I play Paintball.
Well, that is a lil vague as paintball can mean a lot of things.
I don't play Speedball, Hyperball, or Airball.
I play Woodsball.
So do a lot of my friends...here is a snap of my buddy Big Mike.
Hell, we even had a team for a while...
I present that just so you understand that I have some experience at Paintball.
I love playing Woodsball, it is a great way to meet new folks that already share an interest and I have never played a game where the other players were as invested in your success as a player more.
This Rant will not be about Woodsball vs Speedball...or what is real Paintball...although I have a pretty strong opinion on that.
This Rant will be on a Paintball Field practice called Field Paint Only(FPO) vs Bring Your Own Paint(BYOP).
Disclaimer: While I am an experienced player, I am not a professional. Nor am I a Field Operator or Owner.
I am not sponsored by, nor do I have any ties to any Paintball Field operation.
EDIT March 17 2011>> I should note that since I wrote this I have become associated with a Field Operator.
I am now a member of Team Phalanx, sponsored by Fox paintball.
I dislike FPO. A lot. It has always bothered me. I understand that a lot of fields do it to insure they make money, and I am not against field owners/operators making money. FPO definitely helps their profit margins, but to me it has always seemed dishonest.
Let me try and explain that.
I go to a Field to play...There is a Gate or Entry Fee.
This is what it will cost me to use their field, to help cover the cost of building, maintaining the field. Staffing it, insuring it, keeping the lights on and the toilets flushing. That should reflect how elaborate the field is to me. If it is a cow pasture on your uncle's back 40... an Entry Fee of 10-15 dollars makes sense.
If it is 14 acres of awesome, with tons of purpose built structures, and there are plenty of Refs...40-50 dollars makes sense.
But here is where the FPO issue comes up...a lot of Fields REQUIRE me to use their paint. Paint that is at a premium price.
To me this is , as I said previously, dishonest.
I am basically paying a second Entry Fee...and possibly a Fee to continue playing.
Does that make sense? I pay to get access to your field...to have the right to come play on your land, but then you charge me again to play the game.
If that income(from me buying your paint) is what you need to do to cover your cost...to break even or make a profit off me playing on your field...charge me that at the gate. Don't tell me it cost $15 to play on your field, then require me to buy a $80 case of paint. See...it smacks of bait and switch to me.
Now, before anyone starts blasting me in the comments that this is "just how it is" or that "Fields need to make their money"...I GET THAT...I do.
I want Fields to make money...then there are Fields to play on. I want them to make a lot of money, so that hopefully they can reinvest it into making the Field even more awesome.
My issues is that FPO seems underhanded to me.
Let me try this another way...
I started playing with rental gear way back in the day, it did the job of getting me hooked on Paintball. I went out and spent a fair amount of coin getting my own gear. I have spent the last couple of years tuning that gear to better fit the way I play...to enhance my fun. Then I go to a field that says I have to use THEIR gear.
Maybe not EXACTLY the same...but to me it kinda is.
I use a Tippmann A-5 marker with a Flatline barrel. The A-5 has never been a 'gentle' marker. It slams the hell out of paint when it fires. And the Flatline barrel is rough on paint, putting it under a lot of stress. This means I can't use a lot of paints without tons of chop. Especially Tourney grade paint, that has a thin shell. I need to use paint with a thicker shell in order to get consistent results. Something like DXS Frostbite, or IMPACT.... I know this after months of making paint soup with other balls. So than I go to a FPO field...and guess what? I can't get a thick shell paint...so basically I can't play with my marker set up. Or I can get it, but it will cost me 50% more that retail...so I play 50% less games. Which means I have 50% less fun...which means there is a 90% chance I am not going to go to that Field again.
Now I could just accept this, and either pony up the extra cash, or find a marker set up that works with all paint, or just quit my bitching. But that is the issue here....I have an option.
There are fields that let me use the paint I have found works best with my particular set-up. These fields allow me to bring my own gear. My own mask, marker and paint. They may not be as fancy, or have flushing toilets. They may not be as close to me, meaning a 45 min longer drive. But I get to play more, and play the way I want to play. They tell me how much it cost to use their fields...and that is how much it costs. Not that much plus $X for paint before I can play.
Let me show you some differences.
Because it has an impact on planning, here is an overview of my gear.
I use a A-5 with Flatline barrel, 3000 lbs HPA, and a basic loadout of 750 balls. On a good day of play, I will use a case of paint.
Fox River Paintball:
Entry Fee: $30 and includes all day air fills.
Paint prices: Range from $50 to $70 for full cases in varied grades.
Distance and Drivetime: ~50 miles and 1.25 hours
Cost for a day of play for me( Entry and a case of Paint): $80 if I use their paint, $30 if I BYOP
Entry Fee: $18 and includes all day air fills.
Paint prices: Only one paint..cost is $90 per case
Distance and Drivetime: ~70 miles and 1.5 hours
Cost for a day of play for me( Entry and a case of Paint): $108, no option.
Let's say that travel time is moot.
Now take that cost times 2...recall my Wife also plays.
Where would you go?
Granted, CPX has a more elaborate field set up with more structures.
CPX FIELD pictures:
FOX FIELD pictures:
But is having a fancier field worth less play and more money?