Assessing the Field
Most paintball fields are asymmetric, there is an advantage in playing
one end against the other, and one side is also easier to attack/defend
than the other. Consequently inspecting the field as carefully as possible
before the game starts will always pay off, and you should continue
to appraise the field as you are playing. When the two teams swap ends
for the next game, think carefully about what happened in the previous
game. Which flank did the enemy make the most progress on? Which were
the critical pieces of cover which dictated the course of the game in
Picking a flank
mentioned in Team Tactics, you should
always concentrate your attack on one flank, so a fundamental aspect
of the pre-game field analysis is to decide which flank this should
be. If your team is deciding tactics before the game then you can then
weight your deployment to put more people on this side. If the team
isn't this organised then you will simply be choosing your own position.
The most important feature of a 'good' flank is a lack of really strong
defensive positions for your opponent. A large barricade (enough for
two or more people), right against the tape is a disaster for an attacker,
because it will be almost impossible to shift them unless they are really
incompetent. This is worse still if supported by another large piece
of cover 5-10 metres towards the middle of the field. On the other hand
if you have a piece like this on one of your flanks then you can reliably
defend this side with relatively few people while you throw the weight
of your team up the other side. If the other team is evenly distributed
then you will have the advantage of numbers on this flank and should
be able to roll them back.
Another feature of a good flank to attack on is plenty of cover. This
may seem to contradict the previous criterium, but you will need cover
too. As an attacker you will be moving more, and if this involves a
long run between sparse cover then it won't take long to be shot out.
In addition if there is not much cover, the few barricades etc. that
there are will already have defenders behind them.
Finally to me an area with plenty of large trees for cover, but clear
of scrub and bushes, is the ideal ground on which to engage because
lots of undergrowth makes it difficult to see what is happening. Your
principal advantage over your opponent is the use of tactics and close
teamwork, so the plainer the situation, the easier it is to take advantage
of it. Lack of visibility means that more is left to chance, which avours
both sides equally and dilutes your tactical advantage.
First Port of Call
Once you have decided which flank you are going to move down, make sure that you have
decided exactly where you are going to run to at the very start of the game. This
should be to a decent sized piece of cover, especially on a small field. It may well be
advantageous to run quite a long way up the field to occupy a particularly decent spot
before your opponent does, but this isn't the point in the game when you want to be doing
anything too risky. From this safe spot, you can then watch the game take shape, and
decide at leisure what your next move will be.
When you're behind a piece of cover think about the level of protection
it offers. Some bits of cover such as walls, barricades or trees form
a solid barrier easily large enough to hide behind. This 'full' cover
is the best, but there won't be much of it. Permeable cover has the
problem that if the enemy are prepared to expend enough paint, eventually
they will get you. You should also be aware of who is firing at you
and adjust your position to reduce exposure from those directions. Partial
cover is just as dangerous as permeable cover. It can form a useful
temporary stopping point but don't stay there for long - retreat to
better cover if necessary.
Personally I'm not keen on dense shrubbery because what happens in
it is very much a lottery, and I like to gamble as little as possible.
(I also use a pump, which is at a disadvantage compared to a semi in
close quarters). Most of the action is very confused and takes place
at very short range. When in this terrain, sound becomes very important,
because winning is dependent on surprising your opponent. Move in a
squatting position, with your gun held ready to fire against your shoulder.
This way you can transfer weight extremely slowly from one foot to the
other as you move forwards. Check when you put each foot down that there
are no leaves to rustle or twigs to snap, and pause regularly to listen
for signs of the enemy.
A good sized tree is excellent cover because it is always easier to
shoot round the side of something than over the top. Because of the
tree's cylindrical shape, however, you need to watch your angles.
A lot of paintball sites use wooden pallets, which seem good cover,
but the slots are surprisingly large. If someone is persistent they
will probably get you in well under a minute. Lie down to reduce the
number of slots you are visible through, and try not to stay too long.
These are a major obstacle even if they are quite small because the
banks tend to be slippery and sloping. Crossing one while being shot
at is definitely something to be avoided. If the stream runs diagonally
down the field, then cross it at the friendly end and work along it.
Getting on the far side of streams is also something to prioritise during
the initial rush to positions.
Bracken is good cover as long as there is a reasonable depth of it
between you and your opponent. However, be careful because if they are
prepared to expend enough paint, occasional shots will penetrate surprisingly
deeply. Bracken is also one of the few types of cover where it is possible
to move undetected.