I may have discovered a hidden talent of mine. Yesterday I celebrated my last week as an unmarried man by gathering my close male friends and shooting them with projectiles that travelled at 329km/hour. I had only been paintballing three times before then, with some measure of success but nothing outstanding. However at Paintball Skirmish (pretty good prices and a good variety of games, even if some of them were only a minute long) I seemed to find my calling.


I daresay I was the best player on the day: I usually shot three or four people per match, and I only got eliminated thrice in the ten games. I think my surprising success was due to an innate tactical knowledge, the ability to adjust strategies on the fly, and general skill with the paintball gun.


My previous experience had taught me that the trick to paintballing was to move frequently and be where the enemy did not expect you to be. The other 27 players largely found some cover, hunkered down and leaned out of cover to take pot shots at each other until someone got hit. Because headshots didn’t count in Paintball Skirmish, I felt safe to poke my head above a barricade and just survey the situation without fear of being eliminated. When I saw the opposition hide, I would move when they weren’t looking and catch them off guard.


Through this strategy, I was able to get well under the three meters required to force a surrender by charging around whatever they were taking cover behind and yelling “SURRENDER!” at them while shoving a gun in their face. (The last two of these was because I had run out of ammo and figured it would be more fun than waiting for the game to end.) While it was risky to be standing up exposed to the opposition team, waiting for the other person to throw their hand up and leave the field, no one shot me while I did it. I think the helmets of the other players (and the stress of the game) gave them tunnel vision, and they didn’t notice me taking out their team mates until I was in their face as well.


I found it very easy to use the paintball guns as well. Other people commented that the balls didn’t fly perfectly straight, and that it was hard to hit a target even if you were aiming right at it. For some reason it didn’t bother me the same way: I would take one shot at a target, adjust it based on that ball’s trajectory, and then usually hit the target with maybe one or two additional correcting shots. While they were haphazard, there was a general sense of direction, and I was even able to factor drop into my shots and fire over targets to hit people hiding behind them. It was easy to shoot one-handed as well, leaning my gun out of cover and then taking a few well-placed shots at targets. Through this skill, as well as moving from cover to cover, I single-handedly hit all six of the targets the fortress was attempting to defend.


I sucked a little more in the last few games, getting hit in the leg while behind cover. Not really sure how it happened, but kudos to whoever nailed me. The very last round where everyone was told to just get in there and discharge all their remaining ammunition at each other sucked royally. Because there were no longer any teams, there was nowhere safe to hide: I was constantly flanked, and the referee starting the game while I was standing in the middle of the field certainly didn’t help my cause. It was from this round that I acquired all my of bruises, one of which raised a lump on the back of my head. It was fun, but in the future I think I’ll avoid being shot from all sides.


Overall, definitely something I’d love to do again and see if I can improve on my tactical practice and skill. I’d like to try paintballing where headshots count (because it makes it riskier to survey the field) and see what difference it makes!

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