I played at Hit Takers for the first time yesterday and had an awesome day…

I heard about Hit Takers last year, through videos friends from the Systema PTW Usergroup Facebook page had posted on YouTube. The concept of Hit Takers is simple, but absolute genius. Imagine playing an invite only day game, at a premium site, where the founding principles are common sense, experience, fair play and most importantly – and as the name suggests – a binding, uncompromising agreement by all present to take their hits. I’m extremely grateful to have been invited and feel privileged both to have attended a Hit Takers event and to have played at Copehill Down.

I’ve never been to Copehill before and it’s certainly a sight to behold as it looms tantalisingly out of Salisbury plain, as you drive slowly down Tank Track Q. Now, I do like my urban and that’s not to be confused with CQB – which I’m not that keen on, to be honest. Queuing in doorways, funnelled to attack down easily defensible corridors, spamming semi while walking around corners – I’ve yet to be impressed by a CQB site. Urban gives you the space to be tactical, manoeuvre and work for your kills – while also offering some indoor play for those who like that sort of thing. Though as Tash the Desert commander said straight off at the team briefing, don’t hang about in doorways. There are players who thrive on going fast indoors, so give them the space – limited though it is – to do their thing. There’s a niche for everyone. Play as a team, but play intelligently and play to your preferences and strengths. That absolutely sold me on Tash’s leadership and she continued to command expertly for the entire day.

I sometimes find at skirmishes that the safety/game briefings are 1. long and boring – perhaps because the organiser no longer actually enjoys airsoft (understandable, having to deal with airsofters). Or, 2. long and like car crash stand-up – because the organiser enjoys minor celebrity status (although in fairness, the latter probably do remain enthusiastic about airsoft). The best organisers just have the knack and John Clancy’s briefings were perfect examples. Short, to the point, no bullshit, suffering no fools and genuinely funny and entertaining. Not only that, but the games were well planned, sensible, easy to digest and not dressed in a ‘realistic’ scenario involving additional suspension of disbelief and a fictitious conflict. No LARPing here. I could almost hear the gaffer tape blood group swatches being peeled off (only joking, mil sim chums).

Morning game was attack and defend/fall back – played both ways. Afternoon was a little more complicated, but I’m not going to bore anyone with a blow for blow account, except to say it was incredibly good fun. There are no marshals and no chrono – there doesn’t need to be.

I did wonder before I attended Hit Takers – given that all hits are acknowledged, would I come away thinking I was more skilled or less skilled as a player? On a normal Sunday, there are plenty of shots taken where you think you’ve hit someone but they go unacknowledged by the target – which is an unpredictable element in appraising your own performance. Playing at Hit Takers aptly demonstrated to me that some of my ‘dead cert’ hits on opposing players are not hits at all. But, it was really really nice to have the lucky shots acknowledged. The honesty of all the players involved was incredibly refreshing.

As for the level of ability at Hit Takers…it’s Tier 1. Everyone was hard working and there were some truly talented, game raising players in attendance.

So thanks to everyone at Hit Takers, including those I haven’t mentioned yet. Those who organised, those I played with, those I played against, the people who said “Hi” and put faces to screen names and the person who invited me (they know who they are). It’s true what John Clancy said on the day and afterwards (just now actually, in response to the blog – this is a small edit)…

“…you need to edit one bit. Add that the players are the ones who made the day, not me, not the games but the way they were played by everyone.”

So, thanks once again to all and credit where credit is most definitely due 🙂

Will Sunday skirmishes ever feel the same again? I doubt it. But they are still good practice for the main event – Hit Takers. I’m looking forward to the next one.