History of Paintball-All about your Favorite Game

History of Paintball-All about your Favorite Game

So, do you know that the winner of the first game of paintball never fired a shot! Yes!! You heard it right. Ritchie White, a member of the 12 men squad, managed to sneak around the woods, where the team assembled to play the first game of paintball in the history of this world without being seen by any of the opponents.

There’s so much that we do not know about this game, like its history, origin, and some other facts. As a fan of this game, I will try my best to cover these topics in this article.

This game is a lot of fun. That’s why I opt to spend my leisure time playing paintball with my squad. I know a lot of us to do the same.

Now, it is high time that we get to know about the history of paintball. As it is said, “if you love something, love it completely.” And I can assure you that if you are reading this, you love this competent game.

So, without further ado, let’s jump into the arena called “History of Paintball.”

A Little About the Game:

Paintball is a competitive game, a team shooting game, which uses paintballs that burst on the impact to eliminate your target. These paintballs are spherical-shaped dyes filled with gelatine capsules shot with paintball markers that use low-energy air weapons.

About the paintball Game


They were originally designed to paint the trees, live stocks, and cattle. This weapon is powered by an air pump that uses compressed air or Carbon Dioxide, whatever suits the user.

When Was Paintball First Invented?

About 4 decades ago in New Hampshire, on June 2, 1981, an inaugural game of paintball is about to be played by 12 players. Among this squad of 12 players, a Wall Street stockbroker named Hayes Noel and a writer known by the name Charles Gaines.

Overtaken by the gin they had drunk, they argued that whether a guy who has lived in the city all his life survives in the wilder life against someone who was brought up doing activities like hunting, fishing, and building cabins in the woods?

Bob Guernsey, a member of that 12 men squad, wrote the first draft of the game rules, which helped the duo settle that gin-soaked debate.

Paintball Invention


In the mid-sixties, Charles Nelson, a founding member of the Nelson Paint Company, invented the first paintball gun, which was used to mark the trees that were supposed to be cut down, and it was also used by the ranchers to keep their cattle to distinguish it from other cattle.

One day a member of that 12 men squad discovered this paintball gun made by the Nelson Paint Company. Thus the idea of paintball was born.

The First Game of Paintball:

The first official game of paintball was played on June 7, 1981, in the woods of New Hampshire. The game was to be played was a 125-acre plat of woods along which 4 stations were flagged. Each station had a flag of different color, and the first player to collect all the specified flags across that four-station would be declared the winner.

The 12 member squad consisted of the following players, Bob Guernsey, Hayes Noel, Charles Gaines, Jerome Gray, Ritchie White, Bob Carlson, Ronnie Simpkins, Ken Barret, Carl Sandquist, Joe Drinon, Bob Jones, and Lionel Atwill.

The First Game of Paintball


Each squad member was equipped with a Nel-Spot gun, eye protection cover, paintballs, and a map of that 125-acre land. Each player maneuvered a different strategy to win the game. Ken Barret was the first member of the squad to be eliminated.

As I mentioned earlier, Ritchie White won the first game of the paintball without even firing a shot because he opted for stealth as his strategy and ultimately came out on top. He collected all his flags across the four stations quietly and swiftly.

This fact shows us how strategic this game is, and you can win the game if you have a good strategy. This game is used by military forces, paramilitary, security organizations, law enforcement for military and other kinds of pieces of training.

The Birth of a New Game: 

After playing the first game, an article was published in the October issue of the Sports Illustrated, written by none other but a member of that 12 men squad, Bob Jones.

Bob Gurnsy then began selling the Survival Game package for 150$. This package included paintballs, paintball markers, a rule book, and goggles. He opened the first commercial paintball field by becoming the sole distributor of the Nelson Paint Company’s products throughout the United States of America.

Paintballs developed as time proceeded. At first, the paintballs were oil-based, and then they evolved into the vegetable oil and gelatine mix, which is used nowadays.

Thus a game was born which could be played in indoor or outdoor fields of different sizes. A domain can have natural or artificial topography to provide cover to the players.

paintball outdoor game course


This game can be played in various fashions; you can collect the flags, eliminate your target, or choose a strategy of attacking your opponent or defending. Depending on the technique you decide to play with, this game can last from minutes to hours and even days in “Scenario Play.”

The legitimacy of the game varies across regions and countries. However, the basics are the same along with the equipment like protective masks, safety equipment, and the rules are standard.


The question of whether a city dweller can survive in the woods against someone who has the skills of hunting, fishing, and building fires and cabins in the woods is still a tricky one. It cannot be answered by a mere game of paintball, but this game is surely a way to develop those skills that can one day prove to be handy while facing a situation like this.

The majority of us are deprived of military and paramedic training, and this game is as near as we can get to gather skills like that.

I hope this article has developed your knowledge regarding the history of paintball. Thank you for letting me a part of your paintball journey.

Right below is the comment section. Feel free to shoot your comments and queries in the box. Break it!!

Jonathan is a retired FBI analyst. I now own a ranch and hunt regularly. I also like to write about my experiences occasionally. In scenario training, paintball is one of those things. You may find some interesting information about it!