So, I’ve been to a fair amount of themed games and MilSims, I’ve played Green Team, Tan Team, Task Force and OpFor… All have their merits and to a large extent they are governed not only by the event rules and organisation but also the players who occupy the roles with and against them.
Let’s ignore the moral implications of playing a “Bad Guy”, if you can’t tell the difference between Airsoft and real life then your probably in need of more help than I can offer. I did recently talk with a group of young players who at a walk on game discussed milsim and saying that “they are rigged for task force to win”…Well I’ll be honest I’ve never really paid much attention to winning or losing after the fact but I can wholeheartedly say I’ve not been to a game where events were knowingly manipulated, Beyond minor tweaks to enable the game to flow.
You might think your working against the opposition, but in truth you are connected very closely to them. Much like Bruce Lee’s “Tao of Gung Fu” there should be harmony and balance on both sides of the fight, you rely on them and they on you. This might seem like a strange idea but there’s solid reasoning for it…
In order to beat the opposition you’ll ideally want to be controlling how they move and fight, always playing to your strengths and limiting the oppositions opportunity to take advantage of your weaknesses.
With Taskforce, they are generally better armed, equipped with armed vehicles and often an integrated comms net allowing prompt reinforcements via a QRF (Quick Reaction Force) If drawn into a firefight. Their weaknesses are usually that they generally carry more equipment, can be hampered by a strict ROE and can also be less situationally aware of the ground (especially if operating from a secure FOB)
OpFor on the other hand can have very different strengths and weaknesses… some of their key potential strengths are that they are able to potentially be seen and treated as non combatants, with the crucial ability of choosing when and where to engage… this can be a massive advantage. Also freedom of movement, A single OpFor player can cover a massive amount of ground and keep a great battlefield awareness, communicating discreetly with OpFor command via phone, radio or even messaging platforms such as Facebook messenger or Whatsapp.
Their weakness often lies in their hardware… Vehicles and weaponry are often less overt in nature and therefore can often be at the mercy of a reasonably well armed Taskforce patrol, however it’s surprising how effective a concealed weapon can be in the right circumstances… keep them talking, get one of the sheep to leave the pack and then make him your bitch. Although airsofters are quite quick to die like a hero, something intimidating like a TAG launcher or MP7 levelled at their balls can make most people very compliant.
Asymmetric warfare is the bread and butter of OpFor, setting up ambushes, diverting the attention of Taskforce away from your objectives, small and irregular attacks on the Taskforce base of operations… Psychology comes into it as well, I’ve been on both sides of a FOB under attack… when your inside and everyone’s screaming “Stand To!” And its 03:30 and your barely functioning on 2 hours sleep in the last 24 hours it can really put a dent in your ability to function.
What you might not realise at the time is that a single person could be the source of all your grief… just one guy with a mortar or tag launcher popping off shots just for shits and giggles, I guarantee it’ll feel like your getting hit by a dozen well armed OpFor, your eyes will play tricks on you and you’ll spend the next 2 hours on edge and unable to sleep whilst that single guy with a tag launcher is back in his rack getting some shut eye. On the flip side, If Taskforce find out where he lives he can expect an early wake up call with a fair amount of pyro lobbed at his general direction and potentially an uncomfortably long ride in the back of a truck with a hood and flexicuffs on.
In order to effectively work as an OpFor you have to become the things that Taskforce fear… you have to be the Vietcong sneaking in through the wire, the boogie man quietly moving through the building or the faceless shadow in the woods… do this and you’ll be doing the role right, you’ll not only have fun but you’ll also make Taskforce’s game fun too… nothing gets your heart pumping like facing a worthy foe.
I’ll go into the loadout side of things in a later blog, the foundation of any Milsim player is the mindset. Without this, you have zero chance of contributing to a great game. With the right mindset you can find that it’s a very rewarding experience.
To sum up, OpFor is primarily about mindset… it’s not something everyone can get their head around but for those that regularly play the role you’ll often find that playing Taskforce just doesn’t hold that appeal. I know I’d much rather be shooting TAG rounds at armed vehicles than be sat in one.
I’d Like to thank Bristol Recon and Stirling Airsoft for kindly allowing me to use some of their photos… If you are thinking of making the jump into MilSim and your willing to bring the right attitude, Stirling is well worth a look…