Less than a two hour drive for my son and myself to play in a day-long operation with Bob-the-Axeman, MilSim Junkie, and Spartan177GW? YES! I’ll be there! That was my response when Daniel Jaimes of Airsoft GI invited me to be a part of Bob’s Rebel Training Camp: Northern Resistance at GamePod Combat Zone on February 8, 2014. The event is part of the Airsoft GI Tim Vs. Bob series of airsoft operations which have given players a chance to fight along side Tim and Bob, hosts of most of the over 1600 Airsoft GI YouTube channel videos.
Area of Operations
Games have been played a various fields in California, but Bob (the Axeman) Hildebrand told me he considered Game Pod to be the best indoor field he has every played. I have to agree. It is estimated to be three acres of plywood buildings creating an entire city, complete with gas station, school, drive-in theater, bar, tattoo parlor, airport, and more. That’s just the infrastructure. They also have a late model Cadillac and two gas-powered buggies driving the streets of this sitting. One buggy has a minigun mounted on the roof which is controlled by a joystick in front of the passenger seat. An image search on Google for “Gamepod Combat Zone” results in dozens of pictures of various features of the field. The pictures also display the reason I did not get any of my own pictures of the field. The lighting is the same as the other indoor airsoft facilities I have played. It is dimly lit with amber industrial warehouse lighting. The light level is adequate to play and tell the colors of the teams, but it does not lend itself to satisfying video or photography. Sound reinforcement would be the other aspect of the facility which was not improved over other indoor fields. It was difficult to make out speech over the public address system, yet we found out on the field that an instructor speaking loudly without yelling was easier to understand than someone yelling or using the microphone.
The other aspect of GamePod Combat Zone that impressed me was the management. I have never before seen a commercial field with so many game marshals. This was a pleasant change from most indoor fields. I believe that the presence of game staff on all areas of the field contributed to the pleasant atmosphere without arguments or confrontations. On occasion it was a little hard for me to get shots on the enemy at specific exposed passages because game control was standing in that location. I choose to believe that my AEG is accurate enough that it’s okay that I shot at the enemy there anyway. Sorry Ref. Not only were there a large number of referees, they were also good. They were helpful and made the game more fun. Often they would direct troops to specific areas of need from respawn. Rules were reasonable. Minimum engagement distances and indoor shooting was based on muzzle velocity with a simple two-tiered ranking. Maximum velocity was 400 fps, and guns were classified according to being above or below 350 fps.
This game was called “Bob’s Rebel Training Camp.” It was oriented toward new and younger players. It was a perfect operation for introducing my 12 year-old son to MilSim operation airsosft. There were three training
sessions led by former members of Airborne and Special Operations. The instructors were excellent, explaining how real steel and airsoft tactics differ instead of just focusing on one or the other. Instructional sessions were conducted with the players by the trainers, using the buildings and vehicles. They taught crossing roads, “popping” corners, “slicing the pie,” the importance of communication, transitioning from one’s dominant side (or not), transitioning from primary to secondary weapons, using vehicles for cover, concealment, or both, building entry, room clearing, and window entry. Training sessions would be followed by a skirmish between the orange and green teams, using specific objectives for scoring the game. The afternoon practice skirmish was divided into two evolutions to allow each team a chance to use the vehicles according the training from the instructors. Most of the elements of the training were review from similar sessions by Roundhouse Productions, but I was glad to review it and for my son to get this valuable training.
Actual play was intense. This was easily the largest participation I have seen in an indoor operation. It was estimated that there were over 200 players. This may have been a little too much for the size of the field. Parts of the field would become deadlocked with neither side capable of gaining ground. We had plenty of opportunity to practice the training throughout the city. Window entries, street crossings, room clearing, and use of moving vehicles for concealment abounded. Each evolution of the game rotated starting and respawn locations along with locations of objectives. This provided for each team to have a new experience each time, because the field is large enough that you never get a chance to cover more than about a third of the area in a single round.
The day ended late due to slow serving of the great lunch which was included with the cost of the game. They were sure to get in all of the play time without skimping, even though it meant keeping staff around for a longer time. The closing session started with being showered with free Lancer Tactical BB’s, patches, and Airsoft GI t-shirts from all directions. The end of the day was a raffle sponsored by Lancer Tactical for tactical gear and 18 Lancer Tactical airsoft guns. Players were welcome to stay following the raffle to get autographs, videos, and pictures with Bob the Axeman. This went over very well with the young players who apparently watch a lot of YouTube… and I got my picture with Bob, too.
Bob’s Rebel Training Camp was a great operation for new and experienced players alike at one of the leading airsoft facilities in the country. If you were there you would agree. If you were not there, I encourage you not to miss a game sponsored by Airsoft GI if you ever have the chance to attend.