Commercial paintball fields are some of the most fun to play on; however unfortunately, not everyone has access to them. Many paintballers live in remote locations and don’t have established parks close enough to use. In the northern states, most paintball parks shut down in the winter, leaving its regular members out in the cold until they decide it’s time for the season to start in the spring.
Many die-hard paintballers continue to play throughout the winter on makeshift fields or the woods behind their house. If there’s enough snow and you don’t mind putting in a couple days of work, you can make an awesome snow field complete with bunkers and plenty of hide spots.
The first step to making a snow field is to plan out how you want it to look like and what kind of movement flow you want; many professionals spend months trying to get the right feel for a field. It is imperative that your field is planned out, if not you will find there are spots where you are left uncovered or areas that are very easy to exploit.
Before putting in the labor, take your time to plan the bunker lay out, hide spots and/or even MG nests (another form of bunker), as these will change how your field will play. For example, leaving wide open spaces on each side with paintball bunkers on each end will create a WWI feel of battle; each side with ample cover with a strip of no man’s land down the middle where anyone can be mowed down.
Another interesting set-up is to arrange a series of small bunkers fairly closely packed together, so a ‘corners’ type of play will emerge. A plethora of hide spots will create a paintball sniper safe haven. With more bunkers and hiding places than open playing field, this creates a more cozy but aggressive, close quarters battle. This is also a very adrenaline filled game; not knowing if someone’s going to be behind the next bunker you sneak up on always keeps you on your toes.
No matter what type of battle you prefer, you will want to create choke points in your field layout. A choke point is also known as a bottle neck; this is a place on the field that will provide a type of trap for your opponents where they will have no place to go or hide. Just be careful you don’t get caught in it yourself!
When building the actual bunkers, it’s best to hard pack snow into a pre-formed/shaped container to build bricks; then you can make structures with the bricks. Even if you’re making the bunkers by hand (without pre-formed shapes to pack), make sure your structures are at least 5 inches thick in the thinnest spot. You will need to make the structure as strong as possible to withstand the force of someone sliding or crashing into it.
Make walls with your bricks, buildings or even an igloo! Leave small holes or windows so you can shoot through it. Even shapeless piles of snow make excellent bunkers in paintball. After finishing the bunkers and hide spots, get cups of water and pour the water on the bunker, try to get most of the bunker wet, but not overdoing it. Getting it too wet will turn it to slush, destroying your structure.
Wait overnight and the next afternoon for it to freeze over and become more solid. You can repeat this step several times and even add different colors and designs to give your field an artistic flair. If you make your snow bunkers solid enough, they will often stay around a bit longer than the ground snow. It’s also fun to play on the field you made with ‘melting bunkers’ as the temperature warms back up. Suddenly, the same old field has a new flavor as the shapes transform into new creations!
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