Brother Beard, Master Jedi – Robo Murray (Rob) was the first man who helped me to start this article. I am grateful to him.
I read your intro post about your early findings in the differences in definition between different people and groups regarding milsim. And I have to say – from my experience, I agree: there are a lot of varying “descriptions” of what milsim really is.
And it’s generally no different in Canada. And while I would say there’s a place in airsoft for everyone’s definition of milsim, I would also say there are some features/formats that are somewhat required in order to achieve my definition of milsim.
In Canada, in the circles I run with (I operate out of Ontario, Canada; most concentrated number of airsofters throughout Canada)…Milsim is a tricky beast. While most events do a really good job at providing a “milsim experience” when they tag on the label milsim – there are still instances of skirmish events pretending to be milsim.
My definition of milsim includes:
- Generally a larger playing area (not really a requirement)
- Generally a larger player base/larger game (not always a requirement)
- Longer total scenario time (extremes are not a requirement, but ‘longer’ should be generally)
fighting force structure
- Limited and/or realistic ammo capacity loadouts
- More realistic rules of engagement and weapon operation (ie. semi-only, unless LMG/support. Weapon capacity generally determined by weapon; m4 = 30 rounds, ‘real-cap’)
- Real-world objective and scenario structure.
- As many scenario enhancing pieces to increase the realism of the experience as possible (set pieces, ‘actor’ groups/units, pyro, soundtracks, vehicles, etc.)
Now – with that said: the above list isn’t a list of individual items; they all work together to provide the milsim “experience”. Experience is the operative word. Milsim is about the experience – it’s about attending an event, and playing in a “real-world scenario”; one that replicates a real-world-type situation/engagement, and draws you into it.
For example: Just because you have a large playing area with a lot of players – doesn’t mean it’s milsim. It just means, without real-world objectives and structure, that you have a very large field that supports a very large number of skirmish players.
Another example: Just because you have “flag-pull” objectives, doesn’t mean those are “milsim-type objectives” – it just means your skirmish game has goals.
In Canada – we’re so far pretty good at minimizing “large skirmish games masquerading as milsim”, but there are still a few out there. For the most part however – our true milsim events are just that: a deeply enriching experience that involves well-thought out objectives, has a organized and comprehensive command and reward structure. Most have well-controlled ammo limits, and real-world roles.
In terms of specifics – our milsim events vary a bit. Generally, most milsim events in our part of Canada range between the 16-30 hour length, depending on the specific event structure, how many players it fields, and the size of the AO. You’ll sometimes find “fun” day-long milsims around the 8-12 hour mark; generally called or likened-to a “mini-milsim”, or “combat-sim” (more about the combat side of milsim, without some of the more benign real-world requirements).
Depending on the size of the AO, the number of players allowed in an event varies. For milsims here in Canada, you generally find the lower limit to a game falls somewhere between 90-100 players, all the way to about 350.
AOs vary from milsim event to milsim event, too. There are milsims in which their scenario dictates an “open-world” format… organic environments with natural terrain challenges/features… all the way to hybrid-locations, which include open terrain as well as either complex natural features or man-made features, such as urban complexes, buildings, streets, warehouses, airfields, etc. The scenario that supports a milsim event is generally the driver of the choice or selection of an AO, generally.