Speedball VS. Woodsball; Which One Should You Play

Speedball VS. Woodsball

Many new paintball players are always caught between speedball vs. woodsball dilemma. Paintball is a fun and engaging activity. It is becoming one of the most popular pastimes for children and adults. 

Some folks play professionally in high-stakes tournaments, while others play casually with their friends.

The game takes on many formats. Two of the most popular paintball formats are speedball and woodsball.

Both formats take on different sets of rules. They also require different levels of strategy, tactical awareness, and precision. Today we shall look at the two formats, their differences, requirements, and other related topics.

What Is Speedball?

Speedball is a version of paintball played in an outdoor enclosure. Players get separated into two teams with the same number of members. The field has bunkers that cover members who try to mark each other.

The winner gets determined when one team captures the other’s flag. The race to 2 formats is slightly different, where teams score points by touching the opponent’s flag. The games are short and competitive.

What Is Woodsball?

Woodsball is a version of paintball played in a natural environment or setting. It typically gets played in lightly forested areas or small town-like structures. There is no limit to the play area, and games can last hours.

The objective is to eliminate your opponents by marking them using paintballs. Woodsball tries to simulate actual combat environments. It is the most common format of competitive paintball.

What Are The Differences Between Speedball And Woodsball?

Woodsball and speedball share many similarities. These are two of the most widely adopted formats of outdoor paintball. The two have many differences. They include:

1. Attire differences

There are several differences in paintball players’ attire for woodsball and speedball. The player’s attire mainly gets influenced by the trail or terrain.

Woodsball gets played in rougher environments. The attire has to keep up with the environment. It is no surprise that the clothes are typically more rugged and sturdy to survive the terrain.

Woodsball players normally wear padded clothes and extra protective layers to shield them from the rough outdoors.

Speedball players can get away with using fewer layers and less padding. The playing environment is not as rough. They, however, have to wear protective attire, as outlined by paintball safety requirements.

The tactical differences between the formats also influence how the players dress. Woodsball requires some camouflage.

It is common to see woodsball players dressing in military-style camo, as it helps them blend better in their environment. 

Staying inconspicuous is tactically advantageous in the woodsball format. Seedball players don’t require the same level of camo. They typically dress in their team colors.

Woodsball players must have tough and rugged shoes to maneuver uneven and rocky terrain. Speedball players can get away with using trainers for their games.

Speedball and woodsball players must dress in the standard safety equipment. It includes goggles and protective masks.

2. Types of Paintball markers used

Speedball and woodsball require different types of paintball guns. Different markers are better tactically suited for these formats.

Woodsball battlefields are typically larger. It would help if you had a paintball gun that could shoot longer distances. Most woodsball players use either pump markers or mechanical paintball guns.

Pump markers give you decent range, allowing the players to hit targets that are far away. It gives you a tactical advantage over folks using electronic markers. In woodsball tournaments, you do not need to reload as often as you would in speedball.

Mechanical markers are ideal for woodsball. These paintball guns get fitted with tension springs. The spring action combined with the PSI tank output enables players to optimize their shooting range, which is quite useful in a large play area.

Speedball has a smaller play arena. They do not require paintball guns that have a large firing range. 

They, however, need guns with a decent FPS count and a fast and consistent firing rate. It is why electronic markers are popular with speedball.

Electronic markers are capable of rapid fire, which is handy in close-quarters battles. They are a great option for stealth games. 

These guns can help you mark several players in short quick bursts. They are great for controlled shots, as they have virtually no recoil.

3. Playing area

The playing field is one of the most distinctive features of woodsball and speedball. Woodsball typically gets played in lightly forested areas. There are no limits to the play area size. As a result, games typically last long.

Some serious tournament formats last as long as two days. Woodsball players cover large portions of land as they play. It gives them enough space to reenact battles and other historical war scenarios.

Contrary to popular belief, woodsball isn’t only limited to the woods. Players can set up temporary ruins or ghost towns for their encounters. 

There is no limit to the scope of these games, and players can go all out. It makes the games fun and unpredictable, and less tactical. Woodsball relies heavily on teamwork rather than strategy.

Speedball has a set play area. It is smaller and usually laid out on flat terrain. Players erect temporary bankers that they can use as cover and obstacles.

Speedball play area usually limits the time you spend in your battles. The games require a higher tactical awareness, faster decision-making, and strategy. It is great for recreation. Speedball is less expensive and less time-consuming, making it more popular.

4. Number of players on each team

The team sizes of woodsball and speedball vary. For woodsball, the number of players on either team depends on the play area size.

Woodsball typically consists of more than ten members. Large team size is advantageous as it allows players to spread out and occupy large areas. The size of the play area makes crowding difficult and allows teams to cover large tracks.

Some large format woodsball tournaments can have hundreds of members on either team. These events typically last days.

For smaller areas, you might have teams with less than ten members. It is, however, not common in many woodsball games to have fewer than 15 players on either team.

Speedball rules stipulate that the number of members on either team should not exceed ten, depending on the game type. Each team has to field three, five, seven, or ten players depending on their speedball variation.

The National Professional Paintball League runs seven-aside-style tournaments. Organizations such as the Millennium Series run similar tournaments with different player number requirements.

Casual and non-league speedball games allow you to field any number of players as long as they don’t exceed ten. 

These games typically get played in less than 20000 square feet. You, therefore, don’t get crowding during the games.

5. Strategy and Tactics Involved

Depending on your tactical aptitude, you may excel at either woodsball or speedball. Both games have very different approaches and demands.

Woodsball is heavily reliant on teamwork, territory, and ambush. You get more time to plan your attacks, and there is barely any pressure to make quick, tactical, split-second decisions.

Woodsball takes on three distinct formats: Attack and defend, flag capture and elimination.

Flag capture requires the members of opposing teams to try and acquire flags from the opposition. 

Attack and defend involves laying siege and storming your opponent’s territory. Elimination requires teammates to mark as many of their opponents as possible.

Speedball is quite different. It requires speed, intelligence, and lots of tactical awareness. You don’t have as much time to think and plan your attacks. It is ideal for super-competitive folks looking for a quick thrill.

Speedball players must be accurate and decisive as they move around the arena. Any hesitation gets you eliminated from the game. Players spend lots of time planning before the game, and you can hardly adjust your strategy mid-game.

Speedball and woodsball play to different levels of tactical strength and application. Speedball is more demanding due to the risks involved in making the wrong decisions. Woodsball is more relaxed in terms of tactics, but it is a more physically demanding game.

6. Match Pace

The game pace varies between speedball and woodsball. The differences mainly occur due to the arena size differences and the different tactical and strategic approaches.

Speedball is a fast-paced game that requires players to move quickly and make decisions at the moment. Players rely on rapid-fire markers and storm tactics to capture large territories within the game.

Speedball games typically last no longer than five minutes per round. It is popular because the games are short and highly competitive.

There are fewer players to eliminate, and the play area is small so players can go all out in their games. Some speedball games get timed, so players get incentivized to play faster.

Woodsball is a slower-paced game when compared to speedball. Players don’t need to move most of the time quickly. 

You get more time to plan attacks and execute them. Most of the time, players spend tiding and blending into their environment, making them harder to eliminate.

The play area is comparatively larger. It is, therefore, not easy to eliminate many players at a go, as is the case in speedball. Players have to spread out and look for each other.

Some woodsball games last up to two days, depending on the size of the play area and the number of players. 

These games usually don’t get timed, so players spend much time searching and hiding from one another.

Common Safety Regulations For Woodsball And Speedball

Whether you are playing woodsball or speedball, there are regulations that you must observe. They include:

Safety masks

A safety mask protects your head from getting hit by paint projectiles. When fired at the right speed, a speedball gun can be harmful. A safety mask keeps paint splatter from going into your nose and mouth.

When playing, wear goggles

When playing paintball, you must wear eye protection. In tournament play, lowering your goggles immediately ejects you from the game. 

If the paint includes specific chemicals, splatter in your eye could cause short-term vision loss. The impact could destroy your eyes.

Maintain the storage tank in good working order

Store your tanks according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Keep any pressurized canisters out of direct sunlight. 

It would help if you stored cans upright. Do not store the cans in a humid environment. Properly dispose of these cans.

Use the proper paintball marker tank.

Using the incorrect tank has an influence not just on your performance but also on your health. The incorrect tank could result in gas leaks, which could have significant consequences. It may cause internal gas line damage in your gun.

Respect the rules of the game.

It would help if you did not shoot paintballs outside the specified play area. Paintball guns are not toys; do not fire them outside a testing facility or current match, especially if you are testing a new paintball gun. Paintball fields should be located in open areas, away from humans.

Don’t skimp on the air bottle.

Avoid using low-cost, low-quality gas tanks. These tanks are prone to exploding, particularly if left in bright sunlight. Choose one that is very air efficient and appropriate for your speedball gun.

Wear paintball pants.

The crotch portion of paintball pants is specially padded. It aids in the prevention of impact injuries. 

Before every game, double-check the padding. These pants are a necessity for all woodsball players.


Speedball vs. woodsball are two of the most popular paintball games. Both forms follow distinct sets of regulations. They also necessitate varying degrees of strategy, positional understanding, and finesse.

Speedball is a version of paintball played in an outdoor enclosure, whereas woodsball gets played in a natural environment or setting.

John Henrick

My name is John Hendricks, and I am a passionate paintballer who loves to play and compete. I have been involved in the sport for many years and have a wealth of experience to share.
I believe that paintball is a great sport for people of all ages and skill levels and should be accessible to everyone. That’s why I created this website – to provide a one-stop shop for all things paintball.

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