greg (grysar) wrote,

The eternal battle of paint versus clothes

Went paint balling for the first time today, and on the whole had a terrific time. Walked away with a scraped knee, four whelts on my chest (most notably one on my collarbone), and the memory of one hit that would be a good advert for why males would be well advised to wear a cup when playing such games. Actually all that's bothering me right now is a cough. The remnants of a fairly intense cold that is order of magnitude more annoying than any of my minor paint ball wounds.

On the whole, I found it an order of magnitude more fun than laser tag let alone regular capture the flag I've only played paint ball at one good place, but I've played laser tag at a whole mix of places, so I think I have some basis for comparison.

Paintball advanteges:

  • Not only can you run and dive when playing paint ball, it's also a damn good idea.
  • Yet as Mike noted, despite the fact that there are more periods of intense movement, it's less tiring than laser tag; I'm not sure why that is, but I do feel like I good have gone a few more hours.
  • You can be out in the wild. There are terrain obstacles to deal with, natural and artificial bunkers, and at times damn low visibility.
  • You can hear, see, and feel, misses and feel them whiz by. Particularly when people are hiding well or you are in dense foliage hear can be just as important, if not more so, than sound. As a result you can be pinned down and terrified, even when it's extremely unlikely you'll be hit. Conversely, you can provide covering tactics.
  • Squad tactics make sense, and work rather naturally. Good field of play designs doubtless was also key for this, but working together was easier and made far more sense than it ever has playing laser tag.
  • Good refs can add a lot to the game. If we had a gun jam there was someone right there to fix it. Similarly, when special rules were in play, we could just call someone over to arbitrate quickly. The refs at laser tag have been consistently blah for me, often doing little more than reminding me not to run.
  • The whole experience was more exhilarating. I've never experienced anything close to real combat and if I'm lucky never will, but paint ball felt far more real, far more visceral, than even my best laser tag experience.
  • It wasn't an order of magnitude more expensive. Paid $25 a person for eight games including rental equipment. I rented a long sleeve shirt for an extra $4 and paid $15 for extra paint balls, although judging by the number I had left over, I could have saved at least $5 of that and even at $10 I wouldn't have had to particularly worry about ammo conservation. Group rates were key for all of this, but I have a lot of friends, so that's not a big deal. This is still 2-3 times the cost of a similar number of laser tag rounds , but in my opinion a far better value.


  • I played the game with a bunch of friends who aren't inclined to cheat or be overly malicious. There are a great number of ways this could have been substantially less fun if the other players weren't good sports.
  • The protective goggles tended to fog up. Particularly before most of us used the anti-fog stuff, we often had terrible visibility thanks to a combination of rain, fogging within the mask, and the inability to really fix the masks while anywhere close to a paint ball field.
  • No score cards. Perhaps the best part of laser tag is that it's easy to keep track of who hit who and how many times. That's probably one of the coolest parts about laser tag, and I really missed it.

    So, that's enough for the moment, think I'll do a game summary sometime later.
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