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(Verbose) Oct 18th, Prince George, BC - Game Summary by Happy Newbie


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Old October 20th, 2008, 01:47   #1
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(Verbose) Oct 18th, Prince George, BC - Game Summary by Happy Newbie

Written by my wife Chris, reviewing her (and mine) experiance during her first Airsoft game (my second) in Prince George, BC, yesterday.

This was written to tell some friends about our Airsoft experiance this weekend...and provide an intro to the sport. I thought I would share it here as well.



Yesterday Mike and I (having left Karl, our young son, with friends for the time) drove up to Prince George to engage in an Airsoft game with the N.I.A. (Northern Interior Airsoft). It was awesome.

I have had a suspicion that I would enjoy something like that for literally years; Ghost Recon is one of my favourite games to play with Mike (I am less interested in the fantasy/scifi genre shoot 'em ups like Unreal Tournament for some reason, although I remember Hexen very fondly), and I've thought Laser Tag looked like a hoot ever since it first came out in the Eighties. We looked into Paintball several years ago, but were rather put off by the ongoing costs of the game, especially the cost of the ammo. I can't say I was dreadfully disappointed, though; the hoppers (which I gather jam on a regular basis) made the guns appear dreadfully unwieldy, and I can't say I was looking forward to the welts. Besides, the impression I have (correct or not) is that the sport is played mainly by 18-24-year-old guys; even if I could keep up I doubted I'd fit in.

Airsoft, though, is different. You can see one major difference straight away, as soon as you compare the two lines of weapons.

A Paintball gun:

A popular Airsoft rifle:

Yeah, that's real wood and metal, and yeah, unless you pop the clip (or hear it fire, lol), there's no way to tell that it isn't a real AK47. My little authenticity-police heart rejoices. lol

Another major difference is best viewed through your pocketbook. That AK47 sells for $186 US, whereas the Paintball rifle is going for $304.99 (and says the MSTP is $500). The ammo is another huuuge difference, in price as well as other qualities. 2000 rounds of paint balls apparently go for between $45-60, whereas 3000 rounds of the heavier (i.e. more accurate, but slightly lower velocity, i.e. “the good ones”) Airsoft pellets go for $19. For a price similar to the cost of 2000 rounds of paint balls, you can get 9000 rounds of the Airsoft pellets. So the initial setup costs less (goggles etc are necessary for both games, of course), and to actually go out and play costs a helluva lot less as well.

And because Airsoft uses small plastic pellets (and yes, they are biodegradable) rather than large paint balls, the welts (when you get them at all) are a LOT smaller, and the mess is negligible. In fact, if you haven't managed to cover yourself in mud from crawling through the underbrush, you look the same coming out as going in. Only, you know, more flushed and exhilarated.

"Good gods," you may be asking me now, though, "Why on earth would you want to dress up in full combat gear and haul a bloody replica AK47 through the woods, shooting at people?!"

Well, because it's EPIC fun. If you like first-person shooters (especially the mil-sim stuff like Ghost Recon, instead of the physics-defying ones like UT3), then you'll probably really enjoy this. If they don't do anything for you, then, yeah, you probably wouldn't really like this all that much. But if you DO, well then, you are in for a helluva good time.

"But really! Why an AK47? Why do you care that the Paintball weapon looks fake? Why do you want to go out and shoot people with an AK47, for gods' sakes?"

Well, I don't. I actually really DON'T want to go out and shoot people with anything, not for real. I want to go hunting because it's a good source of meat (and because I am appalled at the way some farmed meat animals are raised, and don't want to support that industry if I don't have to-- but that's another topic for another time), and I get skins and stuff out of it. I like real rifles for the history behind them, and the innate artistry (which is why I don't really care for, for example, shotguns with the military-style black open stocks), same as I like swords, bows, and spears and stuff. But I really don't fantasize that we get invaded by Denmark or something so I'd finally get to actually shoot people for real-- if I did, I'd probably just go and enlist, and if I did, with any luck, they'd be sensible enough to keep me out.

But having something that looks (and is handled) like a real weapon, but isn't, serves a few very important purposes, to me. First of all, knowledge. I may never ever have to use an AK47 in reality (in fact, if life is kind, I'll never ever even SEE one in real life), but if I did, I know how to use it (originally I wanted to use something like a bolt-action Airsoft rifle, so the experience would count in my real life (for hunting rifles), but I very, very quickly decided that full-auto is much, much more fun lol). I want to learn to fly helicopters and airplanes, even if only in decent sims, for the same reason. You never know, eh? Second of all, immersion. Toting around this stuff, wearing real combat gear, just makes it a lot easier to be sucked into the game. In fact, there was one moment, when four of us were out on patrol, and our two lead guys encountered an enemy on the top of a ridge while Mike and I stayed low below, waiting for our chance, that I was positive that I "knew this map" from Ghost Recon. It was awesome. Even the rather long time I spent as one of two snipers defending our base from an anticipated enemy incursion, sitting up on a ridge in the dirt, trying to stay low and alert and freezing my freakin' butt off (and wishing I'd brought along my winter socks lol; it was frosty!) was pretty damned awesome, and pretty instructional. Third, I* like to costume. Usually I end up sewing the stuff myself to get what I want, but that isn't because I love to sew (in fact I really don't lol), but because usually there's no other way to get the effect I want. Not here. Man, the gear... Pick your country! Pick your weapon! Pick your era, and then pick your outfit: what branch of the military are you in? What environment? Do you want to use Soviet-era army-grunt gear? Urban, forest, marsh, desert..? Or do you want to try out some of that nice spiffy Canadian Cad-Pat camo? Mike wants to match the gear to his chosen weapon (chosen for sturdiness, mod-ability, and all-round playability for the most part, I think; I'm going with an AK myself, but likely a slightly different look if I can get it, based on my own aesthetic sensibilities, game-play style, and our mutual desire to be able to swap parts at will); myself, I am willing to go along with that, but only if I can use a camo pattern that works with deer as well as people (deer see things differently, and what will hide a human from other humans won't necessarily work to hide a human from a deer), so I don't have to buy camo twice.

Wow, I am COMPLETELY off topic, lol. Mike asked me to do a write-up on the game (give you all my own experiences with it), and instead I've written a treatise on Why Airsoft? XD

Lemme try this again, now that I've set the stage for anyone unfamiliar with the sport.

Right. So Friday evening we dropped Karl off with friends, and Saturday morning at 4 am we got up to head to Prince George. There were a few uncertain moments, like when we hit a hailstorm just north of here; sure, the weather was predicted to be cool but sunny and dry, but what if the weatherman was wrong? Brrr... However, we arrived in Prince George with an hour to spare before meeting everyone at the local Timmy's to head out.

Assuming we could figure out which Timmy's, mind you. *eyeroll* Ends up PG has five Tim Horton's; I was laughing my head off when we pulled out of the third one, having just found out that we still weren't at the right one. But nothing we wanted to hit was open anyways, and we managed to get to the right one before the Airsoft guys (if only barely). To be fair, they did specify the Timmy’s “in the Hart”; we just had NO idea where that was. XD Oh well; we do now, heh.

So, we all headed out-- and out, and out, until we finally parked in a gravel pit in the middle of the woods. Time to suit up!

Mike has his AK, as I've mentioned, but that's pretty much it for gear between the two of us so far, as this was my first game and it was only Mike's second. Luckily, N.I.A. has some gear one can rent (and for a very affordable price; way to go, guys!), so in short order we were kitted out in full camo, with face masks, head wraps, and weapons. I got another AK47, very similar to the one at the top of this article. I liked it (except for the way the butt cap that holds the batteries kept popping off (partially because of the way I was carrying it), which was annoying as all get out, but at the end of the first game I borrowed some tape from Mike and thoroughly secured it, and after that it was fine. Dave's in trouble when he wants to get back in so he can charge the batteries back up again though, heh...).

So the first, and main, scenario was a type of Capture-the-Flag game. I have to admit that my eyes glazed over a bit while he was explaining it (I'm much better at reading directions than hearing them), and I'm sure a couple of the questions I asked were pure n00b, but what the hell. I am a newb. Ten games in, if I'm still acting like a total n00b, then we're in trouble. ;-)

Anyways, very nice tough camo shirt and pants (which, it ends up, will actually completely keep out rose prickles, even if you’re sitting on the bush—woot!) on over my sweater and jeans (and you know? While I was on guard duty I was wishing I had a helluva lot more on, maybe a nice thick cloak at the least-- but I didn't get too hot while I was being more active, either, hauling my ass up and down near-vertical ravines while trying to be silent (and I'm pretty sure I failed miserably-- sorry, guys! XD) or "running" about (as much as I run anywhere these days lol) in the final pure fun free-for-all). My work boots went fine with it (but I have GOT to get some arch support; traded them in for my street ***** when we packed it in at the end of the day, and wow, by the time we got to Boston Pizza to go eat with the guys I could barely walk across the parking lot. Sorted itself out shortly, luckily, but ouch!). Got an AK47 and five mags, pellets and reloader, our army surplus belt (very useful for holding a couple of Kleenexes and a water bottle-- but it came undone the first time I threw myself to the ground, and Mike had to do me up again; couldn't see what I was doing with the face protection on, and of course couldn't take it off, not with the game still on), Dave (aka "The Airsoft God"-- the guy hosting and running the scenario, and basically being the DM (or GM) for the game) gave us maps and the rules, and we were off!

I won't go into all the details of it (lest your own eyes glaze over, lol, assuming anyone's still reading this), but basically the idea was that each team create a "base" with some flagging, and that if the other team captures and holds it for ten minutes, they get x number of points per person in there and still alive. That scenario would be allowed to run for something like five hours. Points deducted for kills, I think. Or medi-vacs if you got killed (basically Dave giving you a ride in his car to the respawn point, instead of you hauling your ass on over).

So we figured the thing to do would be to set up right on a path, in a bit that ran through a bit of a ravine. Nice clear sight-lines to see them coming, and with a sniper on each hillside, nice clear killing zone. We'd leave two of our five men (me and another guy, since I wasn't sure I could keep up and didn't want to hold them back) to guard it, and the rest would head off to find their base and take it.

Heh. The best-laid plans... Five hours of gameplay, and we didn't find their base until the last half-hour (although our guys did stumble upon a decoy base they'd set up, sneaky little bastards lol). I was there for the real base-snatch, which was awesome (and would have been epic if any of their team had been around lol), but unfortunately they didn't stumble upon our base until probably about the same time. What can I say? It was a big playing area.

Ends up that what happened was that, in heading out to find each others' bases, each team headed in a clockwise direction. Or counter; in any case, the same direction, so rather than running into each other in the middle, they ended circling around each other and missing each other completely. Too bad; it would have been a helluva firefight, lol.

Not to say that there wasn't any engagement, there was; just that it wasn't as fierce as it might have been. Would have been more intense if we had found each other's bases earlier, too, I think, because of course after finding, claiming, and holding their base for the required ten minutes (as called in by radio to "God" aka Dave, who timed and tallied), with no sign of Blue Team, we had to wonder where they all were. And that, of course, led to the nasty (and correct, lol) suspicion that they were holding Red Base...* Couple of our guys ran over to try and take it back, but I couldn't keep up (and Mike wouldn't desert me, wonderful man), but there was only ten minutes left to play by then anyways, so I'm not even sure they made it over before the game was done. If it had happened earlier, though, there could have been an epic taking and re-taking of bases, with much carnage on both sides. Awesome.

Ends up that they hid their base in the middle of the freakin' woods, and while ours was right on the path, it wasn't visible from very far back down the path. It was also, apparently, a lot further out than Blue Team had expected, so while they did scout the path pretty early in the game, they didn't actually go far enough down it to run into us.

I suspect that if we'd had say 20 players per side, instead of five, or if the field was say half to a quarter the size it was, there would have been more action. But there you go. It was all still fun.

I have been confirmed in my beliefs, though, that Canada really needs to equip her soldiers better. Aside from the whole thing about how embarrassing it is to have to borrow tanks and things from other countries (especially considering that in WWII we were one of the better-equipped armies out there), gods, I hope we're equipping the soldiers well. On an individual basis.

As I said, while I was on guard duty, I froze my butt off. By the time I headed out on patrol with Mike and the guys, I was shivering so hard I could barely talk. My own fault-- Mike told me to wear layers, and I had brought more up, but as I really didn't expect to be so still for so long I didn't put it on. Warm socks never even occurred.

But there's something about sitting on uncomfortable, bloody cold ground, seeing frost edging the leaves around you, with a slight but extremely cutting breeze, and not being able to walk around, stamp your feet, stuff like that, lest you draw enemy fire. Once I cooled down, the only time I was not cold again, until I went out on patrol, was when the sun swung round and shone full on me. Unfortunately, while it made me not-cold (if not actually warm), it also near-blinded me, thanks to the plastic goggles in the face mask. I literally couldn't see anything past the end of my rifle. The moment it moved on enough that the red flagging of the base was visible again was like a revelation. Real soldiers, wherever you are, I hope they've given you appropriate clothing for the environment you're serving in. I only had to worry about taking a plastic pellet that would then mean that I'd have to hike my ass out to a respawn point say half a klick away and wait for ten minutes; if I had been noticed the penalty would have been minor. No bullets, eh.

So then the game ended and it was really close (Blue Team won), and then after taking a bit of a break most of us decided to do a game of Zombies.

No, no shuffling feet etc, no cries of "Braaiiinsssss...." In this version if you get hit you go back to the respawn point and wait for a second dead guy to come by. When he does, you yell "Zombies!" and head out again. It's considered impolite to shoot the guy you're heading out with lol, and also to shoot anyone who may have just reincarnated right before you without giving them a chance to get under cover first, and really impolite to "camp", aka stake out the respawn point and just kill each player the moment they start down into the game again. Plus camping’s no fun. No sport, eh.

I liked that one. I took my first hit in the Zombies game (and I shall tell you more about that in a moment), and my first kill, and after that I got a few guys and was killed a few times and had a helluva time. I have discovered that not only am I extremely trigger-happy (sorry, guys; n00b with full-auto lol), but I also can't stop grinning maniacally and giggling after I do shoot someone.

That first time I got "killed" was the second time I got hit with an Airsoft pellet. It was not what I expected.

See, the first time was just after Mike got his Clearsoft Airsoft pistol. It doesn't shoot very hard, or very far, but it looks great in the camo and is a fine sidearm. Anyways, he wanted to see what it was like, so he backed off say twenty feet or so and had me give him a shot in the rump. "Hmm. Not too bad," he says, and then wants to show (aka shoot lol) me.

Wasn't too interested, thanks anyways, but he insisted that he'd barely felt it, and besides, he did just let me shoot him, so really, I had to. Married people will understand. ;-)* So same thing, about, I dunno, 15' or so away, and he counted down and shot me in the ass (as preferred; lots of padding heh).

It stung. Jesus, it stung. I hopped and cursed and complained for probably at least five minutes straight, while Karl was encouraging Dad to do it again. Thanks, kid.

So of course, I was expecting it to hurt, especially what with also hearing that, with certain weapons under certain circumstances, broken teeth are known. Know what? Barely even felt it, I kid you not. It was like someone flicked my sleeve with their finger. In fact, that first shot was so radically different from what I was expecting that for a moment I wasn't even sure if I should accept the hit, but then I reasoned that, well, he did hit me, so yeah. It's good.

Unfortunately, it seems I have a tendency to just shoot the hell out of anyone I get half a shot at, and then, if I'm not sure if they're dead or not, shoot them some more before asking. And then, if they don't answer quickly (or loudly) enough, to compensate by shooting some more. You know. Just to make sure. XD Brrrt! "You dead yet?" Brrrt! "How 'bout now?" Brrrt! "Dead yet?" Brrrt! "Look, are you dead or not?" XD Sorry, guys. *is ashamed yet deeply entertained n00b*

All in all, I had a helluva time, and can't wait to go out and do it again. I figure that, if we had a full day game every weekend, and maybe a coupla hours on Wednesday nights, I'd be in top shape again in no time. XD Shame the nearest games are several hours' drive away... Seriously, though, that was EPIC fun. I loved it. Can't wait to get my own rifle so I can have a spring strong enough to shoot through leaves ("Dammit, if these were real bullets, I'd so have him!" XD), and mags bigger than 100 rounds (yes, I know, already triple a real AK's capacity, but (a) am a trigger-happy n00b maniac, and (2) wouldn't require so many real rounds to get a guy hiding in a bush lol. Mind you, would also be dead. XD

So, yeah, if you have a chance, give it a try. What a rush!!!
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Old October 20th, 2008, 02:23   #2
Hortons Heros
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Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Prince George BC
wowzers can you type!

Great to see you again and glad you enjoyed the day. Playing god is always a good time.
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