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TapHappy Sunday, September 26th, 2010
Period of
Field Use:
Just once
Date There: September 26th, 2010
1 year
Other Fields
in the Area:
The Badlandz - Chicago, IL (Better than FF)
Operation Paintball - Hampshire, IL (Worse than FF)
Wacky Warriors - Wentzville, MO (Comparable to FF)
Review: I was a bit concerned when I heard that my company had booked a paintball outing at this field, given the mixed reviews I've heard and the suspicion that it may not be a good choice for first-timers (which the entire group of 12 was, with the exception of myself and 1 other co-worker).

In actual fact, the day turned out to be great fun and I have very few complaints about the field or the staff, though I still maintain that FF is not a good choice for first-times.

First of all, this place is very, very "out in the boonies" (think outhouses and dirt roads) which allows them to stay open 24/7 so a person could even play in the middle of the night, which is an interesting concept that I haven't explored. Our fee was $25/person, which included all-day refills, mask, loader belt with 2 loaders and a gun (with an additional $5 each to upgrade from Tippmann 98's to Tippmann A-5's if we so chose...and we all did).
We did have to purchase a couple more boxes of paint as well after blowing through the 5,000 rounds that we brought in (triggerhappy newcomers). These were priced awfully steep at $70 a box for relatively mediocre paint.

The owner was very friendly, offering to let us play past the booked 9am-1pm if we wanted since some of our party didn't arrive until almost 10 and allowing us to BBQ after the games. He was very prompt and knowledgeable, answering several questions from our group and always seeing that refills and a couple of mask switchouts (two folks were complaining that their goggles were scratched) were handled in a timely manner.
I brought my own mask, so I can't attest to this issue. I only know that other people started to complain about vision as well, but a bottle of anti-fog spray we brought along fixed those.

The proshop is very small and a bit on the dirty side compared to what I've seen, but I honestly don't care as long as the people working it know what they're doing and aren't slinging a bunch of broken equipment.

As another plus, the staging area DOES require barrel plugs now, which are obviously provided. I saw a lot of reviews stating this was not the case, and asked him about it - he explained that they used to just have people point the guns down, but too many new players would still not pay attention so he started requiring plugs or covers.

We played though five of the 18-or-so fields (all woodsball except for a couple games of capture the flag in an obstacle field right outside the starting gate), and had a great time. The teams were unbalanced as hell, but that wasn't FF's fault.

Lastly, and of special note, our game was completely unreffed. From what I understand, all games at FF are like this now, which can be a big plus or a major drawback depending on your perspective. This is why I say the field is not first-timer friendly, as many people simply don't know the rules or how to play safe.

The owner explained his reasoning behind this and stated that since we had all signed waivers, we were all responsible for ourselves and each other, and he wasn't concerned. Seems rather pragmatic, but whatever.
He gave us all a primer on playing, some safety tips, had 2 of us take position as team captains, and sent us out to play. That was it. And really, aside from a lot of people having to be reminded to keep their damn masks on, it went pretty well. As long as you have an honest, reasonably intelligent group this kind of play is just fine.

So in summary:
FF was not nearly as bad as I'd imagined it would be, and if unreffed woodsball is your sort of thing, you should definitely give it a try.

Friendly staff
Reasonable all-day rate
Improved safety concerns in staging area
Lots of fields (not much overcrowding)
Open 24x7
Unreffed (good if you know what you're doing)

Field paint is about $15 per case too expensive
No water in the vending machine - just sodas
Unreffed (bad if you're not savvy on the rules)

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