any marshal.

TAGGED WITH:   Paintball Rules, Rules Of Paintball, Paintball Rules And Regulations, Paintball Game Rules


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