Archive for the ‘Game Days’ Category

A very warm welcome to our new contributor! We’re happy to have MilGeek give us his review of a game day we both attended recently. A cracking write up of a great day I had playing alongside him. Make sure you make a visit over to his regular home at the MilGeek blog for all manner of gaming, modelling and military history as well as airsoft. If you’re eagle eyed you can even spot him in some footage we put together of our visit to Centurion CQB. You can find the vid link at the end of the post… Enjoy!
-Spider

+++TX MilGeek+++

First of all, I must thank Spider for giving me the opportunity to submit this game report as a guest writer. It’s rather nice to be trying out new surroundings!

Event: Centurion Airsoft’s’ first CQB ‘tester’ day
Venue: The Military Adventure Park, Scarborough, North Yorkshire

Something of a pleasant surprise, that very nice chap and airsoft aficionado Spider alerted me to a CQB event being run in Scarborough by Centurion Airsoft. Well, as the venue was virtually at the bottom of my street – sort of – there was no excuse for me not to join in.

In fact, I had been planning a return to airsoft for some time, it was just fortuitous that Centurion managed to secure a temporary indoor site at the town’s Military Adventure Park (which usually runs laser quest games). Centurion described the event as a ‘tester day’ to evaluate the viability of a game run in a relatively small building – which turned out to be the old outdoor swimming pool admin and changing rooms!

MAP CQB venue, Scarborough

Drawn from memory, so probably not 100% accurate, but this diagram gives you some idea of the layout of the CQB venue at the MAP. The ‘red room’ is the main point of contact and the main bottleneck.

This dilapidated building is quite compact but is a bit of a Tardis as it consists of a maze of small rooms which filter into the large changing rooms – most recently the building has been used for Zombie Apocalypse games (hence the rather unnerving ‘blood’ smeared walls). Centurion Airsoft secured the venue for this one-off trial event and the building was just about right for short format games for about 20-26 players, any more and the rooms would become too congested.

MAP CQB venue, exterior

The only playable exterior entry was this side entrance – the majority of the action was conducted inside the building and AEG’s were prohibited anywhere outside the designated safe zone so we didn’t freak out the locals!

Game Formats

Obviously, long format and complex ‘mil-sim’ operations were not perhaps appropriate for a site of such limited space. The limited number of rooms available to us was just not great enough to afford varied locations as we used all the available space for all the games. So, shorter ‘attacker/defender’ type competitions were organised, such as ‘free the hostage’, ‘escalating attacker’ and – a very ingenious – ‘find the bomb code’ game!

The ‘escalating attacker’ was ideal for a limited player situation – everyone but two players defended the main room and the two designated ‘attackers’ tried to ‘kill’ defenders in order to convert them into attackers. EVentually the balance of numbers would turn to the attackers favour and defending would become harder and harder.

CQB Find the bomb code game

A win! Yellow team decode the bomb to take the game! An excellent prop and well thought out game – captured ‘defenders’ had to be searched in turn to discover the secret bomb code.

It’s worth repeating that – as a first time venue – this was a ‘tester’ event and some of the games were modified and improved – based on player feedback – as the day went on. But all-in-all the day worked out very nicely indeed and it was a credit to the Centurion staff that things went off so well.

Safety and enjoyment

Obviously paramount importance was given to safety. As a very close quarters game a lot of emphasis was given to the need to avoid head-shots, also firing was limited to semi-auto only with a FPS limit of 350fps (nobody opted for sniping for obvious reasons).

Now, here’s where there was a bit of a conundrum (and the only hic-up in the day)…

By it’s very nature CQB prohibits the amount of fully exposed target opportunities and while the staff heavily emphasised the preference for ‘centre of body mass’ shots and ‘no head shots’ naturally the head is often the only part of the body which become visible in this sort of simulation!

Simply by random chance you ARE going to accidentally make a head shot even if you aren’t trying to – defy anyone to say they didn’t – I certainly did! The plain fact is, due to darkened rooms how would you know a lot of the time? (— Note to self: Erm, take a torch! —)

Illuminating a doorway in CQB

“You want ME to go in THERE?”

…The issue of limited target exposure aside, what made this such a contentious issue on the day was the baffling choice made by many of the players NOT TO WEAR FULL HEAD PROTECTION! Yes, despite this event being clearly advertised as a indoor CQB airsoft event approximately 75% of the players on the day opted for the ‘cooler’ polycarbonate ballistic glasses eye protection…And maybe a hat!

I personally opted for full helmet, goggles and lower face protection (which earned me some derisive glances)…

CQB protective head gear

My goggles are the perforated steel plate type of ‘mesh’ googles and not the less safe wire mesh goggles – though I did take my hardy Bolle polycarbonate double-layer eye protection, but in the end I was concerned about ‘fogging’ up so went with the less safe mesh. I noticed that Spider chose to wear mesh goggles and a mesh lower face protection as well, and also had a handy head mounted video camera to protect his bonce!

At this point I could write a huge diatribe about the whole ‘full face protection spoils the realism’ and ‘it’s not paintball’ arguments made by some airsofters regarding full face protection….But guys, THIS WAS CQB! Headshots will – and did – happen, I know because one of the things about wearing a helmet is that you hear the head hits like a snare drum being played on your head and I had a virtual military tattoo being played on my head at times!

Headshots – a lesson learned

As if to stress the point even further, I was involved in an incident which perfectly illustrates why head-shots can happen even though there is a ‘no head shots’ rule in place. As I say, head shots can happen purely accidentally but more particularly in the case where you are dealing with a darkened room. Putting fire into a darkened room without illuminating a target (…oh, I wish I had brought a red dot and a torch…) is something of a necessary evil at times – you want to lay down suppressing fire but you may only have the vaguest notion of where your target actually is (judging by the direction of incoming fire).

Now remember at this point that the defenders in the darkened room have the advantage – as attacking from even a low lit room means that you are silhouetted against the doorway every time you pop out to take a shot!

Sillouette of doorway from darkened room

Defender’s eye view of one of the main doorways – any attackers coming into
this entry point are clearly silhouetted targets!

Illuminating in CQB

The same entry point, this time illuminated by Spider (attacking). Without a
flashlight this is a big black yawning hole of doom!

Because I had good head protection (LOL) I popped my head out the doorway more than I perhaps should – in fact on a number of occasions I moved across the open doorway laying down fire as I went…And I got a hit, a head shot! Du-oh! To which the recipient shouted ‘no blind firing’!

A bit annoying as THEY had the tactical advantage in that they could better see me than I could them – and I must have been clearly visible crossing the doorway as I fired!

— Discuss this situation! (The moral could be to only fire at positively identified targets BUT this is difficult in the frantic situation of CQB and without illuminating the target – and in so doing giving away your position in return. Maybe clarify the ‘suppressive fire’ rule so everyone understands the difference between ‘suppressive fire’ and ‘blind firing’? Though I suspect the guy was just annoyed that I hit him!)

CQB painting a target

I’d say that was ‘positive target acquirement’ by Spider and his magic torch!
‘Take the hit?’‘Er, yes please!’

Conclusion – emphasising the positive

Now, I’ve gone on far too much about negative sounding isolated events – but hopefully you will understand that there are ‘positive’ reasons I included these incidents as they highlight some of the challenges about playing CQB – a very difficult game format. However, I have to balance these with a whole day of enjoyment and good play.

The Centurion staff did an amazing job, they were friendly but firm about discipline (a good thing) and were very ingenious in their game format development. Saying that this was the first time they had done this I think they really have to be commended for running such a well organised and fun event!

Airsoft CQB entry stacking

Spider’s eye view of my big ass! As you can see I sort of fill the doorway and make a wonderfully silhouetted target for the defenders!

I really hope that they think that the event was a success and decide to run more – and not just because having a airsoft event at the bottom of my street is ‘convenient’ for me! If I had journeyed to this event I would still have thought it very much worth while. So thank you very much Centurion Airsoft and also a big thank you for the owner of Scarborough’s MAP for making the venue available.

SO – now to the traditional pros and cons:

CONS:-

  • Perhaps not advertising/emphasising the ‘advantages’ of full head coverage in a CQB event so that potential players can make a more informed choice about whether to wear it.
  • Not marking ‘safe zone’ with signs (just as a visual reminder)
  • Not organising an alternative mini-competition for the long-arm shooters while the pistol comp was going on (those not involved with the pistol comp were getting restless due to the length of waiting)
  • And that’s it! :)

PROS:-

  • Well and courteously run event.
  • For your £20 (walk on) fee you got a a bacon butty and cuppa before starting and a bread and stew lunch! Terrific!
  • Very sporting fellow players – as far as I could see everyone took their hits! Excellent.
  • No arguments – not one ‘it was a hit’ – ‘no you didn’t’ nonsense (again this was due to good event management, well done Centurion).
  • No-one was sin-binned or sent home (I probably came closest by my unfortunate head-shot on the Marshal)…Oh dear!
  • Very enjoyable and ingenious game – I particularly enjoyed the ‘bomb code search’ game.
  • Just the right amount of players, it could have so easily be over-congested
  • Very good venue – small, but an interesting set of rooms
  • Very friendly and entertaining set of fellow players (Spider was on his usual great form)
  • There were proper toilets – hurrah!
  • BBs were on sale.
  • …Oh dear, I could go on and on…

Bottom line: Bloody good day and I’d definitely do it again! Highly recommended – 7/10.

WELL DONE CENTURION AIRSOFT!

CQB in darkness

So, just how dark was it?

Suggestions:

And finally, just a few ideas for whatever they are worth…

- Portable cover with ‘kill house’ boards: These are free standing portable boards – about one player wide – that can be moved about by the staff to vary the cover in the ‘kill house’. They are particularly useful for modifying ‘bottle necks’ by providing additional cover just inside doorways and in the middle of large rooms.

- CQB timed target clearing mini-events: One idea that could have been used for the ‘long arm’ shooters while the pistol shooters did their thing would have been a separate ‘steel plate’ or paper target course through a few rooms. Timed target course for room clearance techniques.

- ‘Hostages’ scenario: A few designated people could have acted as hostages – shooting a hostage would have resulted in the attackers loosing a player. More than two hostages killed would mean a win for the defenders.

- CQB tactics mini-briefing: Not a training session as such, but some ‘useful hints’ about good CQB entry techniques for everyone at the beginning.

- White board availability: Sounds daft BUT it might be useful to have a large white board available in the safe zone to illustrate game rules and job down ideas, techniques and tactics.

Related links:

> Centurion Airsoft official web site

> Scarborough’s Military Adventure Park official web site

And now the vid as promised!

A bitter sweet report this one, the final game day as the guys at GunHo airsoft in Guisbrough go for the big Endex. We made the effort to get along whilst we could and see them off.

The last hurrah

The last hurrah

Summer had definitely departed as we all kitted up, despite it being the last day there was a good briefing before we got stuck into some games. The first few games were of the attack/defend variety, getting everyone warmed up and in the mood. It reminded me how much I like the woodland GunHo was set in. Fairly flat but with undulations allowing for movement and hiding, and the guys there had an impressive number of structures accumulated.

The next couple of games were attacking bases set in one of the forts. Now my own lack of familiarity with the site showed here as I happily set off to attack completely the wrong structure – but it did allow us to flank a bit and get a few good shots in before it was quickly over.

Easy to get lost in here...

Easy to get lost in here…


When we defended at first we ended stuck out on a flank and I though it may be a quiet one, but before long the heavy resistance elsewhere lead the Opfor to try the route past us. Plenty of kills ensued including this belter…

The last few games we took part in were much larger rambling games, centred around capturing a device and getting it into the enemy base – one of the forts, whilst they tried to get it to our base. We set off on a stealthy and lengthy flank, which saw us getting into a few close firefights, some mad dashes and an advanced position putting fire on the enemy base. Which, when some more of our team caught up with the two old fat gits went well..

All in all a fitting send off I think. It’s a shame that real life has got in the way for the guys running GunHo although completely understandable. I think many players don’t realise the amount of time and effort that goes into running sites, not just from the owners but all the volunteer marshals.

So thanks for some more great game day memories, all the best for the future and I hope to see airsoft played once again back on a great little woodland site.

I did make this my first game day using my new gopro, which if i can edit together enough decent footage I will add up in due course!

A great place for stalking

A great place for stalking

+++UPDATE+++
Finally got around to editing and posting some of the video…

intel
Sad news that GunHo Airsoft in Guisbrough is closing down. Sorry to see any site, especially one I’ve managed to get to a few times close up shop.

They’re hosting a final skirmish day this coming Sunday, hope they get a good turn out to see the place off in style all the best for future endeavours and thanks for all the games!

For the first time in nearly a year both Raps made it to the same game!

If you go down to the woods today...

If you go down to the woods today…


It was great to get together at our spiritual home ground at NSC, thanks to a lovely summer the place is like a jungle in parts and Mick and the lads have been very busy improving the structures dotted around the site.
Loads of new players (well, new to us!) was good to see although one regular not out (Best wishes to Derka who is recovering from a horrific achilles injury from all the Raps. Get well soon bud & stay away from all those other sports!)

So, to the gameplay!

A couple of assault/defend games in morning. Spread over a good portion of the site with the ultimate target of “goldilocks house” it quickly became apparent that the bright sunshine and thick tree coverage made advancing difficult. So many shadows and places to hide made it a defenders paradise. We chose to attack first and learnt the hard way that the quarry was a veritable killing field for the defenders and only some sterling work by our team across the whole front eventually got us through.

So naturally when we swapped ends me and Swampy made straight for the quarry as the Norvern Monkeys lead their assault.

Swampy was quietly taken down by a great bit of sneaking in his initial position high on the quarry wall. As it turned out it actually played in our favour. With him sniping and relocated we were both in a position to cover the approach to each other without exposing ourselves too much and the slaughter began. Each time one of use was under fire the other could take down the attackers, and the extensive cover made even spotting us hard for the attackers. By Endex I’d lost count of our kills and Swampy had taken the only Raps hit.

It was very flattering in the post game reload to have the attackers come and ask “how many of you were in the bloody quarry?” to which we could honestly reply, “er, him and me.” In the end they gave up trying to get through and redeployed their team elsewhere. The ultimate accolade for us. A whole team diverted just to avoid two fat unfit old buggers!

After a warming lunch provided by the site we set off in a rolling assault game. Stroming through the far woods this time we ended up assaulting the Quarry again , albeit from a competely different direction. Taking the slow sneaky route through the undergrowth you can see how jungle like it was!

The Swampy nesting in his usual habitiat

The Swampy nesting in his usual habitiat

We managed to creep through whilst firefights broke out all around us and waited for a chance to make the mad dash over open ground

In 5,4,..oh sod it now!

In 5,4,..oh sod it now!

Pulses racing we dived behind what little hard cover there was as we shouted for the rest of the team to keep up! Then we began clearing the buildings.

At this point kudos to the excellent sporting play of Vita on the site who as I covered a window with a pistol stuck her head through and immediately just said “fair one I’ll take it” before I’d even said anything. I may have got the shot off first (but I wouldn’t bank on it) and her speedy sporting reactions meant neither of us had to risk a point blank stinger! Bravo Zulu

The final part of the rolling assault was up into the trenches. Hard graft at any time but after 2 assaults already we were knackered! that didn’t stop Sneak joining us to prove that the gully can still be assaulted! Exciting daring-do as we traded BB’s up the steep hill to break into the rear of their defences. Although by the end of that absolutely knackered!

Good to see I can still be ready to shoot when knackered!

Good to see I can still be ready to shoot when knackered!

We ducked out a bit early to go grab a beer and chat as we’d not got together in ages – in no way a reflection on the day as it was an absolute cracker!

Great to see so many new players, and a fantastic day completely lacking in non hit callers, marshals having to get involved or shoutiness! Thanks all round as usual and we’ll make sure it’s not as long before the Raps both play there again!

So after a fair break we finally got together for a trip to Op-tacticals the Stan. Set in the old Stanley Tools site in Sheffield.

Sheffield loss is airsofts gain…


We arrived early and rigged for CQB expecting the action to be close up and frantic. MP5s,pistols and plenty of pyro being the order of the day. Also good to see plenty of guys from the North-East alongside us from NSC, Einherjar and NEAUK.

First impressions were of a large site, and although certainly dilapidated great potential for some CQB shenanigans. The OP-Tactical guys use an indoor area as shop/safe zone/briefing area which will be really useful when winter hits! The safety brief was probably the most detailed I have ever endured listened to, and whilst I am always supportive of anything that keeps us safe I think judicious use of a chrono is far more productive than letting me know the method statement for risk assessments is available for my viewing…

Whilst on the safety subject, the site insist that all weapons are left inside the safezone during lunch. Now I can understand the desire to declare the site safe and let everyone have a break, but stopping a player taking unloaded and cleared kit back to cars to change out, repair or walking to their vehicle with an unloaded pistol in a holster is getting a bit overkill. Especially when they can walk around with them in the safezone to begin with, and walked to and from the car park at beginning and the end of the day.

All OPFOR to reception please…


Anyway to the action! One of the marshals kindly gave all the visitors a walk round the site before gameon to give us at least a vague idea of where we were going. Turned out to be a big help. The teams were roughly divided along the lines of visitors (Raptors, NSC and so on…) versus the locals. We kicked off defending three boxes on different floors with the locals attacking with a time limit to recapture them. Good game to get everyone moving and our lack of site knowledge obvious as we were flanked in stairwells and struggled to hang on to the last box before the hour was up. But some strong teamwork and grit saw us through… as did a bucketload of BBs and pyro…

Wait until you see the whites of their eyes lads…


The next game involved us moving a VIP from the third floor to the ground (by the long route) and across the car park to the office block. With 45 mins limit to accomplish this it was always going to be tough. With 10 mins left we had barely covered half the ground before some urging on and fearsome attacks saw us get to the last door onto the car park as Endex was called… then some well deserved lunch…

What? In the dark? on my own?…


After lunch some banter from the homies on how they could have done the VIP game easily led to the marshals abandoning the planned game for a rematch of moving the VIP with the roles reversed. We restocked and rearmed and went to the task at hand with gusto. Smokes and pyro rained on us and the locals kept the attacks relentless.

Get Him!..and him!… and him! and that one! what about that one!


Although the chap who nearly stood on me decided to wisely take the surrender when I tapped his undercarriage with the muzzle of my MP5 and suggested it…Full marks to the “Special Forces” for not giving up and fighting to the very last second.

Hold the line!


Now I know it’s a bit annoying when a big bunch of travellers turn up on a site and are pitted against the regulars and hold their own, but we were getting the feeling that this was getting stacked against us when the marshal who was our spawn point kept buggering off early, our limits on defending were further back than the previous game and one of our guys timing it called over 52 mins played on the 45 min game… not so simple I guess and I will admit made it all the sweeter to hold them to just clearing the first floor… Great fun, nonetheless!

The last game of the day involved finding your teams general and capturing the OPFOR general, all the while keeping an eye out for valuable packages. A whole site game this gave teams a chance to explore a bit, with firefights rapidly breaking out all over the place.

Which floor are the bad guys on again?


A few of use became determined to push across the bridge and into the offices, leading to some cracking firefights on the bridge. I will at this point have a moan. I really did not appreciate the player deliberately shooting out the remains of the lighting above my position to shower me in broken glass and fluorescent tubing. I know it’s frustrating when someone is well dug in and protected by his team mates, but seriously, no need, and not funny. Fortunately the rest of his team were better sportsmen.

We were so successful in our push through (well played to the einherjar lads who came with us and Fleet!) we actually ended up in the OPFOR spawn. Not by design I may add as we couldn’t have found it if we wanted to! So after a brief chat with a couple of their guys we pulled back half way to the bridge and held the line to prevent their counter attack through that direction. They seemed determined to keep coming so naturally we kept defending it, with some guys sprinting back to respawn and return asap when hit. All in all a most enjoyable an hard fought win.

The NSC Lads – “Pie Hunters”

So overall feelings? A great CQB site. Hopefully the photos capture how tense and fast the action becomes in the tight surroundings, time limits fly by and with serous fire fights lasting an hour or more expect to get through some ammo, at which point I must mention their shop which was very reasonably priced for BBs and pyro. The OP-Tactical guys have kept large areas dark and I recommend a tac-light if you can. Charlie who seemed to brief and run most of the games did a great job organising and getting things running, thoroughly enjoyed the day out seeing players from all over the northeast making the trip down. My only reservations on the site would be given the ranges a bit more enforcement of single shot, I witnessed a few players getting rinsed from very close ranges; and I found myself missing the opportunity to lurk. Given the CQB nature of the whole site it is very hard to find any sort of tactical advantage to manoeuvre, games become very straightforward and linear, I missed giving people that little surprise from under a well camouflaged position.

Definitely worth another visit, and if you like CQB then you need to try it!

[All photos by Swampy and he has updated the previous MP5 PDW review. Nice work fella]

A day out in Scarborough! A shame we could only do half a day due to commitments but it turned out to be a great find!

An early start for us as we headed to the east coast. I really wasn’t sure what to expect as the rain poured across the North yorks moors. As I had no idea how long the drive would take so I ended up arriving early, to find the first few Centurion guys setting up their tents for the day.

Shortly followed by MilGeek (good to see him back out!) and Swampy. First impressions were – It’s on a f*****g mountainside! Closely followed by a complimentary bacon sandwich and brew; In fact that pretty much set the tone for the day…

A bit light on numbers for the day they nevertheless began with an excellent briefing, concise and covered everything – even ensuring players were reminded to keep fluids up and look after themselves. Everyone was chrono’d and guns tagged as legal (something else I like to see as it promotes a level playing field)

The first game showed us a little of the terrain. It had rained consistently for 5 days prior and it showed. Trying to just get to the first spawn was an effort as I ended up knee deep in mud on a very steep slope. I am not the fittest of players but it was a real endurance test, it was re-assuring that it caught the marshals out how boggy it was! The game was a fall back attack/defend scenario with 3 stages in it and the marshals arranged it to run down the hill, meaning that the game play (the important bit after all) ran well. Like all sites you can quickly spot the guys who know the terrain and they used it well. I managed a few good shots before being crept up on and slotted before I even knew he was there. Well played sir!

As is fair we changed ends next, and after the slog back up the hill we attacked. The only thing I could find to complain about was that the opfor I spent a while stalking missed out on a grenade as the flashbang I dropped at his feet failed to go off, probably sank in a foot of mud given the condition… although 2 quick rounds from the pistol followed though…

Another quick game before lunch entailed chasing down a flag to return it either to our base, or the enemy base. In truth I’m still not sure which, but I suspect that’s my fault for not listening properly, as by this point I was busy breathing through every orifice available. Happily I managed a few quick kills before heading back for lunch, again thoughtfully provided by the lovely ladies back at the safe zone tent…

Unfortunately we had to make tracks at half time, although gave us an opportunity for a chat before going our separate ways, and also hearing MilGeeks views.

Overall for the day? For a site that has not been running long they are very well organised. Great briefings and well thought out games. The hospitality is second to none, for a walk on fee of £15 you get greeted with a bacon buttie and tea, lunch (substantial) is thrown in and more importantly everyone is welcoming. The site itself will lend itself to slower paced games that range about and allow sneakiness just due to the terrain, some great woodland interspaced with open area that mean you must think about your routes (and provide good killing grounds for bolt action users). Be prepared to get knackered, they must be in the running for the steepest airsoft site (even compared to Otley!) But well worth a visit and one we’ll certainly be back to. If you’re in the Scarborough area certainly no reason not to go…

… and I need to get fitter!

Centurion Airsoft website
Centurion Forum

- Spider

Squawks