Ground Zero - Aug 10

The Ground Zero weekender, or NAE (National Airsoft Event) is the biggest gathering of airsofters in the country. This year, numbers reached 1500 making it the largest turnout GZ has seen. Luckily, the Black Scorpions were invited along to play and meet some of the players to get their thoughts on airsoft products and what they'd like to see in the future.

Having to travel from Bristol with no direct route to Ringwood we had an early start, although by the time we reached the site, it was already teeming with players geared up and ready to go. After parking in one of the fields at the back of the safe zone, we set up our tents and headed for the safe zone where we received our info pack. The info pack contained comprehensive information on the weekends events, team objectives, safety points and even a map, one other thing that was intelligently included was a bin liner for every player.

Ground Zero boasts a huge woodland site with a diverse range of terrain, valleys, ravines, open plains, heavy woods, light woods, hills, dug outs and even a couple of watch towers. Most of the ground is made up of soft peat which whilst forgiving on the knees prevents the use of pyro. The site is so big it is quite easy to get lost, so the included map was used several times. The site marshalls were seen to be working hard for the entire event, although their presence was minimal, due to the space they were required to cover. The quality of marshalling seemed fair in our opinion, however, I did speak to several people who thought otherwise.

The game included many rolling objectives that kept the weekend interesting and maintained a good rhythm. The thing that surprised me about the weekender was the number of under 18 players, it seemed there were as many children as there were adults. This was hilighted by the huge number of two tone guns standing out around the site.

Zero One had a large tented shop although the opening times didn't coincide with the games pauses, there was also a UKAPU tent, UK dogtags and a photography service available as well as the customery burger van.

When the games stopped at 5pm, we returned to our tents and geared up to spend the next 3 hours walking around the camp site, armed with our sponsored guns and questionnaires we talked to over 100 players collecting their opinions on the guns we had and their thoughts on what they'd like to see.

After a few hours sleep, we went back out for the final push for victory when playing resumed on the Sunday. The play on Sunday seemed faster paced than Saturday and provided some good, intense firefights. The team and myself finished playing at 1pm to spend another 3 hours talking to more players and filling out questionnaires, all the players we talked to were happy to fill out our questionnaires and give us their ideas and the team would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who gave up some of their time to talk to us, hope fully with your help we will be able to focus the efforts of airsoft manufacturers to produce even better products in the future.

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