You’ve got a good handle on your gear, you’re confident that you know how to shoot, and now you’re ready for your very first airsoft battle.
It can be intimidating walking into an airsoft arena for the first time and not knowing how to expect, so having a handy guide for newbies will take some of the pressure off of your first airsoft game.
So, how do airsoft battles work exactly?
Airsoft is a game with many variations and with many types of play and scenarios to choose from. Most of them revolve around military tactics and combat strategies where you play as part of a team, and they can be as simple as a short 60 minute battle to a full day of play.
Before you enter your first airsoft battle, you’ll need to be prepared with the basics.
There’s a lot to know about the rules of engagement, what gear is required, the types of battles you can play, and a general code of conduct that everyone must adhere to.
Ultimately, the battles are what makes this game such a thrill for players, and after your first, you’ll be undoubtedly hooked.
How Do Airsoft Battles Work?
Airsoft battles involve many different types of games and playing styles.
All players are equipped with their own airsoft weapons and are working towards a common goal, like capturing the flag or taking down members of the opposing team.
The general theme of an airsoft game is to use combat and military tactics to attack the enemy and avoid getting hit yourself.
There are various scenarios in place which can be as simple as a deathmatch or with more detailed instructions like what a military or law enforcement team might be instructed to follow.
These games are played either on an indoor course or an outdoor field with other participants. How many participants are involved in a game and what their role is within that team will differ.
There are also new versions of games being introduced and invented, but for the most part, there are some favorites that players seem to prefer.
There are strict rules in place at an airsoft field or facility that must be adhered to, as well as general rules of conduct that players must be knowledgeable about.
To ensure airsoft battles are enjoyed by all players, versing yourself in these rules and understanding the basics of the game is essential.
The Types of Airsoft Battles
Airsoft is a game with many different types of battles to choose from and there’s usually a selection of options available at your local airsoft field.
Most battles will have a military or combat theme to them or a certain mission you have to achieve.
These are some of the most common types played in the US.
This is the most popular style of airsoft battle featuring two teams in a basic battle against each other.
When a player is hit, they must return to the respawn zone until they’re able to join again. Players keep track of how many kills they made and then at the end of the battle, this is tallied up to decide a winner.
Capture the Flag
Flags are planted at each team’s base and it’s the goal of the other team to capture those flags and bring them back to their own base.
If you make it to another team’s base and collect their flag, you must still have to carry it home so it’s visible and try to avoid being shot as you do.
There are two common variants of this game, Live Flag and Dead Flag, as well as many lengths of the game with just one or multiple rounds to be played.
This is a larger scale of the team deathmatch type of battle with a difference. One player on each side is the designated medic and they have either no weapon or a singular pistol with no extra ammo.
If another player is shot, the medic must go to them and “heal” them before they can come back into the game.
It’s the role of the medic’s teammates to protect themselves and the medic from being shot because once the medic is down he will not be allowed to return.
This is a game of one player versus many. The single player is equipped with a sniper rifle and given a certain amount of time to hide.
The other players must find and shoot the sniper and return him to the checkpoint, and they are given one chance to run away again.
King of the Hill
One team guards a spot on a hill while the opposing team tries to charge them and take over the area.
There is usually a flag or checkpoint on top of the hill and whichever team is closest when the time is up will be declared the winner.
An airsoft battle played with four different colored teams, with two of the teams usually being allies. There are six posts around the field that must be captured and whichever team has the most at the end wins
A certain number of players are designated to hide out in a fortress and defend themselves, and it’s up to the other players to try and eliminate everyone inside.
Whichever team ends up with more players left is the winner.
One player is unarmed as selected as the president to be escorted to a specific checkpoint. One team must protect that player against the enemy who is actively trying to eliminate the president.
Cops and Robbers
This is sometimes called a police shootout, and all players are only equipped with pistols to reenact a fight between law enforcement and criminals.
In a quick shootout, a certain scenario is set up, like a bank robbery, and both teams must duel it out to see who wins.
Working with two teams, it is the goal of each team to capture six flags and posts that have been scattered around the field.
A flag must be attached to the post to mark it as theirs, and whoever has the most posts secured when the match is up is the winning team.
Larger Airsoft Battles
An airsoft battle will have a predetermined number of players allowed in each match.
This number will depend on the type of battle being played and the capabilities of the field or facility being played at.
Generally, for a game like medic, you can expect around 15 players on each team but this can vary greatly, with some games just having four players at a time.
There are large scale airsoft battles being played all the time, and organized events each year that see players from all over the world come together to join in. To date, the largest airsoft battle ever held was Border War 5 – Operation Warhammer which took place in the Czech Republic in 2015.
This particular battle had players from 37 different nations throughout the world and was played for over 50 hours.
There were historical vehicles and helicopters on the course and a range of harsh weather conditions that replicated the tough terrain that those in genuine combat have to deal with.
Over 200 players were air mobiled onto the course, setting the record for the biggest airsoft battle ever.
What Are the Rules of Engagement?
Airsoft is a game that relies on honesty, as unlike paintball there’s no real way to determine whether or not someone was hit.
Therefore, understanding the basic rules of engagement is essential for all players to ensure a fair and enjoyable game for everyone.
Each airsoft field or facility will have their own specific rules in place that must be adhered to. Failure to follow these rules will usually lead to disqualification from the specific battle you’re playing in and potentially a lifetime ban from that facility.
In addition, each airsoft battle or type of match will also have specific rules relating to gameplay and these must be followed.
As a game that relies heavily on the honor system, it’s the responsibility of each player to tell others when they are hit.
The best way to do this is by raising your hand and yelling audibly “HIT” to indicate to others that you are down and they should not shoot at you anymore.
What qualifies as a hit is something that is directly on your body and it can be any part. This doesn’t count a shot that has ricocheted off another object or player, as it has to be a direct hit.
Once hit, you are either out of the game or sent to a respawn zone where you must wait for a set time to be up before you return.
Failure to report a hit is considered cheating and if you are caught doing so, you will be instantly disqualified. It is also cheating to pretend that you’ve been hit to avoid gunfire.
There will be a marshall or referee on hand who will overlook any problems like this, but it’s up to each player to be responsible and honest about the game.
Other general rules include:
- All players must follow the rules in place for firepower allowances. Each facility will have a maximum velocity they allow which is somewhere between 300-400FPS.
- You must transport your gun in the correct carrying case and never remove its orange tip.
- Local laws must be adhered to if playing in public or private property.
General Guidelines to Follow
All airsoft facilities will have their own guidelines to follow during a battle or gameplay.
These could differ depending on the location or the type of battles that are played there.
Here are some things to keep in mind that are generally followed by most airsoft facilities, indoor and outdoor.
Know your weapons
It’s up to each individual player to be responsible for their weapons and have a good understanding of how to use them.
A battle is not the ideal time to be testing out new guns or learning how to shoot.
Don’t fire wildly
Many facilities have rules against firing wildly during a battle and without any real purpose when shooting.
If you can’t take the game seriously then you may be asked to leave.
Only fire on the field
There will be dedicated firing zones on a field and you should never fire your weapon unless you are in these safe zones.
Likewise, don’t take your weapon out until you are inside of the playing field.
Show good sportsmanship
Airsoft has a large and loyal community and using foul language, aggressive behavior, and cheating will generally not be tolerated.
The Chain of Command in Airsoft and Gameplay Roles
Airsoft has many types of gameplay and scenarios, and in each one, players will be designated a role.
This could just be a general team member or something more specific, like the medic, so it’s important to know what your role is and follow it.
The game works when everyone understands their role within the team and respects it.
Depending on the type of scenario you’re playing, you might be allocated one of these standard roles in airsoft:
- Runner: The designated runner will be decided before the battle, and their job will be making it to a specific point on the course without being shot.
- Soldier: A general soldier who has full ammo and basic weapons.
- Specialist: This could be a sniper or other specialist tasked with stalking the enemy or hiding out in camouflage. They will usually be more skilled at using these specific weapons and understand the importance of stealth and patience
- Protector: One of the more heavily armed players who have a responsibility to protect their teammates.
- Medic: Usually unarmed or lightly armed with the role of healing team members. Once the medic has been hit, they are out of the game so must be protected by the rest of the team.
- Team Referee/Communicator: Like a narrator who communicates to their team about what’s happening on the field.
- Game Referee: The overall referee who is responsible for making sure players adhere to the rules and call their hits.
What You Need For an Airsoft Battle
Players have the option of bringing their own weapons and accessories or renting them from the airsoft arena or field they’re playing at.
The gear required for a battle will depend on what scenario is being played out and the specifics about weapons and roles.
However, in general, these are the basic supplies you’ll want for a game of airsoft:
- Weapons: Airsoft guns can be spring powered, electric or gas-powered, and you might have a primary weapon and sidearms.
- Ammo: Always used ammunition approved by the site, usually a 6mm airsoft BB.
- Protective Gear: Eye protection is most important but you could also use kneepads, face mask, and helmets.
- Clothing: Choose something comfortable, covered, and durable for an airsoft match.
Finding a Place to Play
When you have all of your gear and are confident in your shooting skills, you’ll be ready to find somewhere to play your first airsoft battle.
As a growing sport and one with millions of players in this country alone, there are usually plenty of options for arenas and fields to enjoy airsoft.
Check your local area to see what facilities are available and find out what battles and games they have planned for the day you want to go.
These places usually work on a timetable or regular schedule so you can book in for the type of challenge you want or show up on the day.
Airsoft is a game designed for entertainment but there are still many rules and regulations that must be adhered to.
Here are some other questions that can help beginners get an understanding of what’s required for an airsoft battle and what restrictions might be in place.
How Much Does it Cost to Play an Airsoft Battle?
If you have all of your equipment and weapons but want to know how much entry into an airsoft arena costs, this can range between $10 – $30.
The price will depend on the type of match being played, the size of the arena, and what day of the week and time it is occurring.
Are There Age or Other Restrictions in Place?
Each facility will have its own age limits or restrictions in place, but generally, the minimum age to play an airsoft battle is 12-14 years old, and some set at 18 years old.
Other restrictions could include not allowing players under the influence of drugs or alcohol onto the field.
Is Airsoft Legal in Every US State?
Airsoft laws differ in each state and although it is meant to be a safe game there are still restrictions in place.
In Arkansas, the possession and use of airsoft guns is completely banned, and in Massachusetts and California, the legal age to purchase and use these air weapons is 18. It is up to the player to research their local laws and adhere to them.