Just like paintball, the hobby of Airsoft is a wildly popular activity that has spawned hundreds of groups dedicated to gathering together and having shootouts with their mock weapons. Just like any projectile weapon, there are safety concerns involved, and before any tournament can begin it’s important to set up some ground rules.
Follow the Basics
There is no single official set of Airsoft rules. Each group varies, so finding a single set of concrete rules will be difficult. But there are some basic rules that every group should follow regardless. 1. Wear protective gear. Full-length clothing and eye wear is a must at all times. 2. In the U.S., all Airsoft weapons must be orange tipped according to Federal Law, to delineate from real weaponry. 3. Check all players’ ammo and muzzle velocity. No metal BBs allowed (as they pierce skin) and velocity must be under 400 fps.
Tournament Play Basics
First, make sure the teams are balanced and easy to pick out, meaning some type of colored jersey is helpful. One-hit kills are best; meaning any contact on the body is considered a kill. Honesty is key with players, as only they truly know if they’ve been hit. If they have, they must shout “OUT!” and clear the field. This ensures other players won’t hit them when they are already “dead.” Dead players must remain silent and offer no hints to their teammates as to enemy placements or strategy. Hostages must not be taken, as this can be misleading and dangerous. Timeouts are prohibited, due to player confusion on large playgrounds. It’s important to lay out play boundaries, and set up “no fire” zones. If each player respects these rules and respects his/her fellow players, no issues should arise.
In order to add interest and keep the game fresh, it’s a good idea to add some more complex game play into the mix. For example, to reward stealth instigate the knife kill rule. This allows players to sneak up behind other players and tap them on the shoulder. If they do this unnoticed, it’s considered a kill. Moreover, integrate the classic game of Capture the Flag into the mix. Keep the one-hit-one-kill game going, but make allow “killed” players to come back every five minutes. This way, in order to win, one team must capture the flag. This game type usually needs a referee, but the extra effort pays off. Be creative and have fun!