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Monday January 18, 2021

In 2021 we will continue our Spielfeldcheck series of articles. In every issue we visit a field for you and make a detailed report in which we inform you about the key data of the field and the special features of the individual systems. This time we went to one of the largest facilities in Germany, the PaintballFabrik inMontabaur near Koblenz.

For today's field check we have taken a long journey. From northern Hanover it went far down to Koblenz. There you will find the PaintballFabrik Montabaur on a total area of incredible 197,000 square meters. With almost 20 hectares of playing space, this facility is by far one of the largest in Germany. The name PaintballFabrik has a long tradition, because this playing field is not the first "PaintballFabrik". The name was originally created in 1999 and was still emblazoned on the facade of an indoor playing field in Hattersheim am Main, near Frankfurt. But even then the paintball factory was already something special, because it was one of the first indoor facilities ever. At that time there were at most a handful of such paintball fields in Germany. The name PaintballFabrik was carried on and on over numerous stopovers at other locations, until the new PaintballFabrik was finally opened on the large facility in Montabaur in 2010, where it inspires thousands of paintball players year after year.

The PaintballFabrik is more than just paintball – much more! In addition to the usual paintball games at the weekend, numerous major events such as big games and other events take place on site. In addition, a lot of airsoft has been played in Montabaur for several years. Since there are generally very few professional airsoft systems and the area of the system is good, the operating team decided some time ago to also offer this sport a lobby and a home on the PaintballFactory premises. On a separate area next to the paintball, with its own parking lot and counter, hundreds of airsoft players come together at the weekend to shoot their 6mm bio balls without filling. This complementary use creates synergies and makes the location in the region even more attractive and above all more competitive. But when it comes to marketing, the PaintballFabrik team doesn't need to hide anyway. In 2015 and 2016, for example, they were the only exhibitor from the paintball scene at the world-famous GAMESCOM trade fair, and they made contact between virtual action sports friends and fans of real-action paintball and airsoft. An interesting mix that is currently very rare in the German paintball scene. But definitely a future-oriented basic idea. We met the owner of the PaintballFabrik Christoph Hoffmann on site to talk to him about his system. Chris may also be known to many of you as the CEO of Massive Entertainment. ME has been one of the leading paintball providers in Germany for over a decade. While his partner Holger Ronecker takes care of the online shop and store sales together with long-time employee and paintball watch rock Marcel Schickler, Christoph or Chris, as most call him, is the driving force on the field and spends most of his day-to-day business there .

PBS: Chris, please tell us in a few short sentences what PaintballFactory is and what players can look forward to here.

CHRIS: We are here on the site of the former Bundeswehr ammunition depot "Rosengarten" on the "Denzerheide". Our facility offers everything you would expect from a modern adventure woodland outdoor playing field. We have several themed playing fields, plenty of space in the players' area, 300 bar air supply, several quality levels of paintballs to choose from and everything else you can expect from a good paintball facility. We are particularly proud of our very committed crew. Our team ensures that the games on site run smoothly and that everyone feels comfortable. The relaxed and friendly interaction between players and crew is what makes our facility so special in the end. You really feel at home here as a player and you can just have fun with your friends. We have even set up our own "ME Paketshop". Players can easily order their new equipment from our online shop during the week and we will then deliver it to the field in time for the weekend free of charge. They don't have to drive off, have very short delivery times and can play in their new equipment the next time they visit the field at the weekend.

PBS: That sounds like a really interesting investment. Thank you for all this information. Tell me Chris, 2020 was not an easy year for playing fields. How have you been?

CHRIS: Yes, 2020 has indeed been difficult. Covid-19, the restrictions and two lockdowns, including an operating ban as with all pitches in Germany, were the dominant topic in 2020. To be honest, it was a real roller coaster ride, throwing us back and forth between new participant records in summer, after the first lockdown and really hard times when the facility was completely closed like in March and April and from November onwards has. Certainly not an easy year. But we are still in good spirits. As an outdoor activity in the forest with a lot of space, we are confident that we can offer our guests a good and always solid offer in the coming year 2021. It doesn't matter whether it's a bachelor party, magfed player or for the normal hobby and leisure gamer; we will give everything again to give you a great paintball experience.

PBS: Paintball isn't the only thing you do, is it? We have already heard that airsoft is also played here. But what else is there?

CHRIS: There's still some stuff. In addition to the paintball workshop and the Area-M for airsoft, live role-playing games (LARP) are just as much a field of activity as film work, mountain bike races, cross-country runs, zombie horror events and much more for which such a special location is otherwise useful. With us it never gets boring and you can experience a lot.

PBS: So more of an action and entertainment amusement park than just a paintball & airsoft field – do we get that right? What are the small and big challenges when operating a facility like this?

CHRIS: There are quite a few. A project of this magnitude has its own problems to solve, eg the amount of parking spaces is limited, it is a water protection area. In addition, we lack the connections for water and sewage here, but you will also look in vain for telephone and internet lines. For example, we get our electricity via a 2.5 km long Mittelland line from a transformation station! The facility here has its own exit from the main road, but no mailbox! Ensuring construction, expansion and operation is a logistical challenge, thousands of trees need to be cared for, oak processionary moths are searched for in the appropriate season and destroyed before they get too close to the guests. Many authorities have special needs, requirements and wishes that we all have to take into account when making changes to the system and also during operation. The maintenance of such a large system is generally very time-consuming and expensive. In addition to nature, i.e. leaves, branches, bushes, animals and the weather, the legacies of our visitors must also be removed in order to continue to maintain a good balance between environment and business.

PBS: Wow, that sounds like a mammoth task. With all this work, how do you actually manage to further develop the business at the same time? At this point, may we also ask what changes and innovations you have planned for the coming year?

CHRIS: Now that winter is in the middle of the second lockdown and with no current perspective as to when it will end, it's hard to make any reliable announcements. What is certain, however, is that we are currently in the process of renovating the paintball fields or tearing them down in order to build them from scratch. Practically all systems are modernized and expanded, new "toys" are purchased and old ones are repaired. We're just making the best of the current situation. It can also be beneficial for the preservation of a facility if you have a while to take a breather, relax and modernize. CLASSIC paintball, i.e. mechanical game in competition, and MagFed are important topics for us, which inspire more and more visitors. We will focus more on these topics in the near future. In the period from summer to autumn 2021 we are also planning the German Open Classic tournament with international teams. It's going to be an old-school Woodland tournament, with the rules that made paintball great about 20 years ago! There are also MagFed game series, there will be color battles again, it's a big game across all fields with missions and some other content. In the area of the facility, we are currently planning to install more floodlights, create more accommodation options and more summer outdoor party for the summer season. We have big plans. That's why it can sometimes happen that individual elements are neglected, but postponed is not canceled and the day only has 24 hours. Our request to all players out there is: stay loyal to us and you will regularly experience innovations and improvements.

PBS: A great promise. We also think it's important that field operators nowadays respond to the wishes of the players and expand and modernize the systems together with them. This is the only way the sport can grow and develop in the long term. We would like to thank Chris and the entire crew of the PaintballFabrik Montabaur for this great day with lots of interesting insights behind the scenes of one of the largest paintball facilities in Germany. The field is definitely worth a trip. We wish all visitors a lot of fun on site. All further information, including the current situation, can be found on the homepage.

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