Enforcement of Paintball Game Rules: –
Regulated games are overseen by referees or marshals, who patrol the course to ensure enforcement of the rules and the safety of the players. If a player is marked with paint, they will call them out, but competitors may also be expected to follow the honor code; a broken ball means elimination. Field operators may specify variations to this rule, such as requiring a tag to certain body locations only – such as the head and torso only. There are game rules that can be enforced depending on the venue, to ensure safety, balance the fairness of the game or eliminate cheating.
Masks On – Even when a game isn’t in progress, virtually all venues enforce a masks-on rule while players are within the playing area. More generally, within any given area of the park, either all players’/spectators’/officials’ masks must be on, or all players’ markers must either have a barrel block in place or be disconnected from their gas source, to ensure that a paintball cannot be fired from any nearby marker and cause eye injury. Some fields encourage players to aim away from opponents’ heads during play if possible; splatter from mask hits can penetrate ventilation holes in the goggles and cause eye irritation, close-range hits to the mask can cause improperly maintained lenses to fail, and hits to unprotected areas of the face, head and neck are especially painful and can cause more serious injury.
Minimum distance – When being tagged, depending on the distance from where the shot was fired, getting marked directly can cause a bruise. Being marked may even leave a welt or break skin causing bleeding. Because of the pain associated with being hit by a paintball, commercial venues may enforce a minimum distance rule; such as 4.5 meters (15 ft), whereby players cannot shoot an opponent if they are closer than this distance. Many fields enforce a modified minimum distance surrender rule; a player who advances to within minimum range must offer his opponent the chance to surrender before shooting. This generally prevents injury and discord at recreational games, however it is seldom used in tournaments as it confers a real disadvantage to the attacking player; he must hesitate while his opponent is free to shoot immediately. The act of shooting a player at close range is colloquially called “bunkering”; it happens most often when a player uses covering fire to force his opponent behind the cover of a bunker, then advances on that bunker while still shooting to eliminate the opponent point-blank. A tap of the targeted player with the barrel of a marker, sometimes called a “barrel tag”, “Murphy” or “tap-out”, is generally considered equivalent to marking them with a paintball and is sometimes used in situations where one player is able to sneak up on an opponent to point-blank range.
Hits – A player is hit if a paintball leaves a solid, quarter-sized mark anywhere on the player’s body or equipment. Some variations of paintball don’t count gun hits or require multiple hits on the arms or legs. Most professional fields and tournaments, though, count any hit on a person, the equipment on their person, or even objects picked up at random from the field. Splatter often occurs when a paintball does not break on a person but on a nearby surface and then paint bounces onto the player, but this does not count as a hit unless it forms a solid mark on the player.
Overshooting – Fields may discourage players from overshooting (also regarded as bonus balling, “overkill” or lighting up), which is to repeatedly shoot an opposing player after they are eliminated from the game. It is also considered overshooting if a player knew the opponent was eliminated but continued to shoot, disregarding the safety of the opposing player and risking dangerous injury to others.
Ramping – Ramping is a feature of many electronic markers, where after a certain number of rapid shots or upon a threshold rate-of-fire being achieved by the player, the gun will begin firing faster than the trigger, is being pulled. Ramping of rate of fire is prohibited or sharply limited at most paintball fields, however it is allowed in various tournament formats with specific rules governing when and how the marker may ramp.
Wiping – Players may attempt to cheat by wiping paint from themselves, to pretend they were not hit and stay in the game. If caught, “wipers” are generally called out of the game, and in recreational paintball may be ejected from the field for multiple instances of wiping. Various tournament rules state additional penalties for players or teams caught wiping, such as “3-for-1” (calling the wiping player and the nearest two players out) in PSP capture-the-flag, or a prescribed number of “penalty minutes” in XBall.
Non-contact – While paintball does involve tagging players with paintball projectiles, this is generally considered the sole point of physical contact between members of opposing teams. Players are generally prohibited from physically contacting other players, such as colliding with them, physically restraining them, and especially using fists, feet, protective gear or the markers themselves to hit other players. Fisticuffs in particular are dangerous not only to the participants but to all players on or off the field, and referees are generally trained to respond immediately and aggressively to stop the fight, and to eject and ban instigators of these fights.