History Of Woodsball Paintball
Interested in learning the history of woodsball paintball? It all began in 1976 with the famous short story, "The Most Dangerous Game," which depicts a large game hunter who tires of hunting animals and instead takes to hunting a man. Inspired by the story, three friends, among them the story’s author, devised the concept of a game that would imitate the adrenaline rush associated with stalking and being stalked.
In 1981, the first game of woodsball paintball was played in New Hampshire, England, using a Nel-spot 007 pistol typically used by farmers and ranchers to mark livestock or trees. Twelve people played that day, forming two groups in a “capture the flag” game plan scenario. It is said that the winner took the flag without firing a single shot.
Woodsball paintball quickly grew in popularity, inspiring one of the original inventors, Bob Gurnsey, to form the National Survival Game Company. Thereafter, this company become the official licenser of woodsball paintball products to franchises around the world, selling woodsball paintball guns, goggles and paint, obtained under contract with the Nelson Paint Company.
But woodsball paintball didn’t take off until new companies like PMI and Tippmann entered the field, manufacturing competing products that pushed paintball technology forward. The old Nel-spot 007 pistol with its 12-gram CO2 cartridges was provided with larger air tanks, known as “constant air”. In addition, a front-mounted pump was added to the pistol to make re-cocking easier by diminishing resistance.
Today’s woodsball paintball scenario games require players to wear a mask or goggles and carry paintballs as well as a paintball gun with a hopper that keeps the marker fed with ammo. Woodsball is often combined with scenario paintball games in which players not only engage in stalking each other but in re-enacting a specific historical battle, with an end goal of capturing the flag or conquering a hill.
In the UK, US, Canada and other regions around the world, various paintball leagues have emerged, offering regulated competitions on a regional, national and international level. In print, there are woodsball paintball magazines, among them Action Pursuit Games, the first newsstand magazine to come out in 1987, as well as online and book publications detailing the various tactics and game plans associated with the game.
The dynamic, adrenaline rush associated with woodsball paintball games has spun off variants of the game, of which six are most popular. Elimination requires players to tag every member in the opponent team without getting tagged themselves. Ironman is a free-for-all game scenario where tags do not count as illuminations, and the game goes on until the players run out of paint. Capture the Flag, which corresponds to the original woodsball paintball game, requires the teams to capture a designated flag. Protect the VIP singles out one player in each team that other members must protect from being tagged, much as Knights of old defended a King. Finally, King of the Hill is reminiscent of real-life warfare where a geographical hill must be captured.
The popularity of woodsball paintball, which began in a pastoral corner of England and spread around the globe, seems to prove that by his nature man thrives on conflict and the rush that comes of defending his values.