Thursday, September 22, 2011


Carter over at M. Carter Brown posted up a copy of May 1986 Frontline Magazine he scanned recently. Things have changed. Many for the better but looking and reading the articles, I bet the guys were having a heck of a lot of fun. I didn't start playing until a few years after this, but the pictures looked familiar enough. Some of the most interesting pages were the advertisings for me. Even back when I first started playing and buying the odd paintball magazine, I probably spent just as much time looking over the ads as I did the articles. I have a feeling most new players still do this, only today they are looking at what's available on the internet (no wonder print media is dying).

Being a field owner, the ads by other fields (in May 1986) caught my eye right away of course. For about $25 you could play for several hours including a pump action marker, camo, goggles (not like today's goggles of course) and included 2 to 3 tubes of paint and a couple of CO2's (12 gm.) . The tubes of paint held 10 balls of course. Additional paintballs, for those who wanted to go hog wild, could be purchased for about 15 cents each (or $1.50/tube). 40 cents for an additional co2 cartridge, which you would probably need for every 1.5 to 2 tubes of paint.

So I wanted to see what $25 in 1986 compared to in 2011 and googled an inflation calculator to find out. The answers varies slightly, depending on what indexes are being used in the calculation, but the answer is that $25 in 1986, is almost exactly double, or $50, today. I wonder if the average player today would be satisfied if they received a pump gun, 30 paintballs and 2 CO2 cartridges for $50? Of course they might be if paintball was in its infancy, pump guns were the only thing available, and the guy that shot over 50 paintballs in a day was considered an extremist. Heck, if they didn't know any better, players might be quite happy to fork over $50 and shoot 30 paintballs in a 3-4 hour session. They were then.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mathematical equation for the success and growth of Competitive Paintball

Rereading my previous post, I realized it was damn hard to follow and comprehend (I blame it on Captain Morgan; he can be a bad influence). Therefore I'm going to write it down as a very simple mathematical equation that anyone that passed grade 6 math should be able to understand. Please, if there is actually a real economics equation for this, I apologize for my simplicity. This is the way it looks in my head (which tends to be very simplistic).
For competitive paintball to be successful, the following equation must hold true for enough individuals to sustain the activity (by the way, this also is the case for recreational paintball):



The enjoyment of taking part in the activity. With competitive paintball that enjoyment often takes the form of satisfaction (i.e. satisfaction of winning or placing well or the satisfaction that comes with improvement), but it also includes anything that has a positive effect on the experience (i.e. camaraderie with teammates, adrenaline associated with hunting and being hunted among others)

The pain, discomfort or dissatisfaction of taking part in the activity. The pain in competitive paintball (actually all paintball) is an obvious physical discomfort. The more often one is hit, the more the discomfort accumulates. Dissatisfaction in competitive paintball is similar to dissatisfaction in almost all competitive team sports. It can be frustration with team members, frustration with tournament organization, officiating among many others. Basically anything that will have a negative effect on the experience (hence it follows a negative sign in the equation).

The financial cost to take part in the activity. This will include all finances to train for and take part in competitive paintball events. It also includes associated indirect costs such as travel, accommodations and food.

The time that the activity takes. This is time that if the person were to not take part, they could use to do something else (i.e. time that could be spent taking part in another activity, time that could be spent with loved ones, family or friends). Time is a resource, much like money. Time is not limitless; everyone only has a certain amount of it. As our society and cultures advance, it seems that individuals have less and less free time, meaning that time becomes a more treasured or valuable resource.