Backyard Game
Backyard airsoft is a game played on private property (usually a backyard or around a house) by a small group of people. The equipment involved in such games is usually very limited and the engagement distances are very short. The games are fast paced and last less than an hour. A lot of backyard players eventually discover airsoft communities in their area and move to play on Regular fields. The recommendations on this page are intended to save you money by maximizing the resale value of the gear that you purchase for backyard games and creating an opportunity to advance to Regular games without looking like a rookie :)  You may also want to look at some of the terminology common to the sport.
Budget - How much will it cost me?
Lets consider the high level overview of costs associated with buying retail airsoft gear. Some savings can be realized by purchasing used equipment. Be sure to check the list of backyard "tourist traps" which may make you  spend a hundred dollars before you realize that good Automatic Electric Guns (AEGs) exist and that there are communities of players who play regularly.

 Detailed breakdown of the gear required is provided below in the "Equipment" section
Loadout AEG AEP Shotgun Spring Pistol
Initial Costs 170$+ Shipping 95$ + Shipping 100$ + Shipping 65$
Ongoing costs 5$ / game 5$ / game 5$ / game 5$ / game
Play style differences
What do these terms above mean? Consult the terminology section for more information.
Your choice of weapon will push you towards a certain play style, pick the one that you would enjoy!
AEG - this loadout is based on an Automatic Electric Gun being your primary weapon. Even a cheap 100$ AEG variant is capable of shooting in a fully automatic mode at about 10-12 rounds per second (with stock battery). This is similar to most real guns and this leads to an agressive play style (you have a 600 bb magazine). You can take out anyone at up to 120 feet in anything less than complete cover by just shooting at it. A LOT of shooting ("spray and pray" approach). It is recommended to shoot in no more than 1-3 second bursts (10-36 BBs), especially with a cheaper AEG.   

AEP - Here you have an Automatic Electric Pistol as your primary. This is similar to a miniaturized AEG. You don't shoot as far or as hard as an AEG and have a smaller magazine (30 rounds / 200 FPS). You are capable of a burst fire(7-9 BB/Sec), but cannot sustain it for longer than 3-4 seconds before you have to reload.. Your range is up to 50 feet. This leads to a more sneaky gameplay which relies on flanking, ambushes and stealth. Your weapon is very compact and allows you to shoot through most tiny holes from many positions.

Shotgun  - This play style is focused on pop shots with flanking and repositioning. You have a pump action shotgun which shoots 3 BBs at once, up to 70-100 feet  away and you can fire 10 times before need to reload a shell. This is a difficult play style, as shooting from a prone position is difficult and the bulkiness of the shotgun prevents you from shooting in tight spots. Ambush and flanking are your tactics of choice for this game play. This may not be the most comfortable weapon for younger players due to its large size and the need to pump the weapon before each shot.

Springer - This is the hardest style to play with, except against other springers.. You have a single shot pistol that you have to cock for each shot. Your range is 30-60 feet, depending on whether or not you have hopup feature. There are up to 20 BBs in a magazine. This style relies on stealth or very fast movement and flanking to prevail. The good news are that you cannot lose: if dead, you can say "Hey, all I got is a springer!", but if you hit someone this becomes "I got you with a springer!"
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