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How is Speedball Different from Woodsball

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The original form of paintball is now known as woodsball. It consists of teams of players competing in the woods, taking advantage of natural terrain to compete. Speedball, though, is played on a clearly defined field with artificial bunkers. Additionally, there are a number of different rules and strategies between the two forms of the sport.

Fields

Woodsball fields vary considerably and depend on the local terrain. Some are primarily flat while others are on hills, cover rocks or even based along creeks or rivers. The natural terrain gives rise to significant variations within the fields with asymmetric boundaries which cause different starting points different strengths and weaknesses. The fields vary in size considerably and are almost always outside. Speedball fields are generally flat, symmetric and well-laid out. They have artificial bunkers and the sides are designed to be comparable. Additionally, the fields are generally smaller, much more open and are commonly found both inside as well as outside.

Teams

Woodsball teams vary considerably based on the individual field. Some fields are small and are prefect for just a few players on each team. Other fields are many acres in size where literally thousands of people can play at once. Speedball teams generally have three, five or seven people on them. The smaller fields and smaller team sizes allow for considerable communication between players and very defined rolls for each player.

Pace

Woodsball games generally take at least five minutes and sometimes can last for hours. The pace is slower because of the larger fields and the increased cover. It’s very common in woodsball games for several minutes to pass before the first shot is fired as players slowly advance towards each other. Speedball’s pace is exactly what the name implies: it is very fast. Due to the smaller field sizes, players on opposing teams are in range as soon as the whistle blows and so players begin firing instantly. Games often last as little as a few minutes and rarely last more than five minutes. Due to the flat field, players are able to move quickly which encourages lots of running, diving and movement. Also, players generally fire considerably more paint than in woodsball.

Equipment

In woodsball players typically wear camouflage or dark colors to blend in and use a variety of different paintball guns. Some guns are mil-sim guns which are built to mimic real guns while others are high-end electropneumatic guns. Many players use guns such as the Tippmann 98 or other entry-level guns. Speedball guns are almost always high-end eletropneumatic guns with force-fed hoppers that can shoot extremely fast. Players generally wear pants and jerseys that are designed for speedball which are baggy (to encourage paintballs to bounce off) and have sewn-in elbow and knee-pads. Players also almost always wear low-profile masks to limit their outline when peaking around bunkers.

Strategy

There is considerable variation to strategy in all types of paintball, so it is difficult to describe how strategy varies. Some generalities with woodsball, though, is that strategies are a little more varied as the fields are larger. Additionally, woodsball teams often split off to go to different sides of the field which limits communication between the teams and they often work alone. In speedball, while there are significant variations in strategies, there are also some general trends. Due to the small field size, players can communicate constantly during the game and players generally have specific rolls that they follow. Generally, as the game progresses and players are eliminated, other players know how to fill the eliminated players’ positions. Overall, speedball strategy is focused on advancing up the field as quickly as possible and controlling important bunkers and shooting lanes on the field.
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