Monday, 26 November 2012

Airsoft Tour of Duty: The Academy

"At the weekend, I went to school and shot a few people."

Ordinarily, that sort of a statement might raise a few eyebrows but, rest assured, everything was perfectly above board. When I tell you that 'the school' in question was The Academy, First and Only Airsoft's recently opened CQB site in Leamington, no doubt there will be a huge sigh of relief!

For those who don't know, I'm the skinny one in the middle

I met up there with two guys I regularly play with as part of a 'squad' or 'team' [the two on the right] and a further two guys who used to be part of the same team but who, for reasons connected to their respective jobs, both had to move 'darn sarf' fairly recently. One of them reminded us all during one of our conversations on Saturday that the last time we had all been together for a game was two years ago!

If you look carefully, you might just be able to discern some rather interesting art work, presumably left behind by ex-pupils from the school, just visible in the background!

I'm not going to go into a blow by blow summary of the game play but suffice to say we all had an absolute ball. For someone whose regular game outings revolve around a choice of two woodland sites, both fairly close to where I live, I was really looking forward to playing at a new CQB site and, in all probability, having the chance to play against a few new players. I wasn't disappointed

For those who haven't been, or even looked at the venue on the F&O website, the school is in the middle of a fairly well-healed part of Leamington overlooking a number of very comfortable houses. That in itself was really unusual and felt a bit weird to be honest, in a nice way, looking out of some of the windows to see 'normal' people going about their daily routines just a grenade's throw away from where we mad mothers were shooting the shit out of one another! On the subject of grenades, players were restricted to using Thermo's, Canister grenades and BFGs because, according to Felix, they'd tested Ball grenades and Flash Bangs and there had been complaints from the locals!

The footprint of the building is actually quite small and for a combination of safety and game play related reasons numbers on site are restricted to 30, so booking is essential if you want to be guaranteed a game. Having said that, all four floors of the building are in use and trying to fight your way up, or down, the two flights of stairs, one at either end of the structure, is exhilarating, exhausting, and exasperating in roughly equal measure. In certain areas, and for certain games, there are times when you will be shooting at people from distances resembling those you might be used to in a woodland environment but for the most part this site is about full on, up close and personal, room clearance style gaming. Be prepared to be hit, lots of times, and for quite a few of them to hurt!

Most of the players, myself included, were bearing quite visible signs of a good days fun and games by the time the last firefight had ended. One of my buddies, the one with the gun in the picture below, was shot in the ear by someone leaning over a banister. It drew blood, and the wound continued to bleed a little throughout the remainder of the day. It wasn't until packing up time that he realised he could feel something hard in the vicinity of the wound. Sure enough, the BB had actually penetrated the skin and buried itself in his ear lobe. One or two people could be seen 'squirmishing' as he proceeded to pop it out of the gash!

For quite sensible, and perfectly understandable reasons, all guns are restricted to firing on single shot. I went with two guns, a Masada and a JG MP5, the first with 10 HC mags and the other with 13 HC mags. The games were for the most part timed affairs lasting between 20 and 30 minutes each. The most mags I got through in a single game was 4 and I have to say I really enjoyed the 'discipline' of having to shoot more carefully and sparingly. When you're constantly targeting people at distances of just a few yards, or even feet, single shot is more than good enough, a fact you really appreciate when you're on the receiving end!

For £35, for non-members, you get a day's great gaming in a somewhat unusual environment, with lunch [fizzy drink, chocolate bar and a very nice burger] and unlimited free tea and coffee all included. We all thoroughly enjoyed it and I for one will definitely be heading back there again at some point in the not too distant future

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