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Shoot to win, or dye trying

Shoot to win, or dye trying
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First Published: Sat, Jun 28 2008. 12 32 AM IST

Team spirit: Paintballing is a thrill not just for young people but also for companies looking to bond.
Team spirit: Paintballing is a thrill not just for young people but also for companies looking to bond.
Updated: Sat, Jun 28 2008. 12 32 AM IST
Fancy yourself slipping into enemy territory, dispatching bad guys by the dozens, and rescuing the kidnapped, a la John Rambo or that guy from Die Hard? Then get out of your living room, trash that boring weekend routine of coffee-and-multiplex, and head out for some adrenalin-pumping, heart-pounding action at your nearest paintball range.
Team spirit: Paintballing is a thrill not just for young people but also for companies looking to bond.
Paintball, a game for anyone who likes competition, action, strategy and skill — without blood and gore — was created in 1981 by three unlikely people: Wall Street stockbroker Hayes Noel, writer Charles Gaines and ski shop owner Bob Guernsey, in New Hampshire. In the 15 short years since its inception, paintball has spread to more than 100 countries — half of them hold professional competitions — and is regarded as the fastest growing adventure sport in the world.
In India, paintball is only two years old, and confined mainly to the metros. Yet, keen aficionados range from young-and-restless 14-year-olds to BlackBerry-toting managers from leading corporate houses in the country.
Paintball is a souped up avatar of the childhood games, tag and hide-and-seek, with some high-tech sophistication added in. The main format offered in India is the fast-paced Speedball version, where five-seven players team up on either side. One of the team members has to reach the opposite team’s goalpost without getting tagged, capture their flag and carry it back to his own base. The team that accomplishes this task first wins. Sounds simple enough?
The catch here is the weapon of choice: the paintball gun or marker that propels paintballs (gelatin capsules containing polyethylene glycol or any other non-toxic and water-soluble substances, and dye). The capsules, when shot, explode on impact, leaving your opponent with a big, splotchy “tag”. If you mark a player of the opposite team with your gun, he’s out of the game. If you get tagged, you are out too. Don’t worry about getting hurt, though. All players are suited up in protective gear, including goggles that make sure that the splotches remain on the outside.
This basic version of the game lasts about 10 to 20 minutes each. However, the more interesting scenario-based mission version of the game blends role-playing and fast-paced shooting while navigating obstacles. This version could typically include rescuing a player from a prison, or capturing and holding one or more bases (“King of the Hill”). For instance, Desert Storm, a game format offered by The Paintball Co. at 32nd Milestone, in Gurgaon, is a mix of aggressive attack-and-defence, played with stealth and speed.
While large corporate teams — out for team-building sessions or simply out to have fun — form the largest base of players, the day we went to check out the game, it was a bunch of kids from the American School celebrating a friend’s birthday in real guerrilla style. As they ended the first round of speedballing — they played the “Capture the Flag” format — the star of the winning team, Aady, was animatedly discussing the merits of his tactics of saving his best shots for the end, by when his opponents had already exhausted their firepower.
Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi already offer you options to sweat it out at running and shooting at your friends into submission; adventure sport enthusiasts living in other big cities will not need to wait for too long though. “We are planning to expand to Pune, Chennai, Hyderabad and Chandigarh in the next one year,” says Sumeet Sandhu, who founded The Paintball Co. in November 2005, after leaving her cushy corporate job with a consumer durables company.
Several companies have taken a keen interest in using paintball as a recreational team-building sport in India. “Paintball was conceived primarily as a very different way of imparting corporate training. After a lot of research on making training interesting and enjoyable, we decided to use the extreme sport of paintball as our first venture,” says Sharon from Yuyutsa, one of the companies offering ranges in Pune and Bangalore.
The Paintball Co. has organized tournaments, for groups ranging from 20 to 600 people at a time. They organize mobile gaming ranges too.
As Shirish from GE, a paintball convert, says, “Paintball is intense and exhilarating at the same time.” Fans swear by its addictiveness as well.
But the only way to really find out what the paintball experience is all about is to grab a bunch of friends—get at least 10—make your way to the nearest paintball range, and suit up. Don’t blame us if you get hooked to getting splotched!
Find your nearest paintballing ranges here:
1. Yuyutsa
Contact: Sharon at 09845697673 or
email at sharon@yuyutsa.com
Price: Rs505 per person, for 60 pellets
2. The Paintball Co.
Mobile gaming destinations can be arranged as per requirements
Contact: Sumeet Sandhu at 09818738378 or email at
Price: Rs500 per person, for 50 pellets
3. XtremeZone Sports & Services
Contact: Deepa at 09845720769 or email at
Price: Rs650 per person, for 50 pellets — including lunch + tea
4. Action Force Paintball
Contact: 09987028393
Price: Rs750 per person, for 35 pellets
All rates are typically for 3-5 games of the shorter Speedball version
Write to lounge@livemint.com
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First Published: Sat, Jun 28 2008. 12 32 AM IST
More Topics: John Rambo | Desert Storm | Yuyutsa | Play |