It's kind of a combination of hockey, soccer (or football), Nascar, and paintball. Essentially, you play multiple 'rounds' where the objective is to score a flag hang (like a goal or touchdown). The round is over when time is up or a point is scored. The hockey element comes in because you can get 'power-plays' by other players being put into a penalty box for a certain amount of time. This usually occurs because of swearing, cheating, playing on, etc... Also, one key difference between normal paintball and X-ball is that there are sideline coaches (like football), and any spectator can shout anything they want. It definitely adds an interesting element!
During an X-ball match, the players shoot a TON of paint. The Nascar element also comes into play. One, you need a pit crew. The time between rounds is so quick (60 seconds) that you need 3-4 people who just grab fresh pods from a box and slap them into the player's harnesses. Two, the pit crew must clean up all hits and wipe masks down for the players. It looks like a security checkpoint off the field, because the players stand there with their arms out to the side, and the pit crew is wiping them down, pulling out empty pods, adding fresh ones, then pushing them back into the start gate. It's a fast and furious game, and if it were cheaper, I think it would catch on really well.
Another element that is overlooked is that it's a step toward a 'National' paintball sports league. Sure, we have NPPL, PSP, and who know how many other leagues... but this is the only one where a syndicated team from one city travels and play a team from another city in a 40-80 minute match. It's like saying "hey the Lakers are playing the Pistons tonight!," except it's "the Oakland Assassins are playing Chicago Aftershock this weekend!" They play multiple rounds, there are many, many eliminations, and there's a lot of opportunity for a comeback! There's a lot of drama in the upper echelon of the paintball leagues right now though, so it remains to be seen if X-ball continues to catch on...
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