What happens when you take two British airsofters of different ages and playing styles and send them to Crete for a major game? Bill and Kelly draw their series on "Warzone 2018 - The Final Assault" to a close with their report on what turned out to be a most remarkable and unique game!

Bill: I've been looking forward to Warzone 6 for many, many reasons, some personal and some professional. Due to surgery last year I've been finding it hard to get back up to full speed in terms of my game, and the thought of travelling to Crete to take part in a three-day event both excited and terrified me; would I be fit enough, and could I hack the pace? Our preparation had been thorough in all respects, so in my mind the only potential "weak link" was me...

You can imagine therefore that it was with very mixed emotions that I met up with my mate Kelly to head to the airport. Kelly and I have been friends for some considerable time now and I have really seen her grow into a great airsoft journalist, but at the point of meeting to fly to Crete we'd actually never played a game together! Such is the life of an Airsoft Action contributor as we are rarely at the same place due to covering different games and events the length and breadth of the UK!

After a memorably entertaining flight though we arrived safely at Chania airport where we had arranged to be met by Stelios, the main man when it comes to all things "Warzone"; Stelios had kindly offered to put us up at his own apartment for the days immediately before and after the game and we had all already become mates over messenger and emails before we arrived. The run from the airport in the dark revealed little to us of Crete other than after the sun went down away from the coastal strip things got dark... VERY dark!

Now one thing I will tell you straight away is that if you are ever thinking of heading to Crete for Warzone then you will get an absolutely superb reception! For our entire stay nothing was too much trouble for our hosts and we were made to feel like family from the get-go, even to the point that Stelios handed us the keys to one of their vehicles, an elderly yet sprightly camo-painted Pajero, and told us that it was ours for the duration of our time on the island; Kelly and I promptly named it "The Battlewagon"!

The next day was spent meeting more of the Warzone team and setting ourselves up, sorting food and water, and generally getting our kit ready. NUPROL had very kindly shipped our E&L AKs and RAVEN pistols and these duly arrived in good order; of course, Stelios knowing the local UPS driver helped just a little with a super-timely delivery! After another pleasant evening where we were introduced to seasoned Warzone player Nikolas (who would be with us on the UN Team for the game and became known to us fondly as "Baggy") it was time to head to the site. Due to the guys leaving super-early to set up we piled our kit into "The Battlewagon" and set off for the famous Arkadi Monastery, a great landmark situated right next to the site. Arriving after a somewhat hairy drive on some Cretan "local" roads we made it and proceeded to chrono and check in; all the procedures to do with Warzone are absolutely nailed, so there's no stress at any point.


From the registration point we then set off into the unknown again, making our way to the "UN Compound" which the team themselves were busy creating; yup, you heard that right, the team themselves got the materials and tools delivered by the organisers but then it was up to them how they created their FOB and perimeter. I really liked this aspect as it puts the onus on the players to create their own operating base... no blaming the organisers if it turned out to be wrong! This was also the first of many aspects of the game that I found quite unique, but I soon learned that in Crete the players take responsibility for their own actions and inactions which makes a thoroughly refreshing change!

I would say that one challenging part of being a Brit at Warzone is that all the briefings are delivered in Greek! As much as that sounds daunting Nikolas and a new friend Thomai were on hand to help us with translation, and they stayed with us all weekend and were always happy to tell us what was happening, so my thanks go to them very sincerely. Thomai's team-mate Manousos also turned out to be a real star as like me he is certainly an adherent to the "Six P's" and had everything from snacks, sweets, cakes and coffees 100% squared away. He and I spent a lot of time talking over the weekend, and he definitely comes under the heading of "a top bloke".

The UN team leader, a serving Army officer, turned out to be quite a character too, and was magnanimous in all things, even when Kelly christened him "Space Commander General"! Briefings and taskings were clear and to the point. Our role as "UN" was to mix things up a bit, making alliances with the other factions. OCTAPUS, under the command of General Kora, managed to control key positions of the Government, whilst former members of the government army, the Guard Regiment Command or GRC, objected to the new regime and repeatedly attempted to overthrow it. Into the mix came a team of US Army Rangers who were to exploit the situation and work with whoever looked like the new rulers of the fictional island of Atlantis. There were also spies amongst the teams and a rarely-seen Spetsnaz detachment who were keeping a beady eye of the Yanks! The mix of teams is a clever one as if you want a full-on "Hardcore MilSim" experience then you can certainly get it, but if you just fancy a great game with an immersive "BattleSim" style scenario this is on offer too, and the balance is perfect!

Kelly: Over my last 4 years in airsoft, I have played every event imaginable, from hectic Speedsoft to Battlesims and even physically/mentally demanding MilSims but I have yet to play a game that caters to multiple types of game styles in one event. This is exactly what WarZone is! As Bill has already covered the nitty gritty of the event, I’m going to take you through my favourite engagements from the weekend and also what I have taken away from this game.

Over the course of the weekend, we had some fierce engagements and firefights but Saturday for me was the day when everything really kicked off! As Friday was quite focused on the roleplay side of the UN forces, working out alliances and such, the action really started when the GRC attacked the UN camp Saturday morning. I had been out taking photographs for this report during the early hours and was just having a sit-down and replenishing fluid when all hell broke loose at the entrance to the camp with the shouts of ‘GRC! GRC! GRC! UN Medic!’ I quickly grabbed my chest rig and slung it on, picked up my rifle and headed out of the tent and towards the fire. On my way to the entrance to the camp, one of my UN brothers handed me a grenade, a water balloon for destroying vehicles. As I reached the front gate I took a quick peek around the camp wall to see where their armoured vehicle with the gun turret that was pinning down our troops in the woods was located, I threw the grenade as hard as I could and it hit the driver’s door destroying the vehicle (and splashing the driver in the face!). As they exited the vehicle I moved forward towards the vehicle and took out their driver and the two riflemen supporting the vehicle thwarting their attempt at taking the United Nations camp; I got our injured forces back in the game and we made plans to bump the GRC. It was seriously epic and left me in a feel-good mood.

Saturday afternoon, at 5pm we had a mission to assist the Octapus side from an attack at the Ranger Base south of the GRC. After we received our mission briefing, our forces loaded up into the three vehicles and off we went. As we drove into the entrance, there were bodies strewn about everywhere from where the GRC had come through with an absolute vengeance. Our vehicles rushed in, our troops dismounted and spread out through the woods. Our machine guns started to fire on the advancing GRC forces with our riflemen supporting them, as we got closer to the GRC our troops began taking heavy casualties with screams of ‘UN Medic! UN Medic! UN Medic!’ and as I was the only live medic on the field it was my job to get everyone back in the game. As I ran from our support vehicles to the ground troops in the field, we got our troops back into the fight and continued taking ground from the GRC. As we moved in on their location, Bill our machine gunner on “top cover” was taken out by enemy fire so I jumped into his place to start laying down the plastic and giving the UN forces covering fire in order to advance. My firefight ended with the vehicle I was on being hit by a mortar round.

After a day of excitement, Saturday night came with a lull, for the most part, it was too quiet as night fell. I sat in one of our support vehicles on STAG for a good few hours, just watching the night roll in and keeping an eye on the borders of the UN camp. As the moon reached its highest points, cracking sounds came from the woods and lasers started to appear from the trees. It was only a matter of minutes before what seemed like all of the GRC and Octapus forces had come to roll us in the night. Our support vehicles started laying down fire onto the roads leading to the camp as anti-vehicle weapons started appearing from behind the walls. GRC breached our camp walls with a ladder and all hell broke loose inside the camp with ‘UN Medic!’ being called and red dead lights flickering on, I jumped out of the car to support those inside the camp until I found myself walking through the back door. As I walked through the pitch black woods I heard something breathing next to me in the darkness. I whispered ‘UN?’ and in reply I heard ‘No, Octapus’ and in the panic I knife killed the player but got immediately slotted by his mate afterwards. A good end to a fierce day of battle.

Bill: Sunday morning dawned even brighter and clearer than the previous day; it was looking like a HOT one, and indeed the temperature climbed inexorably towards the 30's! Again luckily, at this point we were given "guns free" and could take the fight to the enemy rather than simply waiting to see if they would engage us, governed as we were by strict ROE. This was probably my favourite part of the game as I like a good scrap as much as anyone, and of course in the woods it was a few degrees cooler too!

As the game wound down final alliances were made, and the "Final Assault" on the village began, with GRC entrenched with the Rangers, and Octapus and the UN trying to remove them! I decided to view this alongside Stelios, and what I witnessed was some absolutely SUPERB airsoft, quite literally as good as I've seen anywhere! All the teams pushed and pushed back, and as "GAME" was called everyone had given their all!

Kelly: My trip to Crete was definitely a trip of firsts, from my first time driving in Europe, to the first time riding on the back of a motorbike, trying new foods and even having a go at preparing Shisha, it was only right that I tried an entirely new role during gameplay! As I was the smallest and quickest member of my squad, I was chosen as the Medic. This is a role I’m not used to playing; I prefer to be at the front of the action rather than hanging back, and what I learned from playing this role is: I definitely need to do more cardio and a medic should never be the charger because if you get shot first your squad is pretty f*cked unless there is another medic nearby. It was definitely an interesting learning curve to play this role (and not to mention exhausting during the big battles) but I don’t think it’ll be a role I’d necessarily jump at in future games.

Overall, I had an amazing weekend at Warzone 6! Although I’ve been told that this really IS the Final Assault and they have indeed gone out with a bang, I’m really hoping that Stelios and the team will run another event in the future so we can go on another Cretan adventure! I just want to take the time to thank our host Stelios for his hospitality during our stay, the War Zone team for running such a fantastic event, our translators Nikolas and Thomai for helping the two Brits throughout the weekend and of course the players on all sides for being so welcoming, generous and hospitable – this definitely won’t be the last time we visit the beautiful island of Crete.

Bill: Now I've used the word "unique" in this report, and Warzone certainly is "one of a kind" and all the better for it. Safety glasses go on as soon as you enter the site, and they stay on for the duration as you are "guns hot" ALL the time, even in your compound; this is rigorously enforced. In terms of hit taking (and "HIT" is pronounced "EXO" in Greek in case you're interested!)  you are issued with an orange vest and a flashing red band at registration so when you are hit you can indicate it very clearly indeed, both during the day and at night. You are also issued with a numbered armband, and if you transgress in any way your opponent will simply ask for your number with no shouting and screaming. Now I will admit that at one point I was asked for my number and I was absolutely mortified! Luckily as I discovered later this was just for something insignificant, but at the time I was truly disappointed that I thought I'd let the side down; believe me, this is a far, FAR better way of dealing with incidents than shouting and screaming, as yet again it puts the responsibility back on you, the player.

And to me this was the thoroughly unique part of Warzone; in their brief the Rethimno Airsoft Association (R.A Action) states clearly that you should "play airsoft in such way so to please (your) opponents!!!” and this is a tenet that they live by, doing their utmost to ensure that all the players have a superb game. Rather than being totally fixated on who "wins" both the organisers and players are genuinely more interested in having a super-solid event played with total honesty, honour, and integrity; they want everyone to play as hard as possible, to enjoy the event, and to come away with a smile. I will tell you that after attending Warzone 2018 I will be smiling for a very, very long time, and as for Warzone 2019 I look forward greatly to visiting my new-made friends again and attending another awesome airsoft event run "Cretan Style!"

Our sincere thanks go to Stelios, the rest of the Warzone team and all at the Rethimno Airsoft Association, to Nikolas, Thomai, Manousos and all our UN team-mates, to NUPROL, Snugpak, Helikon-Tex, and Military1st, and also to every single player that attended; to you all Kelly and I say "Thank You, and Yamas!"

Hardwick, K & Thomas, B. (2018). Warzone: The Final Assault!. Airsoft Action. 89 (July), 24-29.

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