Black Hills Airsoft - May 3rd -
Situated in Spring Wood, Chesterfield, this gigantic site has loads to offer. Whether it’s hiding in a ditch and springing an ambush or crawling through the undergrowth to get a better shot on the enemy, this site has a bit of everything.
We first attended this site on May 3rd for the trial day. There was a good turn out of around 40 people, though any less and I feel that the game day would not have worked due to the size and nature of the site. The weather was fantastic all day, and the safe zone was well organised with a much needed barbecue on at lunch.
The first thing we did once everyone had arrived on site was take a tour around the perimeter of the entire game field. However this greatly delayed the starting time of the games as the tour took up at least an hour. Personally I think that as an alternative the Marshalls could have a map, on which they could point out the different areas to everyone, which places you could and couldn’t use pyros, where was out of bounds etc. Though that said the tour did give us a good insight into the layout of the site and allowed us to get our bearings. Another thing we noticed on the tour was the terrain. In places the site was extremely boggy and had big ponds forming in places. We were extremely lucky on the trial day as the weather was good, however there were still massive bogs which at one point a player fell knee high into, so I’m not sure how the site would cope in poor weather. One final thing we noticed on the tour was the uneven terrain. Almost immediately after we left the safe zone there were short, steep hills everywhere, meaning plenty of dips in the land. However this was great for concealing movement during the games and on more than one occasion we were able to get behind the opposition springing a surprise attack.
After the tour and safety brief we moved swiftly on to the first game; a simple team deathmatch across a clearing in the woods. However with nothing for cover except gorse bushes in the middle both teams were forced to use the flanks to try and get behind the opposition. One improvement I would make to this game is adding some cover in the form of tanks, barrels, hay bales, etc. to the field to make it a classic thrilling team deathmatch as oppose to a longer more tactical game. Another thing we experienced on the first game of the day (Plus another two times after that) was dog walkers. Ceasefire was called in good time as previously discussed in the safety brief and no harm was done, but it did rather break up the games and allow people to change their positions on both sides.
The next game we played was a more tactical one; Attack / Defend the village. Don’t get the wrong idea though, the “Village” consisted of around 7 one-man barricades mostly made from thatched reeds and hay bales which surprisingly, still provided decent protection from the attack. At the start of the game the defending team split up into two teams, one team went straight to the village to prepare for the last stand whilst the other group set up and ambush for the team who would be attacking the village. Due to some miscommunication between the Marshalls the attacking team set off early, giving us little time to set an ambush – Easily resolved with the use of the radios though. On the whole this was one of my favourite games of the day, I particularly enjoyed setting up an ambush though this could be improved for the defending team provided they had a little more time and the attackers were kept on the track. The idea of unlimited respawns until dead and out was called also worked very well and the way the cover was positioned within the village allowed the game to flow without being too easy or too hard. One thing I would suggest is some more hard cover in the village as there was little to hide behind especially if more people attended.
After this was lunch which had a cracking barbecue and a friendly, banterous safe zone atmosphere. One thing I did notice was that the marshalls were constantly looking for advice on how they could improve the site, a survey/ questionnaire was going round at lunch and all the time they were asking people what they thought of the games.
Following lunch we went out for another two games, one of which was the attack/ defend game turned around and the other was a escort type game, both of which were played without hitch. The final game was the team deathmatch (That was played at the beginning) turned around although by this point the majority of players had got their fill of airsoft and were ready for a good nights sleep!
All in all then I think the site still needs some improvements, but it was certainly one of the, if not the best and most well organised trial day I’ve attended. With the use of some more hard cover, a site map, more specific game zones and other minorities that were pointed out by players on the day, this site has great potential, I would definitely recommend it.
A special thanks to ATRenshaw Media for photography on the day,