... eighteen perfect idiots ...
— The Administrator
In Team Fortress 2, the premise for the game is that there are two companies locked in a long war against each other: RED (Reliable Excavation Demolition) and BLU (Builder's League United). These companies make up the two teams that the player can fight for. There is also a third "team", Spectator, which a player can join if they wish to spectate the participating players. Additional "teams" exist for various Halloween bosses and entities so that their AI can target players on both RED and BLU, and be attacked by both teams.
When the player joins a server or presses whichever key is bound to
.); an interface pops up allowing the user to select their team: 1: Random/Auto Assign, 2: Spectator, 3: BLU or 4: RED.
In Arena Mode, the player can either choose Spectator or ‘Fight’, which will automatically assign them to either RED or BLU at the beginning of the round, depending on which side has the least players.
By default, a player may be unable to choose a particular team if there is a player difference (between the teams) of 1; the player will only be allowed to choose the smaller team. Server administrators are able to turn this feature off, or adjust the player-difference number via the Console command:
Once in-game, a player can check the teams by displaying the Scoreboard via the default key:
Tab, or the console command
During a game, a player works with their team to fulfill the objectives of the game mode they're playing. In attack-defense game-modes, RED is the defending team and BLU is the offending team.
Some classes have weapons that are designed to interact with a player's team, for example, the Medic's Medi Gun is used to heal teammates and the Soldier's Buff Banner, once charged, makes all damage done by nearby teammates mini-crits.
While the objective of most games is to help your team, certain players will ignore the objective or combat, and play as a pseudo-support class to both sides.
A team can consist of a maximum of 8 players on console, and 16 players on PC, each being one of nine Classes. Each class is designed to be functionally different than the others and has weapons, to fulfill a particular role within a team. All of the nine classes are split into 3 sub-groups: Offensive, Defensive and Support.
In Spectate Mode, a player can watch the match through the eyes of any of the participating players, or roam around freely. While respawning, a player will be in spectate mode (but will not be listed as part of the Spectate team) until that player respawns.
While spectating, a player may use the primary and secondary fire buttons (Default:
Mouse 1, and
Mouse 2) to cycle their view through the participating players; a player can also use the spacebar key to switch between a first and third-person perspective, or go into "noclip" mode (fly freely around the map), if the server allows.
- Yellow and green teams existed in some maps in the original Team Fortress.
- ↑ This is due to the server player limit being capped at 16 on Xbox 360 & Playstation 3, and the player limit being capped at 32 on PC