This issue, Bill Thomas looks at some excellent sites ‘close to home’, as he sets off around the country in search of a good day’s play…
It seems to me that new sites are opening all the time at the moment, and whilst that is a little concerning given the finite number of players, it is also encouraging to see that the site operators feel that there is enough of a market to keep them going!
Ultimately, an airsoft site is a business just like any other, and although that does create some debate as to the veracity of said sites and the type of play they deem acceptable, the fact is that they need to offer both games and facilities that are attractive to players old and new. This is a tricky balancing act, as existing players simply want to arrive and get on with things, whilst the newer players obviously need some additional management!
How do you make a game, and indeed an entire site, attractive to players of all ages and styles? The simple answer is that you can’t, it’s impossible! Some site owners will bend over backwards to accommodate players, and I’m pleased to report that the days of the ‘lazy site op’ are largely, and thankfully, things of the past.
These days, it’s not sufficient to simply turn up, open the gates, give a meandering safety briefing and then let players ‘have at it’, and loathe as I am to admit it the speed of information exchange via social media will soon let players know if a site or site team is ‘sub-par’ very quickly indeed!
New sites, even though they are still developing in terms of infrastructure, need to offer a solid game experience from the very beginning; once upon a time, I would get invited to the very first day of a new site, but recently I’ve noticed more and more fledgling site operators asking me to give them “time to get things settled in” before I rock along to give a review, as they want to ensure that what I see is the full picture and not a snapshot.
Standards are inevitably higher than they were when I first started playing airsoft, and although sometimes I look back to the early days of almost ‘self-regulation’ with some nostalgia, I understand that changing times need new approaches, and the ‘new breed’ of site operator appears to want to offer the very best, most exciting and absorbing, yet thoroughly safe experience they can.
When I wrote last month about what I personally look for in a good airsoft site I mentioned a number that are within easy drive of where I live in Kent; so, this time I thought I’d look at these particular sites in more detail, and I’ll be widening this out around the UK month by month. If you are running a site, please get in touch with me, as I’ll endeavour to visit you, and I’ll look to see you featured in the future!
(Please note that all Site Limits for power are maximums measured using an industry standard .20g BB)