Lionclaws 2017 has come and gone and, now that I have recovered from the game, I am bringing this after-action review for your airsoft reading entertainment. Once again at George Air Force Base in Victorville, CA. This time, I left the SOCOM faction and went with the Russian side. I have wanted to build a Russian loadout for some time and even bought a new AK style airsoft rifle for the event.

This year, the two sides (SOCOM and Russian) where replaced with three factions: SOCOM, Red Scorpion, and the Black Widow Militia. The idea was that the SOCOM and Russian forces were fighting over land occupied by the militia. In concept, it could have been a great political game as well, but a lot of that potential was left unrealized. This year’s Operation ¬†Lionclaws event was much more chaotic and disorganized in comparison to the amazing event from last year. I believe there are two main reasons for this. First, having three factions was simply too complicated for both the game control personnel and map layout. Second, there was a severe lack of communications with the leadership on our side – as opposed to last year when each group had a radio operator player who’s sole job was to relay communications between the squad leaders and the faction leadership. Whereas last year’s game felt like a “real” MilSim style event, this year’s event felt more like a large pick-up game. But, I digress…

The George Air Force Base AO was over grown with dead grasses in many areas, making the usually dangerous AO even more treacherous to the uninitiated. There were several “real world” calls throughout the weekend where EMTs had to take people out of the area for sprains and cuts (there is a lot of debris everywhere). Despite this, the area still works well for the game and there are plenty of places to gain cover and advantageous positions. We had one person in our squad that brought a large hand axe and was making his own doorways inside the duplexes… He seemed to be having a good time.

Players brought out a number of types of airsoft guns, from the crazy to the basic, and it is always great to see what people bring out for the event. My favorite was a player that had made a “terminator” style P90 submachine gun and his own custom kydex pouches for the magazines. It was really impressive!

Overall, the 2017 Operation Lionclaws game was a fun airsoft event, albeit less so than last year’s offering. It is my hope that for the 2018 Lionclaws event they return to a two-side setup and increase communication and planning between the leadership and the various squads.

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Jerry Paxton

A long-time fan and reveler of all things Geek, I am also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of GamingShogun.com