When I visit fields, I can quickly tell whether my experience is going to be a great one or one of those “well, that was fun, but not the best” kind of experiences. Here are a few criteria I use to define a great field and would like to see all fields implement. As always, be sure to leave a comment with your opinion on what you look for in a great field!
Staff really do make or break a field. If the staff is knowledgable about the field, is up-to-date on various airsoft weaponry, and understand tactics that work well, players tend to respect them and gameplay is better as a result. Staff that understand the scenarios that are being played, enforce the rules on everyone, and don’t play favorites, just make my day. On the flip side, staff that don’t interact with me and make me feel welcome, stand by when players need help, or fail to explain rules or missions well, just put a damper on the game for everyone.
Easy Staging and Good Timing:
I really enjoy a field that has a comfortable, or at least well laid out, staging area. Enough tables, some seating, room to move around, and easy access to bathrooms and water, make getting reset after a hardcore round of airsoft way faster. A couple of community/info boards are nice for both helping out local airsoft groups and making players more informed about airsoft in their area.
Another key feature of a great field is a well thought out time table for games and staging. If games drag on and players aren’t having fun, or if staging takes 10 times longer than it needs to, I start to wonder if I’ll be coming back to that field again. Games and staging need to be focused.
This doesn’t mean that adding a bit of unexpected elements into a game is a bad thing. I enjoy it when the staff insert an extra challenge or switch up the scenario to something the players really want to do. But, does anyone really need 20 minutes to reload 3 mags….. really?….
Good Rules and Gameplay:
Even if you have the best staff in the world, a staging area that looks like the Ritz, and a time table strict enough for a SEAL team, if the gameplay doesn’t meet that standard, then people won’t be coming back.
Some field rules don’t work well unless implemented properly and enforced (like safety kills). Refs need to be patrolling the field without being intrusive to the gameplay. It is also essential to have a Ref at each respawn point to make sure that players are following the rules.
(To see my thoughts on why safety kills aren’t all that safe, check out my post HERE)
Plenty of scenarios that are unique to the field make gameplay a ton of fun. If a field tailors classic scenarios (like TDM and Capture the Flag) to the field design itself, players are able to enjoy coming up with tactics that work for that field. For example, if “Capture the Flag” is the scenario and the field’s design caters to teams that rush to the frontline, Refs should put the flags in positions that rely on a strong defense to protect (like out in the open, or in an area that has little protection). This way, each team has to be strategic on how they position players and distribute their force if they hope to capture the other team’s flag and keep their own.
I hope you got some ideas of what makes a field great and how you can improve even backyard games. Feel free to provide some input and mention a field that you really enjoy playing at here in the comments or on the Airsoft Warrior Facebook page.