Hey everyone, and welcome back to the blog!

On the weekend of 26th-28th October 2018, myself, Unicorn Leah, Jet DesertFox and Dayton from the House Gamers left DesertUnicorn HQ for MilSim West’s infamous insurgency style game at George Airforce Base in Victorville, California named ‘Flashpoint Astana’.

The insurgency style games are worlds apart from their other events - insurgency focuses more on the role-playing aspect of the game with players creating businesses, an economy and also an intricate social/political dynamic. For this game, instead of picking up a weapon, myself, Unicorn Leah and our friend Kat decided to be non-violent anti-war protestors very much reminiscent of the Vietnam war protestors in the hippy era, the 1960s & 1970s. Whilst Leah, being a flower child at heart herself already had attire that fit the bill so to kit me out, we took a trip to the local goodwill to find me some hippy-esque clothing. Which we did! Once our outfits were on point, it was time to get to the craft store for posterboard, glitter glue and artificial flowers to complete the look! You can check out my ‘MSW Flashpoint Astana Prep’ vlog here!

Next, let’s chat about the AO - George Air Force Base! It is a former US Air Force base in the town of Victorville, California. It was established by the US Army Air Corps in 1941 as an Advanced Flying School. It closed at the end of the WWII but was re-activated as a training base at the start of the Korean War in 1950 where it remained an active training base until it finally shut its doors in 1993. In the 25 years the base has been closed, with no maintenance the AO has naturally degraded meaning it looks more like something out of a post-apocalyptic movie – from fell trees and collapsed roofs, broken glass and missing walls, it was gnarly and the perfect setting for war-torn Kazakhstan. It has a complete road system that spans the entire site and over 100 derelict buildings to fight through.

After arriving on site, we set up our sleeping quarters in the government building just behind the main square of the city. Which due to the AO required dust masks for when we cleared all the debris out of our room - by the end it looked like a post-apocalyptic hippy college dorm. Once we were set up, we walked into the square for registration and gained our citizen cards which identified us as a citizen of the city of Astana. After a quick brief from Astana’s government officials, we got our boombox, protest posters and camping chairs and set-up in the town square. Shortly after we sat down the local Shark Tank approached us wanting to invest their Fetty Bucks into our not-for-profit business - ‘Party for Peace’. After our encounter with Shark Tank, we decided to take our investment money into the town and live our slogan, party for peace. 

Our first stop was the Spice Rack - the local nightclub in Astana. The Spice Rack was a small hole in the wall covered in graffiti, yet inside it was a fully functional club - from disco lights to a sound system and a makeshift bar - the Spice Rack had everything needed to make the citizens of war-torn Astana forget their troubles for a few hours. As the only nightclub in the city, it became the HQ for the Sisterhood of the Travelling Panties ‘Party for Peace’. We were welcomed into the Spice Rack by the doorman who proclaimed ‘ladies enter and drink for free!’ And we began our mission to get the citizens of Astana to party for peace. After half an hour or so, the party was truly raging and we had assimilated another sister into our sisterhood - Sharon. Whilst outside the club we heard rumours that a tattoo shop had opened in Astana so we made our way to the outskirts of the city to check it out - we walked into the shop and was met by Pauly and his assistant. We began perusing the artwork on the walls and in the design books and came across a few designs that would be perfect for us. One by one the Sisterhood of the Travelling Panties made our way into the tattoo chair and go ourselves inked up for the event. 

After visiting the tattoo shop and the gallery that had opened in town, we visited the local casino - where citizens and government officials could relax with a spot of gambling. It’s where I learned to play ‘Blackjack’ but after a few lucky runs, I decided to dip out. As we made our way out of the Casino, a couple of friends approached us saying that NATO forces wouldn’t let them return to their base just outside of the town confines so we decided to set-up a ‘hippie escort service’ - we convinced the Police force patrolling the city fences to allow us to help our friends get back to their home and set about walking the short distance to their quarters. As we walked down the path we shouted ‘We are unarmed, please do not shoot’ and ‘party for peace’ to ensure the NATO forces knew we were unarmed civilians. Within 5 minutes we had made it to their quarters and were on our way back to the city. After this, we decided to retire to our quarters.

On Saturday morning we made our way onto the main street in the town to demonstrate against the violence in Astana as there had been a lot of shots fired in the streets by all sides, as we sat in the blistering heat in the middle of the road with our signs and flowers it was announced that a trial would be held for a man accused of robbing the casino! As Sevant had helped the hippies the previous evening, our hippie in chief Leah chose to be his public defender - unfortunately, it was judged that Sevants crime was too severe and he was executed in the street by the Police which started a small firefight.

As night fell, the music festival began - DJs from all over the city came to the Spice Rack to showcase their talents - the sisterhood of the travelling panties was out in force to encourage the citizens of Astana to ‘party for peace’. At around 1am, the sisterhood retired for the evening. During the night, after the hippies retired for the evening there was an attack on the Spice Rack, although by whom and why we were not sure!

On Sunday morning, the air was full of excitement as the citizens of Astana gathered in the main square of the town, armed to the teeth ready to take the fight to the corrupt Police force that had plagued the town over the weekend. Fetty Slav and his officials rounded up the civilians and we stormed through the town towards the Police FOB. As we got within reach of the FOB, the battle was already a go - with NATO and Russian forces attacking the 2 story building the Police were residing in. The civilian forces flooded the outside of the building, in a haze of smoke and with the distinctive sound of blank fire in the background. As myself and Kat stood in protest popping smoke, Leah ran into battle screaming hippie battle cries. The battle raged on for around an hour, with smoke, explosions and blank fire popping off in all directions until Leah emerged from the Police station with a very dead police chief (Jet Desertfox) and holding his beloved ARP9.

With the battle against corruption won, we made our way back to the main street in the town, where another battle was raging between NATO and everyone else - Rusfor and civilians. Our civilian fighters ran out of ammunition but luckily I had hoarded some in my sleeping quarters. My friend Michael had given me a pistol to help me get through the hoards of NATO surrounding our sleeping quarters, as myself, Michael and Cooke made our way around the outsides of the buildings, NATO troops searched room after room looking for any civilians up to ‘no good’. Eventually, we made it to my sleeping quarters, jumped through the window and found the ammunition, as we started loading mags we heard footsteps in the building. There were around 10 NATO soldiers in the building. I and Cooke stayed still and silent in the wardrobe space in the quarter until we heard them walk to the back of the building, all 3 of us then made it to the next building along where our government officials were waiting.


So what are my final thoughts on Flashpoint Astana? This instalment of the MilSim West insurgency series is one of the most hilarious and fun mil-sim games I’ve played in my 4 years of airsoft! It was really fun playing a none-combatant, but I did have an itchy trigger finger by the time the final battle at the Police station came around! 

Photography thanks to MilSim West

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