Hey everyone!

Welcome back to the blog! Today I have another review for you and this time it’s a site review - I know, it’s been a while! A couple of weekends ago I revisited Anzio Camp ran by First & Only in Leek, Staffordshire. Anzio Camp is a FIBUA site that I last played back in 2015! I can’t remember much about the site except that I struggled to climb through the windows and the Embassy was a cool part of the site to play through. Unfortunately I didn't get many photos from the day that show the site, so I've added a couple that I did get.

From my home in Derbyshire, the site is almost 40 miles away and it takes an hour and 10 minutes via the A515 - it is in the sticks but as you drive down the A523 you will see a lay-by that has orange high-vis Marshalls waiting to direct you into the site. You have to pull into the lay-by guys so the team at F&O can manage the traffic into the site, once you’ve been directed by a Marshall to enter the site, another Marshall is waiting to take your temperature before being allowed to park up. 

Once you’ve been temperature checked there are two safe zones to choose from - one is the ‘hangar’ - which is exactly what it sounds like, it has enough room for a fair few cars and the shop area/rentals. The other safe zone is a group of buildings that are at the entrance to the game zone. I parked up in the hangar and made my way to sign-in. Due to COVID, at the moment all players are being asked to print out and fill in the insurance waivers at home which means less time spent in the queue. Once you’ve handed your waiver in you can grab a ‘ration pack’ from the box and get ready for the games. A lot of sites aren’t providing lunch at the moment because of the pandemic so I had already brought lunch with me but I was pretty happy with the ration pack provided by the site - I had a packet of Worcester sauce crisps, a bottle of water, a protein drink, a pain au chocolat and a Frosties breakfast bar which made for great little snacks throughout the day.

The onsite shop in the Hangar was pretty well stocked with all the game day consumables you would need - BBs, gas, pyro, snacks etc and also had a selection of accessories that F&O retail. I didn’t pay too much attention to the shop (sorry!) because I had everything I needed except tracer BBs which were reasonably priced. There are rental guns available in the hangar too but these need to be booked beforehand via the website. 

The safety brief was extensive and covered everything from site safety, use of pyro, site limits etc. including new COVID procedures. The game brief followed shortly after the safety brief. It did take longer than I remembered but that was due to the extra COVID procedures and there was a group of players that were constantly talking throughout the brief - they were identified and asked to be quiet by marshalls. This of course isn’t the sites fault by any means. It is so disrespectful towards the site staff and the other players to act this way as it just wastes everyone’s time having to wait for people to be quiet (these individuals were also kicked off site less than 2 hours later for having a hot gun though so, make you own conclusions about the kind of players they are).

Onto the site, Anzio camp is a huge disused M.O.D. barracks and training facility that has a massive amount of buildings. The site’s buildings range from small stores to two-storey accommodation blocks full of rooms to fight through. Areas of the site include road networks, mixed woodland, an assault course and firing range so it offers varied gameplay and no matter whether you’re a sniper or a door kicker, you will be able to play in a style you enjoy. During the day all areas of the site are in play and accessible, providing true FIBUA combat for players. The buildings have plenty of entrances, so if you can’t fight your way through the front door there will be a good amount of windows you can climb through. This is one of my favourite aspects of Anzio - there’s rarely a stalemate because there are so many ways to access the buildings, but I will say because I’m so short, getting into the windows is not an easy task.

What were the games like? The games played the day I visited Anzio were mostly objective-based games which included getting in-game props such as ammo tins from our respawn and taking it to the other teams respawn and assaulting and controlling the Embassy (the main building on-site and the best part of the site to fight over IMO). My favourite game was assaulting the Embassy. The games suited the terrain and gave players the option to be sneaky or be door kickers. I think if the teams on the day had been better balanced they would've been more fun for the blue team.

Were there any problems onsite? There were a couple - the teams weren’t evenly balanced and the marshalls’ showed little interest in sorting it out, merely stating to me ‘the teams had even numbers’. Whilst the teams did have even numbers, they weren’t balanced. It’s really important on game days to have relatively even teams so it keeps gameplay competitive for everyone - no one wants to be smashed all day as it lowers morale and on the other side of the coin if you’re smashing the other team with barely any effort, it doesn’t provide a challenge.

The other issue I encountered was concerning the F&O rule of not shooting anyone under 1m if you don’t NEED to (no problem with the rule and I have no problem with people shooting me under 1m btw!) but a player took it upon himself to approach our teams respawn whilst I was sat on ground reloading, get as close to me as possible, ask if I was dead and before I had a chance to even look at him/answer him he shot me. This again isn’t the site’s fault and as far as I’m aware he isn’t a regular player. It may seem irrelevant to some, but I like to be fully transparent about what happens when I attend game days.

How much does it cost to play at Anzio Camp? A walk-on at Anzio will set you back £35, and rental kit starts at £15 (which is extra to the game fee). It’s definitely on the more pricey side for a walk-on but, if you consider the calibre of the site you’re playing on, it’s a fair price. I enjoyed my day at Anzio, the games were engaging (although would've been more fun with more evenly balanced teams) and offered gameplay for all players. The staff were friendly and pleasant to be around. The lunch provided was also pretty good. 

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