Heavy Metal – In-Game Vehicles

Are vehicles in airsoft the best thing ever or indestructible annoyances?

It’s debate time once again and this issue we’re discussing “heavy metal”, not Iron Maiden but in-game vehicles. What we were interested in getting the low down on, was your views on having vehicles in-game. Do they enhance your play or are they an almighty embuggerance?

Debate: In-Game VehiclesIn the last ten years we’ve seen airsoft games go from including the odd jeep or “technical” at top end events, to vehicles now being so common place that most sites have a Land Rover or similar to use for VIP protection scenarios – or at worst as ersatz tanks! At the zenith of the scale, companies like Tier 1 and Stirling airsoft provide helicopter insertions at some events for a lucky few and the site of an APC clanking around the site is almost common place at many a MilSim. Not to be outdone, the WWII scene has got in on the act and motorcycle combinations, GMC trucks and even armoured cars have been incorporated into historical gaming days… But the question is still, is it worth it?

While many players felt that vehicles added to the immersion and that they didn’t mind paying a premium if it was something they could utilise, ride on or medevac out on quite a few players balked at the idea of stumping up an extra £50 or more to be at an event where the other team got to play with all the toys while the insurgents looked on. A few however thought that even just having the OpFor “mobile” was well worth the extra expense.

Debate: In-Game VehiclesIn the age of litigation and “health and safety gone mad” (as some would have you believe) there are serious constraints as to what you can really get away with when it comes to battlefield mobility. Obviously shooting at a chopper isn’t a clever idea but it’s probably not too bright to try and hit a driver in the face even if he’s only doing ten miles an hour. To this end, many sites make their vehicles “un-killable” by small arms and require a number of close pyro explosions to take even a truck or jeep out of action. The practical reasons for this are obvious; the last thing you want is a driver losing control and it’s also often very hard for a driver to hear BBs hitting parts of their vehicle, or judging whether they are “hit” in a firefight and still concentrate on safe driving – but this does cause problems to some of you when a Mitsubishi truck takes on the airsoft equivalent of Challenger II armour in game. It can be massively frustrating to be pinned down by an indestructible truck when in reality your AK47 would have it in pieces using less than a magazine. The immersion and suspension of disbelief disappear but is there a safe alternative? Many players and sites have tried nerf rockets (impossible to hear them impacting on you while driving a 4×4), damage absorbing “plates” (again nigh on impossible to see or hear) and remote or detonated pyro (unreliable and if a player’s too close seeking protection behind the truck… potentially dangerous) but few have found the perfect solution.

In general though this month we seemed to have a fairly one-sided debate, with most of you of the opinion that as long as they were used in a safe and controlled manner and that nobody took the micky, then vehicles were real game-enhancers and well worth a few extra quid on your playing fee – especially at the big events or at military training area sites.

Have your say:

Oliver Holmes – “Hell yes as long as the rules are fair. I’ll pay reasonable extra to ride in them.”

Mark Spencer – “We have a downed helicopter at Tac House Spartan in Chesterfield – it is a modded transit van.”

Rod Armstrong – “I have found that they are a bit of a double-edged sword. If they are used just to transport players around, then that works great, in fact that’s exactly what the FV432 at Lightfighter used to be used for and very effectively, with the end result that nobody really got irritated with the thing. I have played in many games where the “invulnerable” Land Rover has made an appearance and it’s usually used to make a game move in a particular direction by being invulnerable. Without going into airport politics it can be both a good and a bad thing in a game where you expect to engage something that shoots at you, personally I wouldn’t pay extra for this and have seen it used and abused. Again though, they could just be used as transports.

Sean BE – “I think having period vehicles enhances the game play and that includes wrecks and working vehicles. It adds to the realism and I am all for it. I wouldn’t however look to pay more for the experience.”

Nicky J Mantle – “I would say it’s more to do with “safety” giving the driver a burst of full auto could cause him to crash or drive into someone. I have no issues with paying extra or not being able to engage them.”

Scott Allan – “Vehicles do help with the suspension of belief. Safety is always key though.”

Debate: In-Game VehiclesBilly Gumbrell – “We have been collecting vehicles at Bluestreak over the winter for game scenarios this coming year. A small Nissan van which has been used in extractions in the past but will become multi-role including as a mobile sentry gun. A Land Rover Discovery to be used as a CP team vehicle and in the future, cut down to a technical with mounted belt-feds and a BMW 7 2.8 will be used as a Presidential limo. All vehicles are being fitted with means to detonate pyro (marshal detonation) and will be marshal-driven too. Being able to ambush a VIP and have to take out his security team with real chance to “blow up” vehicles with various methods is not the norm. But it is bloody good fun!”

Matt Burns – “At Airsoft Plantation we use vehicles on a regular basis; the 7.5 tonne to transport the troops to the far side of the site, where there is usually an ambush waiting somewhere along the way. We also have three 4×4 vehicles that have been painted green, these are used to escort a VIP. Again this is ambushed and we have to protect the VIP and take them to the RVP. So in a nut shell, if you use the correct vehicle in the correct situation this can enhance the airsoft experience.”

Malcolm McColl – “I personally have had great experience with the use of vehicles at MilSims, primarily as transports to keep the game flowing (outflanking, insertion and hunterforce). The only real issue I’ve had with them is the “invincible Land Rover”.

Sam Beech – “At the likes of Stanta and Copehill they add that bit of realism to the game. Even funnier when guys from your site are on the enemy side lobbing stuff at you!!”

Chris Martin – “If there was a way of “destroying” vehicles in-game instead of using pyro (Berget use an AT-4 infra-red system I think?), then that would be awesome. It would also create a good game objective for an opposing team.”

Lance Gilbert – “Tag airsoft’s helli weekender a couple of years ago was absolutely fantastic! A couple of Landies, a Rapier missile system and whilst everyone got a chance to go airborne in the Huey (for what looked great value with the photo shoot of them sitting Rambo-style off the landing skids), I gotta go top gunner in one of the in-play army Snatch vehicles ‘n give them a big greeting from my RPK as they jumped out on the LZ n ran to the woods!!”

Matthew Gillard – “The trucks at Airsoft Plantation definitely enhance the gameplay, being ambushed suddenly while driving along is definitely a brilliant way to start a game and gets everyone going straight away.”