Nitro Paintball - Different, better I think, but not as close.
Ultimate - Better prices, more tournament oriented clientelle.
Maximum - Still better prices, but definitely not as nice facilities or fields. Unless you count an onsite pro-shop.
Directions to the Field:
Believe it or not the directions given on PBA's site are surprisingly accurate. The field is tucked kind of off the beaten path, but just follow those directions and you'll be there in no time.
I actually hadn't played at PBA for about a year and a half, not since paint was $107/case and before they moved to the newer Shiloh road location. If you are on your way to the field you will probably pass by the old field location and see the nice new subdivision they are putting up there now.
After talking to one of the guys in the Cumming store I decided to pay them a visit for the first time in a long time. On Wednesday's during the summer the field is open from 10-6 and the prices are lowered a little bit, it was this offer, as well as the lure of some X-ball that got me on my way before work one day.
Well, to start I paid $75 bucks, that's $15 for field and all day air and $65 for a case of PMI Premium. Still a little rich for my blood, but acceptable, Ultimate charges $60 for their Premium's. And I believe Maximum charges about the same for their field paint. The difference being that Maximum and Ultimate are both BYOP all of the time whereas PBA is only occasionally
The field itself is a complete 180* from what it used to be, the old PBA was almost all big woodsball fields, the new sports only one, a speedballish field with some thickets, and a mounds field. After that there are three or four speedballs counting Hyperball. They also have an X-ball, but sadly it wasn't up the day I was there.
I liked most of the fields, although I could quibble and say that the were generally all on lateral inclines, it wasn't that big of a deal. Hyper ball was a lot of fun as were Legos and the more traditional speedballs. Mounds was sort of a mystery to me, since I'd never played one before I didn't get it at all, the only thing I could think to do with it was a run through. The newer players, and there were a lot of them, loved it though and you can't knock a business for pleasing their customers like that. All of the grassed fields were in excellent shape, although that may be attributed to recent rains perking them up a bit.
There were a good number of other players considering that school had just started back for the high-school and younger set. In this respect it was just like the PBA of old, a lot of new players and very few who were very experienced. This tends to skew games a bit as one or two strong players can really make a difference for a team. Expect the first couple games of the day to be the refs trying to get teams fairly even, which, IMO they did a nice job of.
The reffing was fairly efficient and the rules, especially those pretaining to safety were explained often and clearly. If you have an accident, especially a goggle related one at this feild it's all on you, they explained goggle rules before EVERY. SINGLE. GAME. Sure that gets tedious after the first 5 games or so, but some people have short memories and need to be reminded.
Rules are set out clearly pregame, and definitely favor the younger players, there is a ten foot surrender rule, and no bunkering. Understandable for a field where new players make up such a large part of the customers.
Facilities were nice, the staging area had plenty of tables and shady areas either under nice trees od artifically covered. There was also complimentary papertowel and a jug of water and paper cups to keep everybody hydrated. There is no proshop on site, so if you're going to need repairs have your own parts kit ready. They have air fills to 4500, but it is not self serve like some fields, so if there's a crowd plan on waiting.
Games themselves went by fairly quickly, and you will play a good number of games in the course of a day. This is ensured by the fact that the refs try to run two straight games per field before returning to the staging area to pod up. Some of the fields are fairly close to the stagin area, so if you have a chance and can hurry you can grab another pod between games.
I think that covers just about everything important. All in all, I had a pretty good time, much better than I expected, even with no X-ball. It's good to see that PBA is finally going back in the direction of serving the players instead of filling their pockets. I'll be back around for sure.
Last edited on Sunday, August 13th, 2006 at 5:32 pm PST