Paintball Games-Woodsball vs Speedball vs Scenario Paintball

Since its inception, Paintball is on popularity gaining spree over past years. With ever-growing popularity, there’s no surprise that the game has adapted to various versions.

The most popular versions are Woodsball, Speedball, and Scenario Paintball. These three versions of Paintball share a lot of similarities. However, there are a couple of variations in rules and playing style and those are easily understandable even by a newbie player.

versions of Paintball Games

The main difference between Woodsball and Speedball is the venue. Speedball is played in a closed confined area while Woodsball is played in open fields. Moreover, time duration and showmanship are other major factors differentiating between the two.

On a very basic level, Paintball is a very clear and simple game. The basic rule is to shoot your opponents with the paintballs while ensuring your protection. But, as the game spread across the globe over time, it started welcoming new rules to make it more exciting and challenging.

This article is a guide to the types of games to choose from, and I will share my favorite in the end. We will discuss each variant of the game individually so stay put.

Table of Contents


Starting in the early 1980s, Woodsball is the original variant of Paintball, in which, the players play the game in an open natural terrain, where you have to use trees etcetera for cover. Thus you are highly dependent on your skills to stand up to your opponents.


The game has the same rules as any other variant—players have to eliminate their opponents using paintball pallets. Moreover, Woodsball has further few variants which we will discuss in a bit.

Weather conditions can also affect the course of the battle. For example, Heavy rain and dirt can make mobility difficult while fog can reduce line of sight. Thus, if you want to use these conditions to your advantage, it involves a little mastery. It is something only the most skilled players can do with ease.

Woodsball Games

Woodsball game

Woodsball has many modes; the most common are Capturing the Flag, Elimination, and Defend the castle. Let’s have a brief look at each one of these.

1. Capture the Flag

Capturing the flag is where you have to infiltrate the enemy base and take their flag. This is a two-team play that looks simple but it needs extreme planning and strategies to win this game. You may be able to win this game even without shooting a single pellet. But, for this, you need to be extremely tactful and careful.

You have to come up with unique ideas to get the opponent’s flag. However, you can’t neglect the importance of protecting your own flag. It is equally important. Moreover, after taking the opponent’s flag you have to make it back to your base without getting shot. You are out if you are shot. Thus “capturing” the enemy flag, the name is the crux of the matter.

2. Elimination

Elimination is the type of Woodsball that resembles just the Royal Rumble in WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment). You are a One-Man Army, you are on your own. You are free to get anyone you see. Just shoot whosoever is coming in front of you.

You have to eliminate as many players as possible. So, you win the game once all of your opponents are eliminated. As a matter of fact, Elimination Woodsball can go on for hours in a stretch as the terrain is huge. Therefore, it may take a lot of time before you can find someone and eliminate them. Although there are barriers set to mark the terrain size, still it is too big for a fast-paced game.

You may think that you have to shoot many players to win Elimination. But, let me tell you one trick😉. For example, John is your enemy but at the same time, John is everybody else’s enemy as well. So, go stealth, lay low and avoid getting shot. Even if you don’t shoot anybody during the whole game, still you will end up being the winner in the end.

3. Defend the Castle

Defending the castle is more like a strategy game played between two teams. One team has to defend the castle from intruders while the other has to plan an attack to conquer it. The game will be finished in two instances. Either the attacking team will enter the castle or the Defenders can shoot all the players of the attacking team.

In this game, expect to shoot too many paintballs because whether you are an attacker or a defender, you hold a great responsibility on your shoulders. And, you must be familiar with the famous quote of Peter Parker from Spiderman,” With great power comes the great responsibility”. So, you will need a lot of ammo, paintball tanks, and time to fulfill it.

Normally, the team which is defending the castle is inferior in numbers as they are enjoying the perks of being inside the castle. On the contrary, the attacking team has to bear more losses so they are kept in more numbers. But, this is not a hard and fast rule. It can be altered depending on the proficiency level of both teams.

Woodsball Equipment

The woodsball game area is quite large so it is very difficult to play this game with fewer people. Hence, both teams comprise a large number of players who can play easily in that large area without the chances of extra fatigue.

You can get different weapons based on your tactical role in a match, for example, snipers, mines, and paint grenades. Therefore, you need to be pretty familiar with various weapons.  You may get different weapons for different positions or tactics depending upon your role in the game.

Therefore, you can conclude that Woodsball is more a game of skill rather than mobility.

Scenario Paintball

Scenario Paintball

Scenario paintball, as the name suggests, is a re-enactment of a real historical event or videogames. Normally, a typical scenario game of paintball can last between 8 to 24 hours. If you compare then it is way more than the duration of both woodsball and Speedball.

You may call it Military Simulation (Mil-Sim) as well. It somehow resembles more towards Woodsball than Speedball. But still, it is much-advanced level for Woodsball. Normally, it is played between two teams involving a large pool of players at a much larger scale. For this, Players make teams, coordinate, practice together, and participate in big events.

How did the Scenario Paintball start?

Wayne dollack, Scenario Paintball

The brainchild behind the Scenario Paintball was Wayne Dollack. He was the owner of a paintball field and he came up with an idea that paintballers may be allowed to play roles during the game. They could be James Bond, a captain of a Army Divison, or maybe an Ultimate Fighter.

He started the first game named CIA (Cash in Action). In this game, 38 players had to play for 8 hours. Each player had to contribute 2$ each, which was combined and kept hidden in the field. Both teams had to fight each other while looking for hidden money. The team finding the money would distribute the money amongst the players. Thus, doubling the money on spot.

The idea gained too much popularity and thus the Scenario Paintball Started.

Scenario Paintball Equipment

Furthermore, it is not uncommon for paintball players to re-spawn or re-generate as the game is very long. Many elaborate weapons-for example tanks-are also used in scenario paintball, depending upon their role in the actual historical event.

Mil-Sim is the most famous the Scenario. Players simulate to be Military strategists. This is so close to reality that it is an ideal situation for Military Simulations. Mil-Sim is a little expensive version as players need to spend for apparel and equipment as well. Therefore, newbies do not go adopt this version. Mostly Professional players spend this kind of amount.

Player’s Roles

Players are also given codenames or actual characters and are given uniforms to match their characters.

Everything is usually provided; the only thing you have to worry about is water. As soon as you remove your paintball mask to drink water, you are at the mercy of any aggressor and it can be very dangerous in case you get attacked.

Since this game goes on for hours or even days, the players have to carry a lot of equipment and gear, which may include; maps, grenades, radios, night vision goggles, water canteens, and lastly camouflage.

Player’s Missions

You can also get side missions during the game which you can complete for additional rewards. Moreover, everyone in the field is given a role, based on their character and each character can have their side missions.

Remember; during the game, you are exposed to a harsh environment. You have to deal with varying temperatures, humidity, a lot of sweat, and dirt. This all may result in fogging up your paintball mask which you don’t want at any cost. So, I recommend you get an Anti-Fog Paintball Mask and waterproof boots for the game.

Famous Versions of Scenario Paintball

Invasion Normandy Scenario Paintball
Invasion Normandy Paintball

This game has had many versions, the most famous is Invasion Normandy. It started in 2002 and today more than 4000 players participate in this game. Thus, making it the biggest Paintball event.

Finally, it is a very advanced and pro-level paintball that requires a lot of stamina, mental toughness, and skill to sustain in the open area.

In my personal opinion, I feel it is the most difficult of all three variants. However, if you have good chemistry with your teammates, you will have fun worth remembering.

How to play Woodsball & Scenario Paintball?

Woodsball & Scenario Paintball is more demanding and challenging than the rest of the formats of the Paintball game. Unlike other games that mainly need firepower and athleticism, this game involves brains along with a big heart. You can’t go just around shooting everything you see, Wham Wham, and finish.

Over my years of paintballing, I’ve seen many average-level teams beating down the highly skilled ones. So, even if you are a newbie to this game but you plan well and play right, rest assured that you will be able to beat a strong team.

A few of the tips will come in handy and offer you a definite edge over your opponents if you apply them

  • Plan your strategy well
  • Involve your teammates and ensure that everyone fully understands their responsibilities
  • Get a map of the field
  • If you are playing outstation, involve the local players while planning
  • Acclimatize yourself with the field
  • Prepare your firepower well enough
  • Merge with the background
  • Your attack should be a surprise for your opponents

Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.

Sun Tzu
Legendary Ancient Chinese Strategist & General

1. Game Planning

Planning your strategy well is the most important aspect of the game. Not only, you should see the topography, texture, obstacles, etc in detail but also you have to keep in mind the Strengths of your team players and the weaknesses of your opponents.

Don’t come out with a plan which your team can’t execute. Don’t be predictable at any stage. A well-thought-off plan will bear a definite edge over the opponents so never underestimate it.

Assign the roles depending upon the geography of the field. A hill or tower is gonna be more important than the bunkers so deploy more players there. Bushes in the Autumn or winter are gonna be a liability as the fallen dried leaves and branches will set an alarm for your every movement so avoid them at any cost. However, they can be a good hiding spot in summer or Spring.

The gist of the matter is that you have to plan well for your team if you really wanna bring victory to your team

2. Team-Game

Involve your players once you are coming up with the plan. Listen to their suggestion with an open mind and accept or reject them based on logic.

Once you have made a plan. Now, it is time that your team fully understands it. Each player knows his rules. He or she knows the assigned responsibility and is fully ready to accept it. They are clear in their heads that there is no deviation from it, everyone has to stick to the assigned role. There is very little room for innovation in this game but still, you can make an on-field call depending on the situation.

3. Involvement of Local Players

Most Pro-Level teams think of themselves as invincible. Yeah, you may be a hotshot at your local field but a new field may take you by a surprise.

Remember, during WW II when Nazi Germans felt the same feeling of invincibility and tried to conquer Russia, then USSR. What happened next was the defeat of the Allies. I am not a Military person or Defense Analyst but as a Pro-Paintball player for a couple of years, my take is that Germans did not account for the stranger lands of Russia. So, I always say that you lose your edge on a new paintball field.

How to cater to this obvious weakness? First thing is to accept that you are new in that territory. Second, you need some local resources, some local players who have played their most games in those fields. They may not be as skillful as your other team members but they enjoy the edge of knowing the field. They have experience there, they might have tasted a few defeats and few victories in those fields so their experience will come in handy to you.

Involve those players actively in your planning and then plan accordingly.

4. Acclimatization with the field

You should be pretty clear about where you are playing. As some of the legendary players always say that you should know the field like the back of your hand.

Before the game starts, get a map of the field. See the topography of the area; see and mark the hills, bunkers, towers, bushes, and any water stream. You will have to use all these features for the benefit of your team so give due time while doing this.

My advice is, don’t rely completely on the map. Move in the field with your players and get the feel of it, get its pulse. As rain from the previous night might have changed the texture of the field, you may experience mud or muddy puddles out there.

So, always go into the field before the start of the game

5. Get your Firepower

You never know how much time you will have to spend out there. It may be from 1 hr to 2 hrs. I have seen many teams walking out because they had exhausted all their ammo before the time finishes. So make sure that you have enough tanks, paintballs, pods, etc.

Also, ensure that you are well-energized so keep enough water with you, and grab a small protein bar with you so that you don’t feel exhausted after a while.

6. Merge with the Background

You should not be wearing shining and bright color masks and matching paintball gear as we do in Speedball. Instead, you should try to use the dark color texture of forests to your advantage. Wear dark color clothes and masks, and it is always better to wear camouflage.

You have to merge with the background. If you use this well, your opponents will be unable to spot you from some distance. And as you know, you can fight only what you see. So, if you can remain invisible, you will become invincible.

7. Element of Surprise

Surprise is gonna be one of your biggest friends out there. Be very quiet in the field. Don’t yell across the field. The key is coherence with your team members so that you don’t have to shout out. Make very smart movements, don’t make any noise, stay low, try to be sneaky, and once you show right in the face of the enemy, you will love the sight of shock on his face before his elimination.



Here comes the most famous and dominant version of Paintball. You can imply that it was developed to add showmanship to this fun game. It is an organized spectator version of Paintball to fully entertain the viewers.

As the name implies, Speedball is very fast-paced and there are usually only around 12 players on each team. Moreover, the scale of the Speedball game is way smaller compared to the woodsball. Normally, Speedball only lasts for around 12 minutes per round.

Speedball – How did it start?

Speedball was first introduced by SC Village on 07 May 1989. The idea was simple yet eye-catching. Instead of woodsball, there should be a version of Indoor Paintball that should be colorful and looks nice to the visual aids. It should be available to the live audience which will bring more interest and fame to the game.

Thus, the unique idea clicked and the Indoor Paintball, Speedball became the most famous version of the Paintball game.

Speedball Fields

Earlier, we discussed Woodsball and Scenario Paintball in detail. And, you have a good idea that these games are played in much larger fields. However, Speedball is not much like that. Rather, it is played on a manmade field at a much smaller scale.

Additionally, the bunkers and obstacles that can be used as cover are inflatable thus minimizing the chances of any major injury which usually incur in the paintball. This may be one of the reasons for speedball’s popularity.

Speedball game has many audiences normally so it has a great fan following as well. Moreover, external factors like weather don’t affect the match as the pitches are sometimes either in a confined space or indoors.

Speedball Rules

Speedball game

The basic elimination rules are very similar to that in every single paintball game. However, individual paintball game rules can be altered as per the mutual consent of both teams. Furthermore, tactical skills in this game are of no help as this game is very fast and you have to be aggressive in your approach.

If we put it simply, you will have to shoot your opponents, avoid getting shot, and bring back the opponent’s flag. For each action, you will be rewarded the points to win the game.

Furthermore, the game has evolved a lot over time. Around the year, there are many championships in National and International leagues. Moreover, there can be different uniforms for different teams and there are many different game modes of the game e.g The Last Man Standing or Capture the Flag.

Speedball Equipment

Mainly, the guns used in speedball contain a large number of pellets and are lightweight. They are small in size and compact to match the format of the game.

Furthermore, all the players are wearing colorful and flashy attire, matching masks, and guns with a high rate of fire. Moreover, the only strategy available would be cornering your opponents and taking them out.

Speedball Pace

Speedball is a very fast-paced game as its name implies. It involves sharp reflexes and extreme skills to emerge as a winner after the game. You have to be full throttle right from the word go. Your guns, hoppers, and pods must be in sync with your plan. You can’t afford any slackness. You need shouting, communication, and coherence within the team.

Speedball is not for players like me who like to think everything through and come up with a strategy before assaulting. On the contrary, speedball is all about speed and how aggressive you are.

All in all, it’s the most popular variant of paintball and sure is a lot of fun!

Final Words

Paintball is a fun game; it’s getting more popular as it is offering various modes depending upon personal choices. If you are more into Strategies, pick up Woodsball. Else, you can fit into different characters in a Scenario Paintball. Or, if you are an andrenaline junkie, hope into the train of Speedball.

My personal favorite is Castle Defence in woodsball. Since you need to capture strategic bases and hold on to them, so you have to achieve this by devising the best strategies and outmaneuvering your opponents. This is my personal preference which I play more often. However, I do not hold back on the other games as well. I enjoy all these games to my fullest.

Moreover, with such exciting options at your disposal, you can always explore and play the game the way it suits you. You can familiarize yourself with the game’s rules and regulations by testing each one for yourself. Moreover, you can also unpack the greatest experience you have in-game. I hope you have a blast out there. Now, go ahead and have fun.

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