You might have heard us going on about - or posting up about - different events that we're going to throughout the year and if you're just new to the sport you might be wondering what all these acronyms stand for? How is the CPPS different to NVS and what's the difference between a Big Game and a Big Walkon - surely they're the same thing? And what's the NXL that's suddenly appeared on the European calendar - isn't that an American thing?
Here's the deal ...
Here's a very basic guide to the main events going on in the UK and what kind of paintball you can expect to play - or watch - if you attend them!
Let's start with the first event to kick off the calendar which is normally the CPPS (although there was a spot of bother with some rain earlier this year so it wasn't the case for 2018 but details ... details ... ). So... the CPPS is a tournament style event based in the midlands. It's been going for a few years now and allows teams of 5 players (although squads can be larger) to compete in various different divisions depending on their skill level and ranking. Some divisions are fixed with teams competing against the same teams throughout the season and fighting for promotion at the end of the season whilst other divisions allow teams to be promoted and relegated between rounds. The CPPS takes place in the midlands at a custom-built paintball venue with 5 grass sup'air fields and 1 astro-turf field. There are 5 main events over the course of the year with a few extra events (such as a 7 man and a 10 man) at the end of the season. The CPPS (Central Premier Paintball Series) is the leading paintball tournament event in the UK and only hosts tournament style paintball. Everything is played on sup'air fields (inflatable bunkers on flat grass) and games are timed and scored. The divisions have been designed to allow beginner players an introduction to tournament paintball without them feeling intimidated by better teams and the "break-in" division sees very new teams come along and "have a go". Once they've mastered "break-in" they can progress through to "break-out" and then it's into division 5 and upwards through the divisions.
A Just Paintball sponsored team - Morning Wood - picking up 3rd place in their division at the CPPS!
There are other smaller paintball tournament events throughout the country which take place throughout the year. Regional tournaments and smaller 3-man events take place on individual paintball sites across the country. At tournaments, you would normally always expect to play on fields of a set size, featuring blow up inflatable "sup'air" barricades, and you'd need a "speedball' style marker - something electronic - to keep up with the speed of play on the field.
The teams play on inflatable fields at the CPPS
In addition to the tournament side of things, there are big games and walkons that take place on paintball sites or custom-built / booked venues throughout the year. There are three main Big Games (different to walkons) and then various other smaller scenario games and walkons throughout the year. Big Games and Walkons are fairly similar in terms of lots of "own-gunners" (people with their own equipment) coming together to play larger paintball games than would normally be played.
Walkons take place at various paintball sites across the UK and are normally designed for customers with their own marker to come down and play against other customers with their own markers. They normally take place on a single day and more regular players would normally only play against other regular players, although some sites do let regulars play with customers who don't have their own equipment under certain conditions. The paintballs are normally cheaper on a walk-on day as regular players tend to fire more paint but the kind of games played would normally be the same as on a regular day at the site.
These take place as "special events" at either an existing paintball site or a special venue. Some sites host their own Big Game and allow far more customers onto the site than normal and open up the game zones so players can play "full-site-games" or make use of more than one field at a time in order to accommodate the increased number of players. In addition to paintball sites hosting Big Games, there are some major Big Games throughout the paintball calendar in the UK with the largest of these being North v South, followed closely in terms of numbers by Paintfest and Mayhem.
Just Paintball's mobile store / trade stand at this year's Mayhem Big Game!
North v South is based on a genuine army training ground and hosts around 1200-1400 players for its annual event. Like the other games, this is styled as a festival of paintball with lots of activities and games (not just paintball) taking place over 3 days. The game is generally themed around the "North" team versus the "South" team but there are other vigilante teams that help (or hinder) the missions over the course of the weekend. Smaller games on the Friday and Saturday earn points for each team and the main event takes place over the entirety of the Sunday with missions based on a theme. In 2018, the theme was an apocalyptic Wasteland, and this is set to return for the sequel next year.
Big Games would see players of all abilities and styles playing together on the same field. You can use absolutely whatever equipment you want to use with sniper rifles being pitted against tournament markers and some players even going out with just a pistol. Absolutely anything goes until the final explosives mark the end of the game. There's months of planning in these Big Games and the attendance is normally massive making them even more fun!!