Ghillie Suit Rules v.1
Due to the fact that ghillie suits are promoting more bounces by catching balls and absorbing the impact, game promoters and some fields have enacted a "bounce only" rule. This rule states that if a player wearing a Ghillie suit is hit, he or she is automatically eliminated, despite if the ball has broken or not. Originally designed to even the playing field for everyone, this rule has created other numerous other problems. Some of which are far more damaging to the overall game than a few bounces.
A player need only think that he or she had hit a sniper for a problem to be started. Lets look at the current ruling and a situation that is taking place more and more often. The sniper has managed to crawl into a good position. He is well concealed in the bush. After firing upon the enemy, they begin to fire back in the general direction of said sniper. The sniper does not receive any hits, but the opposing force begins to yell to the refs that they "know" they hit him because of the shear volume of paint that has been expended. As a ref, what are you to do? There are no visible hits on the sniper, but then again there doesn't have to be any. The sniper says he was not hit, but yet he has no way to prove to either the ref or the opposing players that he is not cheating. In the end the sniper is going to lose, even if the ref rules in his favor. He will be branded a cheater and will probably be lit up pretty bad in his next encounter with those players. If he is called out, then he loses because he has to leave his spot that he worked so hard to get to. Now what would happen if a ref was not around? That is when player justice would take over. If they "know" that they had hit the sniper (even though they indeed had not) they would come to the false realization that the sniper was cheating. Upon that thinking, they would decide to stop calling hits on themselves as a means of "payback". This has a dangerous snowball effect that will ruin a perfectly good game in just minutes. When it is in your mind that you just spent an entire hopper of paint into a bush, you don't want to think that yes, maybe you did miss him. It is hard for some people to fathom, so that will breed anger between players and ultimately lead to arguments and fights on the field. A snipers only defense against these kinds of altercations is to call themselves out whenever a round even comes close to them. That, however does not make for a very fun game of paintball.
As the rule states now, a player need only roll a ball and touch the boot of a sniper for him to be eliminated. This is not leveling the playing field, this is stacking it against the snipers. Snipers lose a lot of what makes them snipers by following this rule. They cannot risk being on point, or crawling deep behind enemy lines because of the lethality of a single errant paintball. They must move in groups of people and keep themselves out of harms way. Other players enjoy the benefits of the occasional bounce. It is part of the game. Overweight players and players that wear loose fitted clothing benefit from bounces as well. Granted the ghillie suits wearers get more bounces than the average player, it is still not an unfair advantage. Nonetheless, we recognize the fact that our percentage is higher and have come up with what we believe is a viable solution to accommodate all parties equally.
The only way to make it even across the board is to make every player on the field equal. The field is no place for arguing rules. They should be understood completely before entering the game.
Before the start of the game, any player that will be wearing a ghillie needs to meet with the head ref. The suit will be shot five times from a distance of 20 feet. If there are more than 2 bounces, that suit will not be allowed on the field. The player will be given the option of wearing the suit as it is shot, to help recreate actual field conditions. Player must also supply his own field approved, chronographed marker & paint for the test. If a players suit passes, he or she will be issued a tag ( usually a zip tie or other hard to remove device) that needs to be affixed to the suit so that it cannot be changed to another suit. This tag will identify the suit as being field approved. Upon entering the field, insertion referees will check all suits for said tags. Referees on the field will do spot checks as well to ensure that all suits on the field are approved suits only. If a player is found on the field wearing an illegal suit, it will be considered the same as cheating and he or she will be ejected from the remainder of game.
Game approved suits will be under the same rules as all other players. A hit must break for it to be an elimination. This gives ref's a way to check potentially hit players, and keeps everyone on the same level. The suits that would be used on the field would be thinner in construction, so as not to create such ball traps as previous ones have. It does not take away the snipers ability to get into the game, but it does not give them an unfair advantage as well. Everyone will know that the ghillie suited players are under the same rules as everyone else, so there will be no arguments on who was hit or not.
We are always looking to improve our rule, so if you have any amendments, please e-mail me at Squeegie@paintballzone.com with your suggestions. Thank you.