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     If you're a newbie to the sport, here's some basic information about how to play.  Most paintball games last from five to forty minutes. The objective of most paintball games is either “Capture the flag” or “Elimination”.  In Capture The Flag, a flag is placed on either end of the field and each team tries to grab it and return it to their base.  A variation of Capture The Flag called “Center Flag” where a single flag is placed in the center of the field and each team must capture it and take it to the enemy base.  Elimination is simple: shoot or “mark” every player on the opposing team to win.  Other variations include “Attack and Defend” where only one flag is in play and “Mutant” where a small group of “mutants” are chased by “hunters”.  Whenever a mutant is shot, he is eliminated from the game.  However, when a mutant shoots a hunter, the hunter becomes a mutant and switches sides.  The type of marker you use is not important but most tactical players want military paintball guns.

   Unlike the game of “cops and robbers” you played when you were a kid, in paintball there is no question about who shot whom. Anytime a player is hit by a paintball and the ball breaks on the player’s clothing, skin, or gun, the player is “out”. Paintball is at its core a game of honor and integrity.  A player who has been shot is required to call himself “out” by raising his paintball marker in the air and loudly calling “Out!” or “Hit!”.  Once out, a player must immediately leave the field and head to a safe area sometimes called the “dead box”. Eliminated players are not allowed to communicate with their teammates who are still in the game.  Often a paintball will strike a player but not break. This is called a “bounce”. Generally, a bounce is not considered a hit and the player is allowed to remain in the game.  It’s always good sportsmanship to let your opposing player know a shot has bounced.  You can do this by yelling out “Bounce!” or tell him after the game.

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