Great staff. Can not beat their care and love for their customers. The owner Gary is a very good guy. The refs are good too. Always helpful and fair.
Great fields. Only have a few fields, but they are worth it. A few fields have trailers and dirt bunkers, which adds an effect to the strategies and tactics that need to be used (even if the trailers are slowly decaying, they still rock). Some fields have more terrain scenarios, such as lots of brush cover and rolling hills. Some have a mixture of man-made barricades, and some fields have a mixture of both. The Alamo field needs a little work, but it's still a sufficient course.
Great environment. The mixture of experienced and novice players along with the great staff and fields makes Combat Zone a fun filled time. I've only had one instance where me and my group caught people legitimately cheating and lying about it. Other than that, Everyone helps each other out and everyone is sociable. We're all there to have fun and that's what matters.
The paintball prices could be a little lower, but the admission price and the free CO2 kind of balance it out. Overall, I give Combat Zone 9/10
I have taken trips to this field in the past. It was in fact the second place I ever played the game, and It was my first "woodsball" experience. The first time I went (in '99) I had never played outdoors. I could tell right away that the proprietor had an interest in keeping play fun and above all safe. The "Rules Speech" kept people tuned in with jokes and colorfull descriptions of what to and not to do. The Refs were knowledgeable and helpfull, and the fields were numerous and had a variety of terrains. A good time was had by all.
Unfortunately things have changed at The Combat Zone.
The fields have changed little over the years, but when they have it has been a dubious improvement. The latest "feature" added was a pair of mobile homes dragged onto the field. While this may seem at first to be an interesting dynamic to add to a woodsball game there are sever safety issues presented by the mobile homes. The homes themselves had fallen into disrepair long before they arrived at The Combat Zone, and once there the neglect turned them into injuries waiting to happen. The walls of the homes have holes punched in them, along with broken lexan windows and peeling trim. The peeling metal trim is sharp, and the shattered lexan windows litter the floor inviting cuts for anyone unlucky enough to stumble. The floor itself is covered in foot wide holes broken through the plywood of the structure. If you were say paying attention to the people shooting at you rather than the holes in the floor you could easily step into one of the many holes and break your leg. With all the broken lexan littering the area outside the Mobile Homes and the holes throughout these landmarks are simply unacceptably dangerous.
The insurance and liability concerns are mind boggling.
Some of our party were using Nitrogen tanks instead of co2, and while the field had Nitrogen available they were only able to fill to 1900psi. Those of us with Matrix family markers were able to get a hopper and 2 pods, while those with 'Mags were stuck around a hopper and a pod if they were lucky. Even in woodsball Nitro is becoming the propellant of choice, and it is unfortunate to get such a low fill level.
The final nail in the coffin is the paint. The combat zone was selling white box seconds for 100$, and would not allow you to bring your own paint. The paint was breaking every other ball in every gun, and nearly all of the bags had broken paint in them already. A cursory inspection found that all of the balls were at the very least misshapen, if not cracking at the seams or broken completely.
I understand that paint is the only way a paintball field can make money. Believe it or not I have no issue paying 100$ for a case of paint. But if I am going to be paying that much for paint I at least expect it leave my barrel intact. A case of White Box seconds can be purchased for 15$ or less in many cases. Paying 15$ for what we played with is unacceptable, much less 100$. The terrible paint managed to ruin the day for many of our party.
It seems as though The Combat Zone has fallen on hard times. The rising competition from newer, better equiped fields located closer to the cities appears to be taking its toll. What it comes down to is that at its current level, it is unsafe and no fun to play there. It makes me sad to say this, but I must recommend against playing at The Combat Zone. Unless something changes drastically, I have played my last game on their fields.
If your looking for the best paintball field in MN you have to go to the CZ. I am kind of what you would call a CZ loyalist. Because of limited money, I only go up to the CZ once a month from April to October, usually the first weekend in the month. I always go up with my friend Jon. Depending on who you ask some people like us and some people don't. We call are selves Red & Blue, Im Red and Jon Is Blue. We call are selves that because I where a Red Dye Jersey and Jon wheres a Blue Evil Jersey. As to the people who like us and the people who don't. The people who like us are the people on our team and the people who don't are our victims(Note: If you hear someone say surrender, I recommend you say hit quick, especially if im the one saying surrender.). Now come The likes and Dislikes.
- They have many large fields suitable for snipers and aggressive players.
- Very elaborate defensive cover( Mobile Homes, Trucks and Bunkers).
- Gary( the owner) and the refs are all very experienced and know how to handle all situations.
- THE ALLAMO
- Many game types(CTF, Center Flag, President(politically correct name is Pirates), Fox and the Hound, Resurrection, Assassins, and Speed ball(team and ono on one)).
- Gary is the Coolest guy you will ever meat.
- Large staging area
- They do repairs
- Refs actually watch and act quick during the game( Unlike other Paintball Fields)
- Field Layouts are unbeatable
- They don't have Group size restrictions(I have gone up alone no problem)
- Really I cannot see how anyone who has played at CZ could not like the place.
- I must admit that they are kind of pricey, but they more than make up for it with everything else.
I went with a group from work as our yearly outing and I have to say I was impressed overall. They have a few fields that seem to be set up fairly well. The employess are friendly and very helpful. The refs for the most part seem to know what they are doing. The only down side is that they need to have vending set up somehow as the day I went they had no drinks there and it was 98 degrees. Good thing I brought a 36 pack of Gatorade. The only concern I have with this field is the trailers they have as they are old and some of the floors are rotten. I will return to this field in the future.
My first experience of paintball, and I couldn't hope for any better first impression.
Most of the great things about the field have already been mentioned here, so I'll just point out a few highlights and other things I noticed.
Great team! Great safety! Great fun!
That's it in short.
The team will always look for safety first and strictly enforce the rules.
I once got scolded for going close to the opening in the net without a mask when all I wanted to do was stick out a camera to take a picture, and I think that's a good thing!
Another thing I like is the variety you get on this field. The only other field I have played so far (FSL) had only one game on all day, something like team speedball (two teams trying to finish each other off). On this field you can play speedball alone or in a little team without a ref (if the ref knows you are a good sport).
What we played the most (in the morning) was capture the flag (two teams have to defend the flag in their base while at the same time trying to get the other team's flag into their own base) on a field that is well setup for this game.
Center flag is similar, but there is only one flag, and it starts out in the middle of the field. Whoever runs the fastest gets it. If you have the flag, you can wear it like a shield, and if you get hit on the flag, it does not count. Again, the goal is to get the flag into the oppenents' base. This game is usually played on the field with the two trailer homes which are quite threatening to anyone trying to sneak the flag past.
Another game is President where each team has one president, two or more body guards for the president and a few assassins. Goal is for the assassins to take out the other team's president or to get your president into the other team's base. Great fun game. You need strategy and communication skills. Or you simply camp somewhere on the way and hope that they will come your way. The president and his body guards cannot camp though.
I have not had opportunity yet to play the Alamo, but I have heard a lot about it. It seems that it being a favorite field on the site takes its toll and leaves the Alamo in a constant state of near-repair.
If you cannot play the Alamo, there are still other games to offer. A fun game for the end of the day (i.e. to get rid of the surplus of paint you may have left) is Zombie. All you have to do is to make your way to the other team's base and touch their flag pole. Easy? Well, not quite. Anyone who gets hit runs back to their base, touches their own flag pole and is back in the game, resurrected as a zombie.
The owner of the field is also known to find extreme deals on equipment every now and then.
Yes, the paint may seem more expensive, but I am convinced that this is one of the safest outdoor fields anywhere around, and you will have a lot of fun.
Beginners also have a good chance because you won't find many people with high-tech 15 shots per second markers. Using the woods as cover makes success a lot more your own responsibility. Just don't rely on the cover too much - some thick shrubs may still allow some balls to pass through...
Quite frankly, when I went to an indoor field for the first time after being used to CZ, I was very disappointed about a lot of things. Once I got used to the differences, I still had a lot of fun in the end. But my point is that an outdoor field is a completely different experience. More space, more variety in cover, more need for stealth, lower visibility and bigger teams are just a few of the differences.
I could not think of a better field to play.
Paint price (but it's worth it, never had trouble with it)
Alamo sometimes out of comission, but you get offered other games.
Combat Zone (This review)
This was a great place to play, no questions asked.
At first i was "iffy" into comming because I had heard the price was $95 per case, but my friends (we came in a group of about 12) had said they would split paint with eachother, so I said sure. Well we had to meet up at 7 AM at a local mc-d's and then leave because it was a 2 hour drive up there.
When we had arrived, I learned that this was all woods, with the exception of one very small speedball field for those in-between game waiting. They also offered the infamous "Alamo" field which was a blast (ill touch on this in a bit). Contrary to being a speedball player (only 2 others there were also speed-ball players both being in my group) there was a church group.... yes a church group :P.
Not like I'm saying having a church group is bad, but the refs kept us always on a seperate field, and when we did ask if we could join them in their alamo run, (me and my other speedball friend were a bit late so we had to run up and ask if it was to late) he simply said "no". The rest of my group was with them, and when we told him that he said "nah, it'd be no challenge for you guys, not to mention you'd slaughter them!"
That was a highlight :P, But as for the fields, they range from extremely wooded where you'd have to run up and shoot at your enemy, to a good amount of brush, where you can actualy shoot inbetween the cracks :P
The Staff was amazingly nice, they'd always help you and was friendly. They of course knew their stuff and played fair.
I defend my 9/10 with the fact of their fields and staff, but the -1 comes from the prices...
I have to say combat zone was the most fun I've had playing paintball since I've started. Unfortunately the alamo was under reconstruction when we were there, but other than that it was a blast. The ref who was also the owner was amazing, he would field strip your gun, replace paint, and help you anyway he could ..on or off the field. the all day Co2 was great and you get to leave with a full tank. He was the only one working and he was busting his butt all day long. I can't wait til the next time I can go up there. if it wasn't for the long drive I'd go there constantly.
This field is great. the staff was very friendly and i have no problem bringing my business back there. the Alamo could use some repair, but the Fields are great they range from big to small. plenty of places to hide and obstacles to manuver around. what i really like is that they are strict about safety. they clearly lay out the rules and saftey procedures in a short but clear speech. the rentals are great. tippmann pro carbines are very good guns. evry time i go there i bring people who have never played before and they always say they had a blast. the last time i brought someone knew the next day he went out and spent over $300.00 on a gun and equipment and now he loves paintball. Combat Zone is a great place for paint ball veterans and even first timers.
We had a great time at this field. The staff spent a good amount of time going over safety issues. We played all day with out a hitch. The staff really keeps the games going consistantly. The paint was reasonablly priced and we had a nice place to stage. The course was layed out well with great obstacles to use. They kept the place nice and clean while we were there. Constantly picking up behind everyone. I would recommend this place to anyone. We'll come here again.
Only other field played on was Crossfire paintball in St. Cloud, MN. Combat Zone was better although they have more land to work with.
Location - It's a little ways out there. Once you get to Hinckley, it's still 20-25 minutes of driving, part of the way on gravel roads. That being said, it's remote nature brings you out into the middle of beautiful northern Minnesota.
Staff - When I got out of my car in the parking lot, there was a little walk to get to the main picnic table area. On the way I heard the crowd of people already there burst out laughing. The staff there is, in a word, fantastic. They made everyone there, experienced player and first-timer, feel equally important and appreciated. They emphasize safety while at the same time being light-hearted about the game. Bottom line: they were fun people. I heard one of them say "If you have a problem with anything at all, come to me and it won't be a problem anymore." He was absolutely right. Any problem, from a marker malfunction to something with the field was taken care of ASAP.
Fields - The fields are very large and contain a lot of different kinds of terrain as mentioned in the other posts. Some of the bunkers are just wooden pallets that could use a sheet of plywood over them because as they stand right now you can still be shot through a majority of the bunkers. The mobile homes are an interesting spin on things since it can really get the adrenaline going to try to clear one. Unfortunatly the Alamo field met it's match during my playing time there. An entire side of the fortress fell down after one of the games, so I hope the staff gets that up and running again. All the fields are very woods-ball oriented. Some thick brush (a little too thick in some places) and a pretty makeshift speedball course (but still fun).
Facilities - The staging area had a good amount of picnic tables with canopies in case or rain. The building is just a metal storage building thing with some doors and windows cut in it. Portable toilet restrooms. No running water (for public use at least). No vending machines (they do sell hotdogs around lunchtime though). I advise you to bring plenty of water and food as the drive to town is a long one.
Value - Great. I brought my own equipment so I payed $15.00 to get in (rental is an additional $15) and $25.00 by splitting 1000 rounds with a friend ($50 for 1000). I played the whole day from 10-4 on this although if you're the kind that likes to lay down a lot of fire bring some extra cash. I wish they had the option to bring your own paint, as that would solve a lot of paint-to-barrel match problems, but CO2 fills are free. NEW INFO: AS OF NOW THEY HAVE EQUIPMENT TO FILL COMPRESSED AIR. AT LEAST UP TO 3000 PSI (NOT SURE IF HIGHER).
Normal Players - When I went there I was expecting to see some tricked-out markers, but as it turned out I had one of if not the best markers there. There are a lot of rental players (at least as of the day I was there). No flashy jerseys, just a lot of really nice people looking to have a good time. So if you're the type that want to own on everybody and bunker everyone on the field (bunkering is not allowed by the way - 10 foot limit), this probably isn't the place for you.
Conclusion: If you are up for the drive and are cool with playing pretty much woodsball, this is the place to go. While I've had some gripes about the bunkers and brush (I'm sort of a speedball player) the atmosphere of the place was perfect. Everything aside I rate as to how pleased I was with the experience, and when I left I was pleased with everything. I have no problem giving this place a 10 as long as they fix up the Alamo field and keep eveything in good working order. If you're in the area, I highly suggest playing at Combat Zone.