Event: 4th Airsoft Meeting - Basra III
Type: Airsoft event
Location: Ociesęki near Kielce (voivodship Świętokrzyskie), Poland
Organizer: Adams, Marcu, ARC, Igor, Macios, Hulki, Fijas, Grzesiek
Registration Fee: 30 zł
Number of participants: 265
During summertime there is a particularly strong will to organize airsoft meetings. Most of them luckily are held in good weather conditions. Even though it would rain, it is not that disturbing as in cold season. Nice weather is a player-magnet.
As many events, that many plots. Game background may be related to real-life conflicts, or their imaginary consequences but as well it may be reality made up from the beginning to the end, just for the scenario purposes. Quite often we may observe that scenarios are season related. This year, on the last weekend of July - exceptional event took place.
While usually, there is quite visible distinction between "good" and "bad" side of conflict - during this game, it was not certain at all. Every player taking part in this event, were playing a role of... Arab involved in civil war besetting one of the Iraqi towns - 10 years after allied forces has fled the country. There was no way allied forces might have come back to Basra. Game territory was divided between rules of JIP (Just Iraq Party / orig. pol: PiS - Partia Iraku Sprawiedliwego), OS (Osman Settlement / orig. pol: PO - Porozumienie Osmańskie) and strong Guard of Basra, keeping order in the downtown.
"PGR" Ground (*Public Agricultural Unit - was large agricultural farm idea during communist times. It is a pity but it never worked good till the times of airsoft usage :))
During the fourth edition of Basra, organizers and as well friendly airsoft groups (guys from Nam68, Alco and from Busko), has proved large commitment. Arriving participants were greeted by guarding post with swing-beam barrier, surrounded with warning signs in arabic or amusing ban for firearms. Whereas guards, during security check, were suggesting (especially to those who were late) their will to accept any unconstraint gifts, which might ease further co-operation... Most of the guards were dressed up in galabiya (traditional arabic outfit) and keffiyeh (arabic scarf) on their heads and what we have heard that some of them - especially for event – have grew long neglected beards.
Town of Basra which was group of buildings of one of the PGR complex near Kielce (Poland), was from one point logistic center for participants, and on the other hand part of the gameplay. Forest with desert like field, which should give a feeling of home for Arabs, was also in the range of the game.
Security check carried out on latecomers
In the topic of campsite facilities, organizer took care of running water and toilets. Barbecue sausages, drinking water and gameplay pyrotechnics were also included in registration fee. Those who arrived early could find parking and camping spots inside part of the big buildings. Most of the time participants could listen to soundtracks of classic war movies but as well middle eastern disco - Tunak Tunak Tun, song which was decisively number one in "Basra Top List". Even though this ditty originates from a bit more Far East, it was not taken much as a drawback. It was the first meeting where I had an opportunity to fight to the accompaniment of this sort. Character builded up upon this is hard to describe. You should rather experience it by yourself.
Speaking of character of event, you just cannot omit strong commitment of participants. It was very favorable and what is more, notice of any clashes occurred hardly ever. Good mood was infectious - there was a lot of irony above Arabic roles participants have chosen.
Awaiting for orders in OS base (orig. pol: PO)
During whole first day of the event, Basra downtown was fully controlled by strong Guards. They were strong to the level (because special hit policy), that attacking them had little sense, but still it did not scare of the daredevils. Such rules, made the downtown, more or less demilitarized zone. Crossing border lines of downtown, one should have firearm on his back and keep from getting exposed near Guards. When there would be casual security check, person had to present soldier's ID, given by organizer together with commemorative badge during registration. Apart from above, every player received sticker with Task Force assignment and soldier's pay in events' currency. If somebody got unlucky enough, he might be stopped for security check without his ID (you might loose it i.e. when captured by enemy) which took effect in imprisonment and... getting stoned. Same "death" was intended for prisoners of war handed over to Guards of Basra.
Faces of PoWs prepared to be stoned. They feel anxiety of what would happen next
To get somebody stoned to "death" was to face him back to high pole, and then throw at him with painted grey styrofoam. The only chance for convicts was in hands of their commanding staff, who might try to mercifully buy them off. We do not have to add, that for those who were "tied" to the pole it was special but tragic in consequences highlight of Basra meeting. Right next to the main gate there was a building with "Hotel Royale" caption, where Adams was playing the role of mercenary veteran, the owner of local casino. It was the destination for anybody who wanted to get some intelligence info or buy sturdy Guards' services. One might also go there just to rest while gambling. There was a chance to try roulette, card games and - just for the brave - Russian roulette. At a stake there was events' currency or Guards' services. Frequently, commanding officers were sending their envoys to increase funds and change them into one or two squads of Guards.
Apart from strictly airsoft part of the game, there was as well broad LARP background. To be successful in the game it was not only to fight well. Intrigues, intelligence and counter-intelligence machinations were also important. Props were also making a good impression. RPGs shooting with "New Year's" rockets, were not surprising. We encountered them during previous events. Though well-made plane wreck (frame, tail and wings) with pilot in smashed cockpit (broken front window, cockpit from ... Fiat 126p?), is definitely not to be seen everyday on the other events. Even though in the base you would have to provide extra trenches, after reaching the destination, there was a headquarters' tent surrounded with sandbags (or sawdust).
OS (PO) Base and designated respawn
One of the RPGs required to destroy enemy base
To fulfill one task you had to locate and bring to base three colored hard drives
During the second day of gameplay, rules got updated. So far during the first day of shooting, except from fighting each other, sides had number of secondary tasks. On Sunday the only task for both of the sides was to locate and kidnap sheikh, who was played by Arc - one of the organizers group. Covert actions of both parts quickly changed into open fight in downtown. This time weakened and now playing with same hits policy as everyone Guards of Basra, were busier than ever. Firstly forces of JIP (PIS) located sheikh, and took him away almost out of the hands of OS (PO). Immediately OS agreed to cooperate with Guards of Basra and under common standard they started to chase JIP back to their base. When just a few JIP shooters tried to stop march of joint forces near Hotel Royale, at once at small building aimed dozens of rifles: "It was the first time I've experienced something like that, It has given impression like somebody would start pouring BBs through window with buckets" - commented one of the surrounded JIPs. Nevertheless keeping the marching joint forces busy for a while, had its value in delaying sheikhs' liberation. During heavy fights near JIP end of the game was announced.
After the game, there was a time to set the contests winners, among which probably the most important was "The most distinctive character". Irrevocably, this competition number one, went to Pissmejker playing the role of Hassan at the gate. He proved himself worthy this distinction by greeting, searching through arriving players, playing the role in the way, which were leading to good mood and event's specific character. Rewards were sponsored by Polish airsoft shops: Zbrojownia, MetalGun and Gunsmith, providing also service and supplies during gameplay.
What we have learnt from regular Basra participants, game standard is as good as it was previously. It is hard to believe, that everything we have seen there was prepared on non-profit basis. Event makes really good impression and we were proudly playing a role of media supporter.