Screen Shot 2015-09-17 at 11.46.58A little left-field but traditional style board games are the new rock and roll…Er, a bit of an exaggeration but they are ‘quite cool’ once again for a lot of people.

Now, on the occasions we cannot dress up as soldiers and run around the woods going ‘pew, pew’ it is nice to – dare I say – ‘socialise’ with the family. Now, this process needn’t be as painful as you might suppose and that’s where today’s boardgames come in. Forget Monopoly (and the family arguments that it results in) or that beige bag-o-monotony Scrabble – how about an evening of adventure, daring-dos and untimely sticky ends?

Every couple of Friday nights my family and I sit down to battle it out on the cardboard battlefield and this week we tried out Gamewright’s ‘Forbidden Island’ (duh, duh, duuuuuuuhhhh)!

This is typical of the modern slew of board games that have been hitting the marketplace, it replaces tedious plods around a game-board circuit with a tense and imaginative adventure where you and your compatriots take on the roll of a cast-way roll (think TV’s ‘Lost’) on a mysterious island which – frankly – is out to kill you!

This game is for 2 to 4 players with a age range of 10 and above – now at this point I say ‘hold on there’ because you saw ‘age 10 and above’ and were about to switch off weren’t you? A word to the wise, a group of adults drinking wine while playing a board game easily falls into the intellectual category of ‘age 10’, believe me I talk from experience. Overly complicated games and booze do not mix! Forbidden Island is just the right balance of simple game mechanics and intriguing game play and theme.

Forbidden Island

The ‘plot’ is simple: You and your ‘Scooby Doo’ gang have landed on a mysterious island on the look-out for arcane treasure. To escape the island you must collect four mythical objects and get them back to your helicopter as a team. Simple enough? Oh well, did I mention that the island is sinking?

Honestly, this is stupendous fun (it must be to warrant the use of the word ‘stupendous’)! For starters this is a co-op game – you are all on the same side (against the island) so none of that pain in the arse huffing like you get in Monopoly when someone get’s knocked out! And furthermore, because you are all in it together and each have a very particular specialist skill you have to co-ordinate as a team to complete the tasks in the most effective (and quickest) way!

Forbidden Island

The Diver – one of the special characters in the game. You are allotted a character and this gives you some special skills – obviously mine was swimming, which is very handy on an island that is sinking!

All through the game the water levels are rising and bits of the island become flooded and then, eventually, disappear altogether hampering your task. For such a simple game mechanic things start to get very, very tense as you all try to negotiate water obstacles to escape.

Now, hopefully I have communicated the excitement of this game, but if not here is a – hopefully- the clincher. We lost our first game – the island sank just as we were about to recover the last mystical object and return it to the helicopter pad to make our escape. Despite this the whole group of us thoroughly enjoyed the adventure, every one of us was engaged in the storyline (even the wife, who famously ‘doesn’t get’ roll playing games) and several times during the course of the quest we were all on our feet pointing out ‘better ways’ to cooperate in order to finish in time.

Forbidden Island

Whah, whah, whaaaaaaah! Game over! The island sank.

It’s a cliche – but this game really brought us together.

Forbidden Island is destined – I know – to become a firm ‘starter’ game (as it only takes up to an hour at most). It’ll really warm the group up before we undertake longer and more complex games, but even if that’s the only game you play in an evening I don’t think you will be disappointed. Buy it now!



Some of you may have noticed a marked increase in the output of Raptors social media pages of late. Both twitter and Facebook.

I would love to say this is because Swampy and Spider have become more knowledgeable and conscientious about publishing stuff, but lets be honest it would be easier to get a noob to take their hits at Ground Zero than that.

It’s all down to the enthusiasm of previous contributer MilGeek who has started penning (should that be keyboarding?) upon our pages. A long term airsofter and self confessed old fart (probably why he fits right in…) for those who don’t know him we heartily recommend his own pages on airsoft, military history, modelling and computer gaming. You can find him over on the MilGeek Blog and his spin off pages chronicling his modelling past times. (No. Not that kind of modelling you filthy minded…)


..and he does graphics too!

..and he does graphics too!

We’re sure you’ll like his stuff and he shares a fun first ethos like us, has a penchent for Ruskie gear, for those that can recognise him he’s has already appeared in our vid for Centurions CQB game at Scarbrough and written the report

Welcome aboard buddy.


5 Years on and still going strong…

Who’d have thought this website nonsense would still be getting read? Haven’t you all got better things to do?…

Rest assured more to follow and thanks for popping in!

2 blokes, too many airsoft guns, no sense.

2 blokes, too many airsoft guns, no sense.


Back again for some more!

Just a mere 2 weeks since our last visit we were once again at the still new NSC Site, East Boldon.

Another warm day, this time we brought a couple of buddies along to give NSCs new site another bash – and hopefully not get lost this time!

A familiar format started the day off.

Good briefs and chronos all round then off to a limited site game over quite a short range. Plenty of respawns to encourage players to get stuck in and get moving. Simple shoot and scoot also lets new players, of which there were plenty, get used to the AEGs and to getting shot!

Knock Knock?....

Knock Knock?… shortly before the gearbox gave out.

The next game was similar to the sequential fall back game we had on our last visit. On the defence to start with on this occasion. The lack of breeze let us rack up some pleasing long shots into the surrounding long grass as the attackers tried to flank us, but with everyone making good use of pyro on this game day it was a lot harder to maintain a defensive line.

Defending the bunkers especially became more difficult. We had to work hard to keep the attackers away from the breach point into each bunker, sometimes with some judicious use of flashbangs ourselves! It certainly made the game flow a lot faster.


It was during this game that sod’s law cam into full effect. After finding a great low key position to unleash some particularly sneaky shots into the backs of the opfor my Cyma AK105 gearbox gave up (see video!). I cannot really complain about it too much, except over it’s sense of timing. It has weathered much abuse over the last few years, all with a stock gearbox and run on 11v lipo, albeit mainly on semi-auto fire. So my next job before my next game day is decided for me, I suspect a new piston is due, and maybe a mosfet. We will have to see…

To cheer myself up I unleashed a trip mine as we fell back. A quick couple of minutes supported by buddies and the rear of the Garage had a lovely surprise for the attackers in store. Must admit to chuckling quite a bit as one unsuspecting player bimbled obligingly into it – all caught on the gopro for a change as well!

A quick spot of lunch and we were back out for our next game. This time a locate and rescue the hostage type scenario. Heat and post lunch laziness meant we really just spread out as a long straggly line and started covering the site trying to find the opposition. The hostage takers had helpfully clustered together, so once a firefight broke it didn’t take too long for our team to converge on that spot and drive them back towards their spawn. Once there it was pretty much impossible for them to get back into the fight. Hostage rescued, medals all round!

The next game was our turn to attack the fall back scenario. By this point the heat was taking its toil. Rather unimaginatively we resorted to copious amounts of pyro to dislodge dogged defenders. Sometimes it’s the only way…

It was good to get back again. The guys at NSC had done some work clearing out the passageways around the bunkers making progress more certain under foot and therefore a lot faster. It was also obvious players were getting to grips with the site and learning the best ways into areas.

The numbers were well up as well. Probably double that of a couple of weeks ago as word gets out about the new site. Some new young players getting into airsoft for the first time which can only be good for it, and well played to them as well as they got stuck in.

Only things I can think of suggesting from this game day?
It will be great when the large factory building gets brought into play more. No idea what structures could be placed in there, but seems such a shame it’s not utilised more (yet!).

Whilst I appreciate the marshals are learning the site as much as the players, some different games (already promised when we chatted) would be great. Maybe some domination type stuff with opposing team trying to gain control of bunkers? My own preference is for long duration site wide games to sneak about in, but I appreciate that not everyone goes for that – and it was great to hear the plans for night games are already under way, the site should be fantastic for that.

Does my arm look big in this?

One final comment on the game day. Arm bands. With so many new players, and players who don’t know each other pink tape armbands were dished out for one team. I understand why, I really do. I just don’t like them. I love the chaos of players having to check their targets and being able to bluff someone with a wave. Having a bright pink thing on my arm really can make hiding quite difficult. If arm bands are to be used on one team then maybe black? or both teams to wear them if bright? It’s a small niggle I know. But for a self confessed sneaky sod it does feel like it hampers me. It’s not like it even stops my own team shooting me.. Does it Derka? Well? Does it?….


Great day, hot, tiring, bust a gearbox, and still enjoyed myself immensely


For those of you heading to NSC Urban we’ve knocked together a quick map.

And for those awkward situations…

Last comment! We placed a pyro order with a new supplier of all things boom in the north east, Jack Rabbit paintball and airsoft. If you fancy a bulk purchase, maybe you’re playing as a team and want to club together, or you just through pyro as fast as Swampy then get in touch with them. They looked after us well and after blowing almost all of this in one game day I’m sure we’ll be back for more – and they didn’t even have to bribe us for the mention!

Things that maek you go

Things that make you go boom!…


Yes you read the title correct, NSC Urban.

NSC, longest running airsoft site in the Northeast have got themselves a new site. After missing the first couple of games the Raptors managed to haul themselves north to East Boldon to give it a try.

First impressions
It’s a long way north for us! Given we hail from Teesside and Sheffield, East Boldon was a bit further than NSC used to be. However if you’re coming from Sunderland, Newcastle or the Frozen North then it would be much more convenient than many of the current North East sites.

On arrival
There’s a drive up the road with the site laying ominously in the distance. This first glimpse sums up the site perfectly, a whole host of varied buildings surrounded by and interspersed with trees and undergrowth.

What? no, perfectly safe... you go first...

What? no perfectly safe… you go first…

Warm and safe.
NSC have taken over one of the first buildings as large safe zone. Although the guys there said they planned to use this for game area in the future I really liked having an undercover safe zone with a sheltered signing in area and somewhere to stow kit, have briefings and general mill about. I think that during winter months this would also be an invaluable spot for briefings, lunches and so on…

Warm and Dry!

Warm and Dry!

Kicking Off.
It was great to catch up with some familiar faces, but also reassuring to see so many new ones already appearing on the new site. A decent safety brief completed, chrono’s in force (both good to see as always) and we were underway with some quick shoot and scoot games around the central factory building to get everyone moving and introduce the new guns both to shooting and getting shot!

1st big game
The next game was rolling attack scenario, starting from the North end of the site and working its way around the site perimeter from building to building. We drew the attacking straw first and I was damn glad of some experienced players to work with in fellow Raptor Swampy and NSC regular Fleet as the defenders made it incredibly difficult for us. The first area to clear were the “cottages” the narrow passages and small rooms littered with frequent windows make for great building to building clearances and the undergrowth between provides good cover for moving across open ground. You can see some of these in the video clips below.

As we progressed onto the bunkers things became much harder. The approaches to each bunker are great fun with some high points for the opfor to shoot down on you from as you try to close the distance. Once up to them you have the maze like passageways around each one to contend with, full of undergrowth and corners for the defenders to pounce on unsuspecting assaulter’s from. Even that does little to prepare for the final push into each bunker. With a single point of entry into a dark interior anyone trying to enter opposed may as well have a neon light on them! Only repeated charges through as a team managed to eventually gain a foothold inside where we were able to press home the attack. I am more than happy to admit to being absolutely shattered come the very welcome lunchtime that the site lays on.

Turnabout is fair play. Not!
After lunch we got the chance to have our revenge! Albeit we played the same route reversed. The first bunker was relatively quickly taken as we failed to secure the corners and were over run. At this point my ignorance of the site became apparent. Falling back and digging in to what I thought was an excellent ambush spot I began to wonder why no targets had presented themselves. After listening to some hectic firing at a distance I broke cover to realise I had been defending the wrong bunker altogether for the last 5 minutes. A rather bemused marshal looked curious as I fought my way through the hawthorn from an unexpected direction to rejoin the fray. Although in my defence, that bunker was very, very secure…
Dropping back to the third bunker I decided I’d earned a spell inside to repay the multiple kills I’d suffered when attacking (and I fancied a sit down for 5 minutes…) I chuckled to myself as I set my trip mine on the doorway and got comfy to wait with baited breath.

My own version of minecraft...

My own version of minecraft…

Only the dud cartridge in the mine saved the first man in from a brown camo situation as the hail of BB’s started up.
With both raptors tucked in with one other team mate and fully magged up we set to making life hard for the attackers. Being on the defending end showed just how hard the attackers have it. Brightly lit from outside and unable to see where the defenders are at the end of a long dark passageway they have little chance for an aimed shot before being riddled from within. If you combine this with darting back and forth between galleries inside to surprise the odd one that does make it in, you can make it nigh on impossible for the assaulters to get a foothold. It made me realise just how good our teamwork was in the morning to gain entry, so Kudos to all those blue team mates!
It was some time later that the marshal called a halt to the assault on this last bunker as it was becoming apparent that it just wasn’t going to happen. I must admit to a pang of sympathy for the attacking team who just kept throwing themselves into the BB’s with endless energy. Well played lads, it was great to see.
I retired to the last set of cottage buildings feeling somewhat smug and undefeated to get cut down fairly quick by some great long range shooting, and on the last spawn I made the decision to attack the attackers… Had great fun getting a couple of quick kills to get rightly riddled as they figured out where I was. This did allow me to sit back and watch the action for a minute which is always good fun.

Last thoughts.
It was at this point we realised just how long the last 2 games had lasted, and with a long drive in prospect for one of us we bowed out for a quiet post shooty pint and some musings.

The consensus was NSC have got themselves an excellent site in prospect. The potential is awesome, you could have everything from CQB to some lovely sniping opportunities. It is a nice size for the sort of numbers north east sites get and I expect to see more and more new faces as word gets out, especially on Tyne and Wearside.

One thing we both mentioned was the potential of some great night games. The size, variety and type of areas they have could make for some very interesting (and sneaky) action in darkness…

If there were any reservations, it is that I don’t envy the guys at NSC the work they are planning to take on. Already having cleared lots of rubbish there is still some more to do, this will make gameplay faster as players don’t have to pick their way through rubble so much in some of the confined spaces.
I would love to see how the bunkers play out if more access points could be opened up, or if some cover could be placed just inside making breaching easier. As fun as it was dug in and getting an absolute bunker-full of kills, it made hard work for attackers and doesn’t let the games flow as much.
As mentioned above I really like the safe zone in a building, it provides shelter and a clearly defined area. I can appreciate why they want to use what is a great building for games but I really think the benefits outweigh the gains, especially with so many other buildings already available! Maybe some additional netting further delineating the safe zone doors focusing people on clearing weapons coming in and ensuring eye pro goes on as they leave – makes the marshals job easier with all those new players!

Warm and dry. Old airsofters like this...

Warm and dry. Old airsofters like this…

So all in all, we loved it. (Can you tell?)
CQB? yep loads.
Great buildings to breach/clear/defend? Yep. Stacks and varied.
Undergrowth to lurk in? Lots. All manner of leafy goodness (although some with thorns as my backside will attest to)
Areas to snipe from? Muchos snipey bits.(always makes spider a happy little airsofter that…)

Aside from the new site…
We also tried out some new Camo for the first time. Raptors looked resplendent in their new clobber… (It was that or wash the Flecktarn).

Spider taking aim...

Spider taking aim…

Swampy's new style indeed...

Swampy’s new style indeed…

First impressions were that on grassland, undergrowth and some rubble it performs admirably. Comfortable and lets be honest looks cool as… We’ll have to see how it fairs as the seasons change.

Unfortunately my SD card in the GoPro decided to corrupt half the footage – but what was available lead to this, so you are spared my bunker episode of whack-a-mole…


Raptors made it out for a game day at last!

Raptors in stereo

Raptors in stereo

Made more important by the fact a good buddy was going under the knife this week (get well soon Derka) we both got up to see him for a game at NSC.

Deka practising using only 1 leg..

Derka practicing using only 1 leg..

First thing I noticed was how lush and green the place was, brilliantly jungle like in places, the next just how many first timers and new people there were. Really good to see some old friends as well and find out how they were getting on. Not that you care mind you, you want to know about the shooting I’m guessing…

Great to see the first games were favourites of mine, some limited site quick matches to get everyone up and shooting. There has been some considerable site work since my last visit and loads of new structures that caught me out. A mention must go out to whoever got me along the main path – cracking shot that I never saw coming, centre of the chest. Well played…

As we assaulted the quarry to mop up the stragglers of the first game the new structures became very apparent. Good use of caravans, Reliant robins and wooden barricades gave those defending a good chance to make us work for the kills.

After a quick return match of changing ends we moved into some scenario based games. Locating the bomb and moving it to the enemy base. I liked the way in which the spawns were set away from the base as it is very easy to give the defenders such a quick respawn in these type of games that the attackers stand little chance of actually completing the mission. The woodland at NSC is superb for these wider ranging games with lots of cover, slopes, dips and good tree coverage. Playing alongside some buddies Jamie and Derka the teamwork seemed to be like riding a bicycle in that we naturally fell into supporting each other and some great comms and banter all round (well done lads!)

Well earned rest. Knackered

Well earned rest. Knackered

The end of the match got tense as we came under sustained fire as we tried to secure a route for Jamie (lightest, youngest and therefore fastest) to leg the bomb to it’s target once we had secured the route in. Exciting stuff that I’d really missed playing and for those wondering whether they should give airsoft a go, I can honestly say xbox/playstation shooting or even paintball never comes close to these moments…

On the turnaround version of this game it did become evident that the team starting in the far wood had a definite advantage when making ground early. Down a slope with little in their way it became hard for the team starting from the quarry to make headway. Having said that, it was great fun defending as the opposition sought to make good their lack of a win so far on the day (sorry, had to rub it in…)

The afternoon brought some trench attack games. I’d forgotten just how hard it is to get up into the trenches against some determined defenders. Whilst I must admit it is great fun defending as I can bob up and down claiming some sniping kills, it quickly becomes exhausting to be on the receiving end of it.

They'll be along soon... oh goody...

They’ll be along soon… oh goody…

Our attack on the trenches was simply knackering. Only some dogged persistence by some inexperienced players combined with some that hadn’t realised old and unfit I may be but I can sill climb a decent slope to appear from the least expected places meant we eventually made it through.

Who knew Spiders could climb...

Who knew Spiders could climb…

Surprise Mofo!

Surprise Mofo!

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable day, which is the main point isn’t it?

One last word, and something we both agreed on and mentioned on the day. the sportsmanship was some of the best I had ever seen. I do not remember a single instance of thinking “damn it I hit him”. The hit calling was exemplary amongst both experienced and newbies and I don’t think the marshals had to talk to a single player at all throughout the day. So BZ all round…

Thanks to Mick and his marshals, all the players and some great teammates for a top days airsoft.

Dog tired. Ready for beer. But very happy.

Dog tired. Ready for beer. But very happy.

NSC Airsoft website here

Photos by Swampy, or shamelessly pinched from the guys at NSC. Video by Spider