NAE 2013 Review

Posted by Unknown On Tuesday, September 03, 2013

National Airsoft Event
Ground Zero, Dorset
- Report by Special Correspondent

Our Special 'Southern' correspondent reports back on the 2013 National Airsoft Event at the Ground Zero site based in Dorset. With more than a little surprise!
NAE SignPostsNAE CircleWagonsNAE CircleWagons2NAE Stage AreaNAE Players GatherNAE Player1NAE Player3
NAE Players6NAE Player4NAE Player5NAE Player2NAE Reporter Maree
After an absence of 3 years from the National Airsoft Event which is held each summer bank holiday by Zero One Airsoft at their site in Dorset, it was time for this reporter to make a return. I always remember the NAE as a fun, social event, where the two day and one night shoot is just a small part of the huge gathering of like-minded people and a chance to enjoy two nights and three days of BBQ’s, window shopping and general revelry of sitting back late at night talking Airsoft and trying to put the world to right under the clear Dorset skies. This year was no different, all be it, with some interesting twists that could have far reaching repercussions for our hobby.

Due to the usual amount of traffic, we arrived at the NAE at about 7pm on the Friday evening. As we turned off the A31, the roads were well signposted, and as we drove up Ashley Drive, through the trees and fantastic landscape of Zero One’s site, we passed a large group heading out for a Friday night game. The first thing we noticed was how well signposted the route from the A31 right to the camping areas was. Three-quarters of a mile into the woods and the NAE entrance, the excitement was building nicely. We drove right into the camping area and spent about half an hour setting up, then walked the half mile up to the registration area and signed in. Sign in was very fast, friendly and efficient and was a credit to how well the event was organised, and the planning that must have gone on behind the scenes to make the event work.

Following the sign in, we had a good walk around, socialised and sat down in the bar and had a drink with other fellow Airsofters. The common area/ main safe zone had a semi-circle of food vans, a seating area under cover, a stage, and at the far end, a bar shared a very large gazebo/ tent, with the Zero One shop. The camping area was very well signposted, and divided into three areas for basically noisy Airsofters, not so noisy Airsofters, and a quiet area. To make our report more interesting we decided to stay in the not so noisy area! Other than someone highly intoxicated letting off a late night explosion within the camping area, and the staff descending to find the offender, and the usual amount of vomiting and rowdy Airsofters staggering to tents, some ending up face down in a few entertaining positions after collapsing on tents, or in one case, bringing up a keg and dinner onto one poor souls brand new sports car, the night was uneventful!

Saturday morning came, and was quiet in the camping area. Approximately 1500 Airsofters were all busy getting kit ready for the day’s game. It was a credit to the hobby generally that when you looked around, Airsofters who had never met each other before were lending kit, helping others and engaging in the spirit that the majority in the hobby are a part of. Staff came around on vehicles announcing how long it was to briefing and where to meet, and again, this was a credit to the organisation of the event.

Approximately 1030hrs there was a briefing that lasted some time, then teams split into Bravo, Delta (go Delta!) and others, and proceeded to begin play. The briefing notes for the event in the welcome package were well written and thought out, with clear objectives. The welcome pack contained the usual Ground Zero / NAE patch, briefing notes, tags and a bin bag to assist in keeping the site clean. It should be noted that there was no chrono’ing of any guns, although players were clearly advised that they were meant to be responsible and random chrono’ing would take place, with severe consequences for anybody found not to be following the 350 limit, or persons caught cheating. Considering the majority of Airsofters attending were experienced players, this was a reasonable solution to a task that could have taken quite some time, either on the Friday or the Saturday morning. To the credit of Zero One, there was a chrono area set up and manned for most of the event so players could obtain advice and get guns chrono’d.

The Saturday appeared to go well, with intense fire-fights breaking out all over the site. For those who have not been to Zero One’s site before, it is one of the largest in the country, the terrain is varied, and it is basically based around hills and valleys within a pine forest plantation. Features include a village, several Sangers, observation points, forts and alike, spread out over quite some distance. Flags on flagpoles are spread out over high vantage points, with the objective of your team to change the flag, thus showing that that area of the site is under the control of your team. I could not compliment the concept behind this highly enough.

An important point to make was how friendly and helpful players in the main were to each other throughout the day and into the evening, and in fact throughout the event. None of the downside of Airsoft was seen and in fact we had an interesting incident that should be noted. On the way back at the end of day playing on the Saturday, a scope had come loose on one of our rifles, and fell onto the pathway back to the camping area without any of us noticing. The scope was quite valuable. We re-traced our steps when we noticed it missing, and found ourselves back at the reception area/registration tent asking about lost property. We were very pleased to have found that our Aimpoint scope had been handed in, and in fact that players this year had been so honest that there were already, as of 7pm Saturday evening, boxes full of lost property that had been handed in. At that point we also handed in some property we found on the site and walked off to have a drink thinking how incredible the good side of Airsofting actually is.

Saturday night was spent having a look at the second hand gear for sale by players in the area set aside for you to sell your old kit (another good idea that was well used by players), and enjoyed socialising, watching people collecting their raffle prizes, watching a bit of Full Metal Jacket on the big screen in the social/bar area, and enjoying our second BBQ of the event. The evening was very sociable (ed-plenty of drinks!) and again, it was a credit to the Airsofters who attended, that everyone relaxed and so freely mixed enjoying each other’s company. We retired for the evening after watching the night game players come in, and telling us how they enjoyed the game, which ran from approximately 9pm to midnight, we opted for a long walk, chatting to players all over the site instead. It was hard to get to too many camps that had been constructed by groups of players, as the spirit of Ground Zero/NAE was in full swing, with players and teams welcoming others, and offering a drink or helping fix each other’s guns.

Sunday started much the same as Saturday, and the gaming during the day was intense, with aerial explosions being set off above battles being fought all over the site, or to indicate parts of the site being taken by another team. The only issue raised on Sunday by players, and observed by ourselves, was the issue of “camping!” Like in the computer games played by some younger players, groups of players were “camping” off re-generation points and hitting players in mass when players attempted to return to the game. This led to some, what could be described as “altercations” by players, that marshals were at first, slow to respond to. Considering the number of marshals, and what appeared to be their experience (the majority coming over as ex-military or similar) we stood at one point watching up to 8 marshals discussing what to do about safe zones, whilst there was an altercation going on between players some 20 metres away (possibly unseen by the marshals). The marshals did eventually get into gear and take control of the situation in a positive way. It is hard to be critical of the marshal staff as over the two days they were friendly, efficient and generally appeared to be doing a reasonable job. As the day continued on the Sunday, they can be forgiven for being a bit tired and standing around in large groups chatting. Overall, the day’s play was good, with marshals responding positively to the small minority of players who were cheating. The situation was dynamic during the day and the majority of players were friendly and played in the spirit of Airsoft and were a credit to the hobby.

The day ended at approximately 4.30pm with Delta holding out and winning the weekend! Yes, I am biased, as I am Delta! All three teams, Bravo, Others and Delta came close during the weekend to taking the crown, but it went to Delta. This reporter will be back next year as it was a very well spent £85.

On the Friday evening we visited the Zero One site shop. A lot of work had gone into the shop for the event, and it was well laid out and very well organised, being in a long gazebo/tent with guns laid out on stands down one side, accessories in the centre, clothing at one end and a large counter area to pay at the other. The far side of the tent had various items laid out, such as boots and BB’s. On being attracted to the AEG area, we noticed several handwritten signs on cardboard, tied to the displays, between the guns. We were surprised when we noticed that the signs stated that as long as you had an event wristband, you could purchase any gun.

WE have more to come on this 'development' so stay tuned for more intel and re-action on this surprising turn of events for one of UKARA's founding fathers! - a story which has been 'suppressed' on their own forums!

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This review is copyright 2013 by Yosser's Airsoft Odyssey©/MadBadger Airsoft and may not be copied or reproduced without permission. Pictures copyright 2013 by MadBadger Airsoft©. You may link to this page


  1. Anonymous Said,

    I take it by your "shock and suprise" at Z1s "blatant disregard" for UKARA player numbers you also run an airsoft shop?

    Just because a player doesn't have a UKARA registration number doesn't mean they are unable to prove they are a real airsofter to the satisfaction of the seller.

    Nice article by the way, Glad you enjoyed your time at NAE13

    Posted on September 3, 2013 at 10:48 AM

  2. Unknown Said,

    Hi thanks for the comments - BTW yes ur right, and the blog has never been a fan of ukara's way (or 'no way, no sale' as they once advocated). As You rightly say many can prove they are valid skirmishers - no issues with that - but the hypocrisy of one of the founder members of ukara breaking its OWN trade association rules - while other members have to refuse sales - smacks of it! That was the 'shock horror' - more soon.

    Posted on September 3, 2013 at 8:39 PM

  3. Anonymous Said,

    UKARA is not required to purchase any RIF's in the UK only a valid defense. One would easily argue that spending £90+ on an Airsoft event which spans the weekend would count as a valid defense especially as there are still a lot of skirmish sites that are not part of UKARA.

    Posted on September 4, 2013 at 7:10 PM


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