Skirmish is a mix of the best with a touch of the really bad. Let's give this a shot:
The first thing you'll notice in most people's opinions is the waiting it takes to get underway in the morning. This is NO joke. I first played here in 1992 and it wasn't so bad. For a few years there, we had groups organzied and were boarding the buses by about 930.
Those days are gone. If your "check-in" time is 0945-- then don't expect to be PLAYING until about 1130. Many people complain about this (rightfully so)-- I have written Skirmish at least one letter on the subject-- and they don't seem to listen to any of us. It's a 90 minute drive from Central Jersey and starting at almost NOON is a HUGE WASTE OF TIME. Earlier and more efficient starts would be the #1 way to improve this place.
#2 complaint is also similar to most others' postings-- quite expensive. it is now $30 to start-- WHETHER OR NOT you have you own gun. They then restrict you to using only their paint, which costs $105 (with tax) for less than 5 cases. Prices drop for 5 or more, and then again at 12 or more, but even then, it's still up there. I don't know about you, but I'd very much like to play this game (I go 10+ times/ year) for less than a hundred dollars. And let's face it-- at the volume that Skirmish purchases at, they're likely paying <$30 case. To be charging $80-100? That's quite a profit. Which leads to my next point...
#3 with all this profit, why after 12 years can't they install running water at the picnic area? Has anybody else caught a whiff of their latrines in the summer months? I can't see what their excuse might be.
#4 after starting out the first year fine, the new Tippmann Castle HAS become the "paint waster" that everyone says it is. The refs try to lead you to play the game where the attacking team has infinite lives (get hit, ring one of the bells on the fields, and you're 'alive' again), and the defending team, when hit, becomes a member of the attackers. Does this make ANY sense? It's a game the defense CAN'T win, so why bother playing at all if the outcome is pre-determined?!?!? So TELL the refs you want to eliminate the BS 'respawn' thing and play straight up!!
On the upside? Well, the fields are their forte. Can't beat them. I don't really know or haven't yet found another place that offers the same wooded "hunt and be hunted" feeling of their larger fields. It's why I got into the game in the first place. Wasn't paintball originally designed to simulate the feeling of combat? You can't have that feeling if you can see the other team from the start of the game like most other places.
Also, there are a couple good refs--your best bet is to get one of the adult refs. The kids often don't exert enough control. And they're terrible at controlling unruly groups which often bus in from Jersey and elsewhere.
That's about it. They have the real estate, they show effort in staging "scenario days", but I don't see the effort in logistical aspects. Get the people playing early. And either:
A) keep the prices the same, but hire more refs, or
B) keep the same # of refs and lower the prices
Instead of playing here 10 times/ year, I now play locally (NJ) 8 times and visit here only twice each year.
overall, 6.5 out of 10.
you may also want to read "earlybird00"'s post below.
Last edited on Friday, July 9th, 2004 at 1:19 pm PST
In my opinion I find Skirmish USA as a really great place to play. There are a load of fields and the refs are pretty good. The only problem would be the size of the entire area. Walking through the swamp and woods is really annoying especially when you run out of Nitro and have to walk all the way back. But all in all, I would recommend this place for both rookies and vets.
The main reason for this post is because I finally got a chance to Play the "black Hawk Down" scenerio. I got to say, it was one of the best paintball experiences i ever had. The refs told me that due to some problems when it originally came out, they closed it, reviewed the problems and opened it with new rules.
These new rules must have worked b/c i had the time of my life.
We start off with 2 sides, the US rangers inside the 2 helicopters and the skinny's on the ouside perimeter (behind the red stars) and a small group in a armored pickup truck (yep a truck! You get to drive around in a truck shooting. I at least never seen a place with that).
Basically once everything started the skinny's attack from one (sometimes 2) sides and surrond the helicopters. While defending the helicopters and the black box (the objective of the scenerio), you have to watch out for the 4 guys in the pickup truck. They got holes to shoot out from and have perfect angles when it comes around. They were given 1-1/2 laps and had to get out by some obstacles.
Once we saw them try to get out, we unloaded on the truck..all four guys fell out and were hit. Since we had no problems from one side, we eventually picked off the rest. US prevail again!
Now we changed sides and it was our turn to attack. Using some new tactics to protect the guys coming out of the truck, we laid down heavy covering fire and i believe most if not all made it out. Since battles were being fought all day, the ground got this nice coat of oil from the paint. Not enough to slip but enough to slide without getting hurt. It was actually fun sliding to obstacles as you try to outflank the enemy. Scared from the truck, i actually ran up to the helicopter from my starting position, slide parallel to the opening and while sliding unloaded into the helicopter nailing a couple. I took a hit trying to get back but had the ultimate rush playing this board.
The ref driving in the truck even gave all 20 of us a ride back basecamp. Even thanked us for giving them great battles, 13 in all throughout skirmish.
I would recommend everyone try this board out and the rest of Skirmish USA.
first time player. i thought it was well organized, a little too much break time in between, but not too bad. food was good. refs were great, very helpful. the fields were awesome. a huge variety of fields. i liked them all, though i don't remember all the names. the castle was awesome. it had 3 levels, with like 10 towers, a bunch of different entrances. attacking it was fun, but i thought it was a little to easy to defend. maybe the other team sucked, i don't know. fort skirmish was great too, although that's where i used up most of my paintballs. my favorite was the one with the giant swamp in the middle. i dont' remember the name. that was the biggest field we played in, and had the thickest wooded area which i liked. i like sneaking around by myself, and taking people out one by one, and that was the easiest field to do that in. i don't have any experience with any other place, but it would be hard to believe it gets any better than that. not much anyway. overall i give it a 9, maybe a 10, but i dont have any other place to compare it to. i definitley recommend this place for anyone. there were people of all ages there, men and women. oh yeah, be sure to save some paint for the end, so you can blow your friends away in the paint or pain.
I'm just going to clear a few things up since I'm tired of reading all of the horrible reviews people are giving Skirmish.
First thing I want to say is that Skirmish is HUGE! really, really, really huge. Perhaps too big for its own good in some cases. When you arrive at 8:30 dont be surprised to see the throngs of people also anticipating a day of paintball. That being said, if you're a walk on with a small group don't expect the world from a huge establishment. If you're a newb you may get frustrated and if you're a vet who is used to the smaller fields in your area you may not like the walk on procedures. There are waivers to fill out, equipment to rent, and paint to buy (which if you buy in bulk for a group is NOT a rip off), and all in all and can be time consuming when the walk ons are formed into groups. The refs really try their best to organize walk ons, i just cant explain how massive the crowds can be.
Unfortunately, it is my opinion that Skirmish is not for the occasional small group of 5 or so players. My adivce to you is to make reservations, whether youre a small group or a group of 20+. You will find you have a much easier time buying and renting things when you can walk to the field and have everything handed to you. Also since you can plan the courses you want to play it makes travel a hell of alot easier. As far as having a group goes, your rates become really affordable when you come with a large group. Admission drops, the pirce of paint drops, and its generally just good times to play with a group where everyone knows each other. Bottom line: If youre a walk on the registration and rental process can be tough since people with reservations kind of do get priority, so if its crowded expect a wait.
As far as the walking and elements: DO NOT COMPLAIN!! You're in the mountains of Pennsylvania; it rains, it can be chilly and yes the terrain can be rough. Deal with it. As far as I'm concerned you are DAMN lucky they have the courtesy of putting the blue pallets in some of the ridiculously muddy areas. Imagine what a horrible job it is to have to lug all those pallets through the woods and lay them down into the swampiest of areas.
What to bring on the bus to the playing fields:
You cant go back to your car once you arrive in the field area so plan ahead. I highly suggest bringing valuables onto the fields. If you think you will need them, bring a backpack to store money, wallets, keys (wouldnt wanna lose your ride home =X), phones, extra socks, or anything else you would be afraid to lose on the fields. and put them in a locker! $5 to rent a lock or bring your own and its free. Lockers are huge and can also store many cases of paint.
Now finally onto the playing:
When you get to play the fields expect an awesome time. The Woods fields are excellent because they are natural and unaltered. The Hyperball type fields are laid out nicely as well, so expect to rip through alot of games on them. I wish I remembered more of the field names because I had a great time on all the ones I played on. From what I saw the refs were awesome. One guy was new but had a good grasp on what was going on. They made sure barrel plugs stayed in and goggles stayed on when we were in dead zones, on the field, or passing a nearby field that was currently active.
Now onto the infamous Tippmann Castle...It's huge, its crazy, but sorry, its just not good compared to the other fields. Expect to blow through tons and tons of paint on this field. Its really FFA style so the refs CANNOT control what is happening, and they make that perfectly clear. There may be some jerks out there who dont want to play by the rules and youre just going to have to deal with it if you want to make the best of this field. Me personally, i restrained from shooting excessive amounts of paint and kind of started to get into it in the end, but it doesnt live up to the hype.
I have prattled on long enough. Bottom line is that Skirmish is awesome when you plan ahead and have a decent sized group. All the necessary paperwork is taken care of in advance, money is exchanged and everything is basically waiting for you once you register. The air is free for all, the rental equipment did not give anyone a problem, the refs know their stuff and make sure you play safe. I have nothing but good things to say about Skirmish.
I am giving it a 9 because I know walk-ons have it tough, and after all improvements can always be made.
I am going to be as objective as possible and write a review I wish I read before I went.
Firstly, I studied up on Skirmish as much as I could by reading other reviews on this site and speaking with people who have already been. I felt I was going into it knowing about the price of paint, the crowds, the waits, the long walks, the bus ride, the craziness at the castle and the awesome fields.
We checked in, obtained our expensive paint (which wasn't bad quality as I had read), and my group of three was put into a mixed group totaling 44 people. Some of the dudes looked like they were on a field trip from juvie hall but everyone turned out to be pretty cool. We were also assigned two refs who seemed to be capable.
Eventually all 44 of us were stuffed onto the bus with our equipment and many cases of paint (why they don't wait to sell the paint at the field I have no idea). The ride turned out to be brief and it gave our refs the opportunity to thoroughly review the rules and give some pointers.
Once we arrived at the field staging area we were assigned the one picnic table reserved for our 44 member group. We also had a chance to lock away any items we wanted into the lockers provided as long as you brought a lock. The lockers were the dimensions of a over-sized ice chest and even though they were first come first serve there seemed to be plenty.
I had brought a small cooler which turned out to be a pain in the neck to carry on the bus etc., so I should have spent the money and bought food and drinks at the playing area to lighten the load. Speaking of food and drinks; be sure to eat breakfast and drink plenty of fluids before going because it may be a while before lunch.
The privately owned guns were then chrono'd and we were finally ready for our first game. The group gathered enough paint and drinks based on a best guess on how long it will be before we will be back to the field staging area. Our first game was played on a huge wooded field that required a walk of over 1/2 mile along mud trails with slippery rocks and roots covered at some points with slippery blue pallets.
We played two twenty minute games, which were fun. We then hiked to another field for the new Black Hawk Down game. Since we were the first to actually play this game I won't trash it here but I will say that nobody walked away without taking some serious shots. The Skirmish people know they have some serious bugs that need working out (FYI, unlike Mogadishu in the early 90's, the people attacking the choppers were wiped out without mercy).
After our Black Hawk massacre we walked what seemed like a mile on the muddy trails to the field staging area for lunch (It was almost 3:00 by this time). During our hike we passed the Hood in the Woods field which looked awesome but unfortunately we didn't get the chance to play it. If I had a wish it would be to go and just play that field all day.
Upon arriving at the field staging area we realized that other groups were using our one picnic table so we all split up to find someplace to sit and try to rehydrate and re-supply.
After our lunch break we played a quick game on a wooded field and then headed to the Tippmann Castle for the final battle. Since I had an equipment failure I was only able to observe the play but it does look as crazy as everyone says. I will give credit that while there may not have been much supervision during the game there was plenty of warnings and lectures given beforehand.
I think Skirmish was something that every paintballer in the Northeast should try to experience but I don't feel a need to go through the long drive, long waits, long carries and long walks again anytime soon. Been there, done that, and it's time to move on.
My group arrived to Skirmish at 8:30 am and patiently waited until 11:30 before we were instructed to get on a bus to move us to the field location. (3 hours of no play) When we arrived to the fields(12:00) we once again had to wait. Finally at 12:45 we could get on the first field and play. (Four hours and fifteen minutes after arriving) The fields were OK, some being better than others. The refs we all friendly and helpful. At around 3:30 we were brought to the Tippmann Castle. It's a great idea, however it is a no rules field. I believe this to be for no other reason than for people to use up all of their paint so that Skirmish can sell more at an unethically high price. During the castle game , one person in my group was hit with a gun so hot the ball went right through his shirt and then drew blood. Safety is clearly not a concern at Skirmish for this was not the only incident. I myself was also hit by a hot gun in the shin. The consensus with my group was that Skirmish was off of our list of place to go!
Easy air fills
Safety Not an Issue
Last edited on Monday, May 10th, 2004 at 3:21 am PST
I've played a lot of fields, too many to list here.
I will give Skirmish credit, the fields there are top notch. But the negatives clearly outweight the positives. For starters you're herded into the campground area like cattle with no clue as to what's going on. Then the refs bully you onto the busses before everyone is ready, only to go to another holding area to sit. If you go on a day that they are busy, you will not start playing until at the earliest 11a.m. For all the pushing and bullying they do, they still can't get a decent start time. Another serious drawback were the referees. These guy were not good. They seemed out of it the entire day. The last time I was there we were a group of 90 players. It is EXREMELY difficult to control 90 people, let alone with a referee yelling at half of the group to get moving, while the other half is still loading their paint.
One of the biggest problems I had was the complete cluster that they call the Tippmann Castle. Their only goal is to get as many people on the field as they can, and that is not a good strategy. People were lighting guys up, turning their guns up, and generally playing like there were no rules. Basically there weren't, the referees were huddled in the castle and I didn't hear them call out a single person. Guys were getting hit 15-20 times and never leaving the castle, that's not fair. Then our referee (Crazy Bill I think they called him) had the balls to yell at one of our guys because Bill decided to walk into his line and he got hit. He was face to face with my buddy screaming at him like he was a drill seargent. Listen, if you don't want to get hit, watch where you're walking. That incident nearly started a brawl in the castle. Not good times.
Terrible referees(I'm talking to you Crazy Bill)
Safety was lacking
I've been playing paintball for 13 years, and my last trip to Skirmish was by far my worst experience. It was the only time I returned home in a bad mood, and that is not good for business.
I have a huge dislike for Skirmish USA they are the worst in PA. I will say the Fields are pretty good, but once you see your bill you will think you have bought a gun or something. The price of paint is terrible , 100$ and this paint is crap. The refs are ok, but don't go on a busy day you will never play. The addiude is bad, if you arn't an expert you get bossed around and treated like you don't know anything. The rental guns are worse they are sooo bad my friend rented one when we went and then it broke then so did the next, and the next. He wasted more time in the shop that playing. DON'T GO HERE, it cost way too much. Go to E.M.R for a good time.
bad: everything else
Last edited on Tuesday, May 18th, 2004 at 9:02 am PST
This is a great place to go. I went up there on a Saturday and there were a lot of people there, but you go into groups so it isn't over crowded. They have over 50 fields and 1400 acres of land. A lot of their courses I played are great, especially the Hyper Ball field and the Tippman castle. They are a bit expensive and a lot of their workers look like they are stoners!! But it's ok because the refs and other people are all real nice folks. The only problem I have with this place like I said earlier is the cost, and the other thing is that there are logs, rocks, trees, sticks, boulders, and other crap all over the ground because it is in the middle of the mountain. I ran at the one field and tripped over a stick and flew across the field and scraped my arm. It's alright, I walked it off. The one kid in our group broke his arm because he tripped over that stuff. So you have to be real careful up there.
Overall it's a good field, not perfect and does have a few disadvantages. Overall I give it an 8 out of 10
When I was younger (around 13), I loved Skirmish. It was everyone's favorite place to go paintballing among my friends. Every year from when I was 13-18, my friend's Dad would rent a coach bus to take about 25-30 of us down for paintballing on my buddy's Bday. And we had the best time.
I'm 22 now, and I just recently went to Skirmish after not going for 4 years. And I have to say I was thoroughly disappointed. Don't get me wrong, the fields are amazing. Some are so big, you could actually get seperated from your group if you go lone wolf style. The diversity of the fields are second to none in my opinion and they have great event days like DDAY that really immerse you into the WWII battlefield.
Anyway, back to why I was disappointed. First of all, the refs really don't care about fairplay. Either that, or they must be blind. There is so much paint wiping I couldn't believe it. There's so many people in each game that it makes cheating easy to get away with, and that just takes ALL the fun out of paintball in my opinion. After a lot of money spent and time wasted, I was beginning to wish my A5 was shooting 9 mm rounds.
Another problem is the Tippmann Castle field. Don't play this field if you don't want to be shot atleast 30 times. They play 100 people defending the castle, 300 people attacking but there's a catch...when a defender is hit, he/she must walk out of the castle to the back of the offenders and ring a bell to respawn as an attacker. The defenders have 20 minutes to stop the invading force. Sounds all good right? Until you are a defender and you're shot. Then you have to walk out of the front or side of the castle where 300+ itchy trigger-happy guns are pointed at you. As soon as you take that first step outside, you are bombarded with paint. And don't think that everyone is shooting 280 to 300 fps, oh no! For the castle games, most experienced players whip out their allen keys and boost it up for range across the open castle field. Do the refs care? Hell no! It is their job to make sure that the came is played fairly and safely, but they can't watch every single person when there's 400 people shooting at eachother.
Another problem with Skirmish is their very high price. Holy crap is paint expensive, and if you're going with newbies, Skirmish rips them off with all the different rentals. Don't even think about a BYOP at this monopolyptic (is that a word?) field.
My last two problems with Skirmish is that 1) it's far away from me and its in the middle of no where...and 2) the staging area is just plain stupid. You have to sit in this little campground where no one knows what the hell is going on, until ur shoved on a school bus and taken to another staging area. You wait and wait, and then finally someone takes you to a field. Overall if u get there at 8:30, expect to be on a field around 11. It's a long ass waste of time.
If you're going to skirmish with enough people for a private field and you enjoy flushing 100s down the toilet, skirmish is the place for you. If you hate crowded fields that are real expensive and run by a bunch of morons, avoid it at all costs. It's not worth it.