“Military Simulation”

Juicy, why did you start playing Airsoft?

This is a repeated question that I’ve had to procure answers for in the past year of my employment(s) in the Airsoft industry, in some way or form.

I joined Airsoft for the military simulation aspect, or “Mil-Sim” as it is commonly called.

I’ve been doing some pondering lately in regards to this subject, as my 3+ years of at least EVERY week of Airsoft game play, purchasing, fixing, and general enthusiasm has started to become boring. By my calculations of the first game day I attended, that’s already 167 days I’ve attended. That figured doesn’t even count the many times I’ve been to 2-3 organized game days in a week. I get that there are more seasoned Airsoft players than me out there, but the vast majority of them have gotten bored and moved on. The most common complaint I’ve heard from talking to many “old-school” local Airsoft players is that the games are all run-and-gun now, and this definitely hits home with me now. Please do let me explain my thoughts after the break.

Now, I had found myself involved in one of the local clubs, Op-For Airsoft Club (soon to be only known as Lower Mainland Airsoft Group, a conglomeration of the two older Airsoft Clubs in my area) from pretty early on in my Airsoft career – I gave back to the community by helping out during game days and the like. I ended up in a volunteer position of Admin, sooner or later. Here, I cast some votes as a group of Club Admins for the betterment of the entire local Airsoft scene as a whole, not just for the benefit of the club or for my own reputation or increased power or for any individual. It worked out great, but only when the manpower and drive in the fresher Admins was still there, that is, to make the Airsoft community stronger and better as a whole. Irregardless of how things started to slide when people started clamoring for a fistful of power in the rapidly growing community, I never really got any decent Mil-Sim experiences out of playing with the Op-For Airsoft Club unless I put myself in situations that involved me getting shot at a lot. This always bugged me.

I started working in the Airsoft industry in early 2012, primarily as a salesperson for the retail aspect of that business. Somehow, more responsibilities got added to my plate without any raises or whatever – I guess I didn’t quite understand that about a struggling small business at the time. I sold my soul to this previous employer, and got beat over the head with it by the legal owner of that company. But that being said, while I was still working there, I had the opportunity to work with Julian (more commonly known as “optix” on the field) to build branding and general structure to what would become the largest game organizing company/group within the Lower Mainland. We quickly reached 120 players on a regular, weekly basis while I was still actively involved. This player count is absolutely huge; its a milestone as compared to a year and a half ago wherein Op-For considered turnouts of more than 40 players already overwhelming. Don’t get me wrong, the number of new players is only going to keep growing now that the ball is rolling… but, with the popularity of team deathmatch games involving killing the other team as the main objective, I really didn’t get any of that Mil-Sim flavour I was so desperately craving.

What I’m trying to get at is – where the hell is the Mil-Sim that I joined this sport for?

I mean, I’ve recently been put in charge of “marketing” (to some degree) at my current Airsoft retail job… and I’ve talked it over for hours with one of my bosses – it was in fact his idea to drive the newly opened storefront that I was hired to work at towards gearing players up for a Mil-Sim game. I loved this idea; I totally want to make it happen. But in the end, there’s still resistance from people not wanting to go the Mil-Sim route.

When I talk about running intensive scenario games or marketing to a Mil-Sim player over the past few years, I’ve been repeatedly hearing this inexplicable fear of losing popularity with the sudden boom of newer players who seem to dig the run-and-gun, high-cap-fueled, high-ROF/full-auto style of Airsoft. Yeah, many of these new players who are joining the local Airsoft scene are into this.

But… let’s face it. When they first start buying their stuff, anyone who joins Airsoft wants to dress up like either some sort of Special Forces elite SEAL military dude. How is that not Mil-Sim in itself – Call of Duty is a first person shooter that makes the player feel like a god, but it is also a video game depicting military simulation at its core? Why can’t the more “experienced” Airsofters remember that when they got into this sport, that’s all they thought was cool (until they realized that there was awesomely cool civilian crap to load down their rifle out there)?

I mean, this is fucking bullshit. Come on, Airsoft community.

Go Mil-Sim.

It’s what we all once wanted, anyway.


Thanks for reading, guys. Am I the only one feeling this way about the state of affairs within the local Airsoft community here? Or perhaps this is something also happening outside of my area? Leave me a comment if you have something to say – I appreciate your thoughts and ideas on this topic.

10 responses to ““Military Simulation”

  • Goggles

    I joined the Airsoft community because I enjoyed getting together with friends and shooting each other, in a simulation type of game or not. Nowadays, yes, there are a fair few high-octaned, testosterone filled shoot-em-up games in the Airsoft community (which we can’t do much about since that’s what the public wants), but I don’t mind because in the end of the day, I’m still shooting at something and I love running. Another end of it is that collecting rifles and dicking around with them till they start shooting even remotely straight is an art in itself, something that gives me a goal that ultimately dictates how I play on the field (will I be standing in the back or will I be in your face like a god-damn Panzer). The game for me is ultimately an art on and off the field (though I suck when it comes to off-field work).

    The Mil-sim aspect of Airsoft isn’t bad (I’ve had three great airsoft sims that I was a part–two with Op-for and one with ASG), and to be honest, I do miss those types of highly intense scenarios of waiting for huge, hundred man pushes, only for it to never come till late into the game. But at the same time, it requires patience (that and a huge group of people with the right mindset) something new players won’t have till they come to appreciate that a Military experience is exactly that, waiting, waiting, and guess what? More waiting (watch Restrepo or Jarhead and they’ll show you exactly that). And a field, which in the BC airsoft community, the biggest field that I know about is Panther. While I would love to have a huge Mil-sim scenario again, I don’t think the rest of the airsoft community is ready for it–less we pull off a huge game that doesn’t take itself too seriously (Watch Tim VS Bob on AirsoftGI. I found it was an excellent blend of Mil-Sim and run and gun).

  • Drew Sable (@thesable)

    I agree, its time MilSims are a regular accurance instead of a special event…
    I love the idea of going midcaps or low caps or Gas gun only scenarios.
    However, I love shooting full auto as well. I would love to see both on the same day.
    Ya gotta have airsoft for everyone.

  • Ivan Mabatan

    Honestly I’m pretty bored of the run and gun style games, I too play airsoft for the mil-im aspect. Unfortunately the milsim’s are not meant for new comers, it takes a lot of monetary investment sometimes in order to even participate in a well organized milsim. To be honest milsims are almost the next step as a player evolves in his airsoft career. I say give it time Juice, big things are in the works behind the scenes and things will only get better for airsoft locally. One day these newcomers will be come experienced veterans like yourself, that can only mean good things down the road for milsims. Remember when we would have 50-60 player milsims back in the day? Usually half of the players (if not more) were experienced, now imagine that with the current numbers and what if those players were just as experienced? I dont know about you but that gets me pretty hard for the future milsims here in BC.

  • Panda1

    Here the Panda out, being in the sport since 2003 this is definitely not new, milsim cannot be played regardless here. The key is patience tremendous of free work hours and group of dedicated people to set up the event and that alone is not only the factor but money and area is also needs to be look after. Milsim need to be micromanaged to make it work properly with minimum error so both veteran and new players can enjoy the taste of excitement.

    What I see all the time in any milsim is when a club or organizer throws a bunch of “Milsim rules” and declares it a milsim event, and to me that’s not milsim that’s just different game mode.

    I don’t mind the leap frogging to cover to cover and engage players that’s airsoft/paintball on regular games. The entire sport is played that way and to make it different just a sprinkle of minor objective and everyone will get an erection to play more.

    Milsim can be fun at times and set-up right but most of the time when its bad its gets really sour that you’ll leave mid-game and go home. And if you want a real Milsim then join the military cause it will get real as it can be 🙂 ROFL.

  • loopsss

    Before I ever played a game I listened to hours of old airsoft podcasts and assumed all airsoft was as Milsim as the games they where having in California. World War II, Vietnam and modern scenario’s with uniform and weapon standards to keep a legit feeling and look to the games and I assumed all airsoft would be like a historical reenactment with BB’s. Although my assumptions where way off I have come to enjoy all types of game play but since Optix stopped organizing Milsims because of being extremely busy Milsims have been few and far between.

    In my perfect world Milsim scenario’s would be simple but role oriented. Games could be as simple as a insertion team has to rescue a hostage who is being guarded. Patrols walk in regular intervals around the base to protect it. Opfor players could be briefed by game control to act or do any number of things to make it interesting. This style of gameplay could be possible even with just forty players. In my opinion with out a small percentage of role players the game turns into a total run and gun war.

    To have a level of emersion uniforms and weapons should have some continuity. For example opfor forces might only be allowed to have Easter Bloc style weapons and opfor players must wear a shemagh scarf. Simple but effective.
    No Hicaps and only support weapons would have box style magazines and SAW gunners would be required to carry a weighted back pack to lesson their agility.
    I know this sounds crazy but for large Milsims I would try to split up existing local airsoft teams to prevent the arguments, hurt feelings, cheating and the non hit calling that occurs when so much team pride is on the line.
    Players would have to get over this must win ego mentality and realize that as a guard or a recon team they are playing a role and might not fire a shot. I had the honour of having Dizzy as our fire team leader last Milsim and I’m sure he was a little stressed out in that position but he did a great job and to be honest I didn’t care if we won or lost I just enjoyed being part of the team, communicating, moving as a squad and doing are small part in a much larger game.

    I know it’s much harder to plan these games than it seems and I can only imagine how much time and effort would have to be spent to create scenario’s and run games that would keep everyone immersed, moving and engaged. Finding a location and all the other logistics that go with running these styles of games are also time consuming. I hope there are some guys out there with a much better imaginations and more free time to dedicate to these sorts of games than I have but if you ever need a guard, suicide bomber or CIA spy sign me up.

    Oh and I also agree that with the proliferation of gas guns on the market that this will have a positive affect for creating special gas and spring gun only days as well as a general push to games that don’t expend thousands of BB’s. Not that I mind perforating an airsoft field from time to time.

  • cjang

    IMHO the reason why i play airsoft is for MILSIM, yes there is a large degree of drop in games on weekends but i think what people need to get their heads wrapped around is that the nature of Military Simulation must consider the reality of airsoft. In reality large military operations require a serious amount of planning and coordination when dealing with a theater of operations, the amount of logistical and manpower support that goes into creating a campaign is impossible on a airsoft scale; thus seeing as most airsoft teams are not compromised of such numbers, not even platoon size logistical support or coordination, this must be considered when creating a Milsim event. We are not privileged like our brothers down south to be able to coordinate military simulations like OP IRENE..etc and we in no way should try to replicate that, because currently in BC we do not have the capable facilities but also our playerbase is not milsim in the slightest. Thus IMHO there is no reason why milsim games need to be public, as the nature of milsims within airsoft should not require a large amount of people and ideally only require around 20-30 (consisting of a few fireteams).

    I too have been playing paintball and airsoft for years and have yet to experience a REAL milsim (IMHO “scenario” games are more like better organized drop in games). In my view the only way this is going to be achieved is by organizing a milsim through teams and not allowing drop in players. Yes this may be viewed as ‘exclusive” but that is only if the event is advertised, which it does not have to be if there is proper communication between the many teams located within the greater vancouver district. When i played paintball i was aware of an organization i believe it was CSPO who organized scenario games out on crown land, this is how i believe we can organize milsims.

    Due to the nature of crown land (being public) adds to the importance of not allowing drop-in’s and making this a private event even more paramount, furthermore this creates a mutual responsibility between each single player on all teams as they accountable to not only themselves but others. Obviously there are legal ways of acquiring crown land for such purposes i am doing research currently and am finding one can lease crown land through ‘action sports’ permits and that one must contact local authorities to get the green light before even considering deploying to the area, but there has to be (again) a willingness for all teams/individuals to commit to private milsim events as not only may the organization be tough but also the logistics of such an event (probably taking place in ass nowhere BC) will be difficult. Not to mention all the safety and outdoors education that goes along with playing milsim scenarios that may span days out in the wilderness without any QRF security (medevac, SAR…etc). Obviously there is much more that needs to be considered when utilizing crown land and I am also fully aware that fact, but believe that if members of the community want milsims then they should become active in their search/creation of such things. I am also aware of the already establish alternatives which can be used as AO’s for milsims, I just believe that the vastness of BC can provide a great experience for milsimers.

    An example, (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxFgxZKiffA) i have always loved this video as i believe it really demonstrates what milsims are all about – as real warfare is not all pewpew boom boom contrary to Call of duty lol – and also that milsims can not just be direct action missions but recce, SAR…etc.

    Juicy im not sure if you remember me but i believe we spoke briefly at one of the drop in games about milsims and having talked to some other members within the airsoft gear store i believe if there is some serious planning amongst teams serious milsims can be achieved with great success!

    *By the way when I reference “teams” its really nothing more than a group of people committed towards a similar outcome, they don’t have to be official by any means but rather just fully understand what they are signing up for.

    -“VIGI” (V01) aka bobotea 😀

    ps- i would like to add that i have witnessed milsim teams in the Europe and they have been conducting similar milsims like i have explained above (involving small teams) as not only is this realistic and fit the realism of airsoft but also contributes to the fact that everyone wants to do the HSLD missions that SF conduct, i will leave some good channels here for people to view.

    • cjang

      i would also like to add that if one wants the event to be public, do not allow drop-ins but only allow teams. This would force attendants who signup to be organized to some degree, even if it is not a “fireteam” per-say and they are just a bunch of friends, it will facilitate coordination and preparation which inturn equals a more milsim environment.

      -also i need to learn proper grammerla

  • Pat Welch

    Playing at a club where all they do is “Run and Guns” for the game day isnt really helping this post though. At LMAG games (both current and past op-for/bcac games) There is at least 1 sim style game per game day. I agree though. There is not enough full scale milsims being organized out there. There should be at least 1 per half or even quarter. That being said, be the change you want to see in airsoft. Talking about it in a blog is kind of getting the ball rolling. But actually going out and organizing one (which i know you’re capable of) is the way to get the ball reeeaally rolling. Also, making rounds to play with other clubs also might help. I realize it probably is tough with someone in your position, but probably will help. I was in Vancouver for 5 months and didnt see you at an Op-for/BCAC game once. I agree, the run and gun games are most likely going to be the death of this sport. MILSIM FOR THE WIN!!!

  • overhoppers

    Thanks for all of your comments thus far – it means quite a bit to me that you guys are voicing your opinions in this regard… especially because most of you agree with me to some extent. I’m going to try to do something about it to the best of my abilities (but game planning and organizing is not my forte, so I’ll probably have to pressure someone else into doing it).

    You all do make very valid points. Its been so long since I last played a semi-decent scenario/sim day that I don’t even remember what it feels like to stand around and guard an objective with no one trying to attack, kill me, and take that objective. I do miss the hours of having nothing to do except mindlessly patrol and try to understand what people are saying over the radio.

    I’m not saying I’d want to do that as a full-time job, as Panda mentioned, but its nice to LARP that I’m in the military every once in a while, haha.

    Loops and Drew, I do agree on the full auto high cap stuff, in part. Personally, I find it fun hurting people with strings of plastic being slung out of my AEG at times; but on the other hand, I’m pretty sure that hurting people and enjoying it means something is screwed up in my head. It definitely does take away from the “Mil-Sim” roots (as I see it) that are inherent to what I think of the Airsoft game.

    Bobotea – yeah, I remember you by that name.

    Ivan, yeah, I’ve been repeatedly hearing that there’s some epic stuff coming up for over a year now. I’m not really in the loop of game organizing anymore, so all I see are the actual games that are run. Its no easy feat to get a decent sim off the ground, but that being said… well, to quote: “I’ll believe it when I see it.”

    Thanks for your support and feedback,


  • jethro

    well after reading your blog and all the comments I will offer a few of my own views. First off with the huge influx of new players, which mostly seem content to stand around and talk about their gear and guns and only want to actually game for a few minutes before going back to the safe zone for a three hour BBQ. This I have seen first hand. With all this talk about milsims it’s kinda unrealistic to expect someone with that kind of mindset to sit in a foxhole for 3 hours looking for the enemy. Secondly I have attended countless milsims and find with the run and gun mind set people will not stay past six hours or more. I personally know of two people that were left behind when their rides left the milsim early in Penticton. I guess what I’m trying to say is that sims run best if you have a large number of players that are really prepared to go the distance, people having enough water, food, batteries time ect. There is always talk of 18- 24 hour sims and there are a few that would be prepared for this but the most would loose interest after 8 hours. And as far as venues locally Panther Paint Ball is by far the biggest at 65 acres, there is also Burma, which I believe is over 500 acres in the mountains behind Mission. A field that every airsofter should check out.

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