For some players, it’s all about the gear. Showing up with the latest, greatest, fastest and coolest looking paintball guns and accessories is a big part of the thrill. In scenario woodsball, realistic replica paintball rifles, camouflage fatigues and tactical vests definitely add an element to the game that’s attractive to many. Active and ex-military, law enforcement and every male human who enjoyed playing ‘army’ as a kid is attracted to this type of paintball. Dressing up as a soldier and using totally authentic gear makes it possible to become totally immersed in the scenario, greatly adding to the fun and intensity of the game. While all the cool equipment is great for peaking interest, it’s the complexities of woodsball that keeps players wanting more. If you want to win, you will quickly find there is much more to it than just the accessories; woodsball is a game of strategy and skill.
Just like in competition speedball, your team will get beat every time if the opposing team has a better strategy. Even if the skill level of your players are better, you will still have a much harder time accomplishing your goals if you can’t pull it all together with a winning strategy. If you play on the same field all the time, it’s easier to develop specific game plans that you can practice and get good at. Strategies include player movements, different plans of attack and methods to get the opposing team to react and get/keep them on the defensive. When playing on a familiar field, you can incorporate aspects of the course into your strategy; for example, forcing the opposing team into an ambush or bottleneck trap. When playing on a new field and you are unfamiliar with the lay of the course, it’s very smart to arrive early and walk it out before playing so you can develop strategies on the fly and prepare yourself. If you don’t have a chance to do this, the bare minimum baseline strategy you should have anyway is for your team to be arranged so players have specific roles to play. Once this is established, you can react to each other and make strategies on the fly if necessary.
Playing on a field you have practiced on and consider your ‘home turf’ will give you obvious advantages. Regardless of this, you should have known strategies your team has developed that can be used wherever you go. An example of this would be a maneuver called ‘flanking’. Flanking occurs when your team goes on both outer sides of the course and curls in so that there is nowhere for your opponent to go. This strategy is most effective when your team has more players than the other team. If your opponent has the same idea, flanking will not work but the idea is to be well versed in certain movements like this so you can try it on any course you play on. Another movement type strategy is ‘rushing’. Rushing your opponents is effective in Capture the Flag type games. There are many ways to rush your opponent and the exact manner may depend on the layout of the field. The general idea is for the majority of your team to spread out and rush toward the target (flag, bunker, fort, etc.), overwhelming it with fire from all directions. Meanwhile one or several of your team goes after the main objective while the opposing team is dealing with the rush of your players.
In most paintball games, moving forward toward the opposing team or a desired location is a necessary procedure. However sometimes (but rarely) it’s best to purposely take a defensive posture on the field. This plan is most efficient when defending a fort or if your team is outnumbered. If the opposing team has 4 or 5 more opponents than you, sometimes surprising them by hiding and then waiting for them to come to your location is best. Going on defense will sometimes allow a better visual on your opponent’s movement, but this may also depend on the layout of the field. Keeping a visual on your opponent will help prevent your team from becoming flanked or cornered. Defensive strategies do not mean staying in the same spot for the entire game; moving is another key element to keep in mind for woodsball. Staying on the go is important to keep an advantageous position on your enemy whether you’re playing offense or defense.
For most movement strategies to be effective, your team will have to have established some type of communication procedure. Unlike speedball that’s played on a smaller, closed course, scenario paintball is played on an open, much larger course. Once the game begins if your team has to separate, you will need a way to communicate to each other so you can work together to accomplish your mission. Without a good system of communication, you will no longer be a team but rather a band of loose individuals going and doing whatever they think is right at the moment. This is easy to beat by an opposing team who has a system down. Whether this is a series of calls, messages carried back and forth by a specific player or even a silent throat mic system, you will need some way of talking to each other when/if you are separated or spread across different locations. Whenever possible, it’s best if your communication system is silent so you don’t draw attention from your enemy. Walkie talkies and/or throat mic systems work best for woodsball games played on large courses (and also make your game much more realistic!).
While establishing a communication system with your teammates is crucial, the method you choose should not compromise stealth. In woodsball, stealth is a key element that must be incorporated into your strategy. Stealthy movement is key for gaining a better position and surprising your opponents so they are unprepared for your attack. From silent communication to markers and paintball gear that noiseless, stealth should be a priority for as long as possible during a scenario game. If your enemy can’t see you, they can’t hit you. Camouflage clothing to help you blend into your environment and stay invisible will keep you alive longer and allow you to hide better, even when cover is scarce. For this to be most effective, the right kind of camouflage will be important. Finding out information about your playing environment is a good strategy so you can match the correct camo colors/patterns with the local fauna/background of the playing field. If playing in the fall, use a brown-red camouflage. If playing in the spring, use a lighter green camouflage. If playing in the summer, wear a darker greenish color and depending on your area, for winter, use either white camo or a very dark camo, if not snowing.