SWO Paintball Games

Here you'll find some descriptions of some games that we have been known to play. Many of them are played at fields across the country so we aren't claiming credit for any in particular, we'll just describe how we tend to play it.

Capture the flag

Yep, good ol' capture the flag. We generally play with two teams split up, as evenly as we are able to count that day, each having possession of a "fort" at opposite ends of the field. Inside each fort, in more or less plain sight, hangs the flag which the opposite team is supposed to capture and return to their fort. First one back wins. Simple, fast and fun.


This games starts out with unbalanced teams mainly because the hit rules are unbalanced. Split your buddies up into two teams with one team being, at most, half the size of the other. So if you have 12 people, a team of 8 and another team of 4 is a good place to start. You really don't want the ratio any more even than that. The smaller team are the aliens (think of the sci-fi movies of the same name) and as such are much harder to kill. Our rule is that it takes 3 hits to kill an alien. The other team, the humans, take but a single hit to kill but, once hit, they turn into an alien. See where this is going? Good. Armbands are a good idea to designate one team or the other - we usually dress out the humans so that while they are taking their armband off their human friends have a chance to bug out (so to speak). This short span of time prevents the guy who just got turned into an alien from getting totally splattered and bruised by his human "buddies" who just happened to see him get hit. Be a little courteous here, plus it adds to the fun of the hunt.

There are two different ways to start the game that we use. First, the aliens are given a couple minutes to go hide themselves and get ready before the humans are let loose to hunt them. The other method is just the opposite - the humans get a couple minutes to hide and get ready before the aliens are let loose on them.

Civil War

Civil war is a great way to neutralize those full-auto guys and puts them on the same level as the poor bastard with the Nelspot 007. Split up into two teams in your favorite part of the field. We generally start in a line on each side facing the other a fair distance away from each other. We actually found an aspen tree grove which is perfect for this game - lots of cover and we get really close. Ok, on to the neutralizing part - everyone takes the hoppers off their guns and loads one round at a time. That's right. You wouldn't believe how fun this can be.

Revolutionary War

This is similar to Civil War (above) but is a little more orderly. Two teams, two lines facing each other over a distance (preferrably wide open) shoulder to shoulder in a somewhat military like line formation, and hoppers off. The referee stands to the side with a watch and announces: "Ready!... Aim!... Fire!" at which point everone on both sides fires exactly one round, and one round only, at the other line. That's it. After that shot the referee calls out "Take 5 steps forward!" and starts counting down from 30 seconds. Everyone takes 5 steps forward, maintaining the line formation, and generally grumbling something about this being the stupidest thing they've ever done. When 30 seconds is up, the referee calls out: "Ready!... Aim!... Fire!" Rinse, repeat. If you run, you're out. It's also a good idea to stop advancing if the lines get a little too close - stop before that.

El Presidente

Another unbalanced game, and yes it's fun too. First, decide what the split is going to be. A 2:1 ratio, like the Aliens game isn't too bad. On the smaller team, designate one guy (preferably smaller and faster) as "El Presidente". The other guys are secret service bodyguards. The entirety of the larger team are "assassins" who are mean people out to kill the president. The goal of the secret service is to safely escort the president to a particular spot (opposite corner of the field, a fort, whatever) - he has to make it there alive. Oh, the president doesn't get a weapon either, he just gets to hide behind his men. Variations include the president carrying a briefcase which is like a flag to return to a particular point if captured.

Here are the specifics. The assassins are given a few minutes to hide before the good guys can start their move. One shot anywhere on the president kills him, same for the assassins. However, the secret service men are tough SOB's and need to be hit in the torso, three times before they are out. Arms, head, neck, shoulders do not count, only the torso counts - basically the trunk from the belt to the collarbone, in the front, back or sides. Told you they were tough. It's fun, fast, and uses alot of paint for a woods-ball game.

Downed Pilot

Ooh, sounds like a scenario, huh? Well, kinda. Pick a volunteer to be the downed pilot. He either gets no weapon or a weapon with just 7 shots. Before you pick your two teams, the pilot is sent off to the woods to hide. Now it's safe to take a lunch break. Just kidding! Split up the remaining players into two teams - one with armbands. The armbands are the bad guys who shot down the pilot in the first place and are keen on capturing him alive. The other team are the pilot's rescue squad and need to get the pilot out alive (opposite ends of the field work great for this). The rescue squad can bring paint and a weapon to the pilot if they want to give him a fighting chance.

As you can probably imagine there are a couple different levels of success here. If the pilot gets killed it turns into an elimination game. You can also require some first-aid time before allowing the pilot to move, this adds some tension into the mix.


This is a good end-of-day game. Break up into three or more teams of about four then head off for different parts of the field. When the ref blows the whistle, it's a team on team free for all. One hit and you're out, but run back to the ref (or other designated spot) real quick and once you have enough for another team you head back out to get everybody else. We've run this with a 30 minute timer which can be long depending on how tired everyone is. Chaotic but fun and a good way to blow the rest of your paint and air.

Speedball, Woods Style

This is not a game for the faint of heart. You will need to tune the markers down for this one, well below 280FPS, more like 220FPS or less. Range is not a factor! Why turn the markers down this low? Mainly to reduce injuries and bruises making it more fun for everyone to play. The field for this scenario is quite unique. Find a grove of new growth pine. Very short bushy trees. Imagine playing paintball in a Christmas tree lot. Average tree height between six and seven feet. Average width at base between four and five feet. Now, start on opposite ends, total elimination. Possibility of point blank hits are very high. And that, children, is why you tune the markers down.


Two even sides, with one person on each side designated as the medic. The medic is able to revive shot players by touching them with his hand. Dead players get to lie in place and scream "Medic!" to let both the medic know that he's hit and the opposing side where to watch for the medic to be running next. Why? Because once the medic is shot he can't revive himself. Makes for some interesting tatics that vary wildly with the terrain.


The scenario is that one very small team is a recon team that must sneak up to an enemy base and gather intelligence data. The "intelligence data" is in the form of a sign that has something written on it that must be visible from 30-50 feet or so. Once found, the recon team must make its way back to its base to deliver the data to the ref. Lest you think this an impossible task, the defending team has some limitations. First of all, only a small portion of thier team is allowed to guard the base at all. The remaining team members must run patrols in order to find the recon team. Note that I said patrols, not ambushes. The patrol teams must continually be on the move searching for the recon team. Once found, they may be engaged as normal. The defending team wins if they eliminate the recon team or prevent them from gathering the data before the time limit is up.

Escape and Evade (1)

This game consists of 2 teams and one "downed pilot" The rescue team is the first, and thier job is to find the pilot and escort him back to their base. The aggressor team is the larger of the two and their job is to find the pilot, capture him, and escort him to thier base (prison for interrogation :). The pilot is only allowed 10 rnds for his weapon but he may move around at will and attempt to evade capture to the best of his ability. Here is the kicker. To set up the game, the referee tells the captain of the two teams where they will start in secret. The pilot has no knowledge of where home is to begin the game. Then, before the teams go to thier respective bases to start the game, the referee takes the pilot out and places him in his start spot. Once the pilot is on the field, the teams go to their spots and the game starts. Play ends when the pilot is escorted to one of the two team's bases, or when one team is eliminated Radio's are not used by the rescue team and pilot to guide each other. This helps make it harder for them to hook up quickly.

Escape and Evade (2)

In this version, the pilot has an even more expanded role. The field is set up with 3 flag stations. It is the job of the pilot to get the flag from one of those stations. In this scenario, however, the pilot is alone. The remaining players are part of the aggressor team which must find the pilot and capture him. This game would be pretty tough for the individual, but it might be kind of fun in any case. The cool thing is that the aggressor team would have to set up security forces at or around each flag station, and then likely set up a patrol to catch the pilot. The pilot is again limited in ammunition, but he may capture additional ammunition from any aggressor team members he eliminates.

Alternatively, there would be a small rescue team who's job is to find the pilot and then clear the way to one of the flag stations. This game could take a long time to play, but we could put in conditions that speed it up. For example, the aggressor team cannot win if time runs out and the pilot is still at large.


In this game, one person takes on the whole bunch. The "rabbit" is given a couple of minutes to get onto the field, and then everyone hunts him down. The twist? The rabbit gets a shield. Any balls that hit the shield do not count. The only way to get the rabbit is to hit the body. This game could offer some great humor. We just need a shield. I'm only half serious about this game, but if we did play it, I think the rabbit should get a prize for every hunter he takes out. Like a beer or something. :)

Z Warzone

This is a basic description of the game played at Z Warzone in Denver, Colorado. This is an indoor field with alot of seperate rooms of different layouts with alot of obstacles and varying ligthing effects. There are three "bases" at corners of the field (the " dead zone" is the fourth corner), each of which houses a "briefcase" of a certain designation - alpha, bravo and charlie. Hidden somewhere on the field is a fourth briefcase called the "$100,000 briefacse". This is what the different teams have to look for once the game begins. The $100,000 briefacse is hidden somewhere on the field anywhere between the floor and four feet high, never between anything or inside of anything. It's not very big and can sometimes take quite awhile to find.

Once the $100,000 briefcase has been found, it is returned back to the dead zone to collect a "mission". The mission you receive consists of one of four things: alpha, bravo, charlie briefcase or a hostage (a human sized dummy somewhere on the field). The recipient team of this mission has to take the $100,000 briefcase to that location and leave it there and return to the dead zone with the goods (either the correct briefcase or the hostage).

Sounds simple, no? It is, pretty much, it's just that there are some complications. For Z Warzone has it setup realy nice with loudspeakers for music (you can't hear anyone moving more than 10 feet away, if then) and public address. The game starts with 30 seconds of siren where nobody can shoot anyone else and teams are supposed to start searching for the $100,000 briefcase. After 30 seconds is up a klaxon goes off meaning that the game is on. When the $100,000 briefcase is brought in and a mission is given the klaxon goes off again to let everyone know. When the person carrying any briefcase or hostage is shot, they must stop and put it down where they are and move off to the dead zone. That case/hostage is then fair game to be returned by anyone to the dead zone for either a mission (in the case of the $100,000 briefcase) or end the game (with any other briefcase or the hostage). Throw in a very limited amount of paint (50 rounds each for the day) and you have for some very cool dynamics - nobody bunkers up because you can't find the $100,000 briefcase that way and when the klaxon goes off everyone else knows the probable places to look where the guys with the mission are going so it makes for alot of ambush possibilities at that point.

This is a very fun place to play and a cool game. Much thanks to the guys at Z Warzone for running a great field.


Normandy is pretty much just what it sounds like, but we'll get into the details of how we've played it to give you an idea of what may or may not work for you.

This is basically a two-team game although you could split the assaulting side up into the different allies for some points-based competition. One team is the Germans who are, conviently enough, bunkered up preferably on a hill or large rock pile. Our field is blessed with some beautiful rock piles which are great for this sort of game. The Germans get as much ammo as they can carry, and all the automatics, and go setup on the bunker hill. The size of this team is small, and should be no more than a third of the total players. We had four Germans out of 14 players and it was ugly. One less German may have totally swung the game the opposite direction though.

The rest of the players are Americans (or made up of teams named for the different allies, i.e. British, Canadians, etc.) and move to their starting point to split themselves up. For our 14-player game the Americans chose one Medic who could go around and revive his fallen teammates. There are varying paint-load rules for this, we used just one hopper per assault team member but they could cross-load once they were dead. Our game finished up with one dead German, two Americans who surrendered after running out of ammo and 12 dead Americans. The Germans almost ran out of paint too, one machinegunner was down to six rounds.

This game was alot of fun and if you like to hear alot of people screaming "Medic!", it's definitely for you.

Zulu Dawn

This game is a little like Normandy in that you have an inferior force bunkered up in a defensible position that is facing a much larger team. If the name of the game sounds familiar you can already see where this is going.

Pick your small force (ours was 3 out of 13) and give them all of the guns. They are the British who will be facing off against the Zulu Nation. The British need to take off their hoppers (like in Civil War) and single load. They can also pre-load the extra guns if they like but single-loading by hand is probably faster. This is to simulate the black-powder rifles the British were using in this historic battle.

Everyone else is the Zulu Nation. The only weapons they get are spears. To simulate this, we used small plastic whiffle-ball bats. You can also use rolled-up newspapers (which can be thrown much better than a whiffle-ball bat) or similar light and blunt items. If a British soldier gets hit with a spear, they are dead. Spears can be thrown or used to whack them in the head. Believe it or not, our first game of this the Zulu Nation won as we got someone into a blind spot to whack them all in the head.

Using shields in this scenario might be a fun addition, we didn't have any to try it out though. You may want to turn the speed on the guns down a little too as there's going to be alot of people very close to those firing.