Being as Airsoft Skirmishing is a game, it needs some rules of play in order to be playable. The basic rules for playing Airsoft are very simple, however there are currently a number of subtle differences beyond the basics depending on who you are playing with. Listed below are the basic rules as well as some links that have more in-depth information on ways to play the game. By reading the information provided below you should have a solid concept on how to play games of Airsoft with your local group.
The Basic Airsoft Rules of Play:
1) All participants use ONLY Airsoft guns in their games. These guns must conform to the FPS (Feet per second) limit that your group or country has decided on. Usually this means an Indoor limit of 300-350fps and an Outdoor limit of 350-450. Some countries have legal limits on the power/fps of Airsoft guns so make sure to check in your area.
2) All participants MUST wear eye protection! Ideally, all Airsoft players should have full face masks, long sleeve shirts, full pants, and gloves whenever they play Airsoft. If you plan on playing at any professional Paintball/Airsoft locales then you will have to have a full face mask. This is for legal/insurance reasons and cannot be avoided. It's strongly reccomended that anyone that continues to be a problem in terms of wearing eye protection during games be banned from playing with your group. Nobody wants to be responsible for shooting someones eye out. If you need to clear your mask because of fogging or some similar problem then crouch/lay on the ground with your face as close as possible to the ground and quickly clean your goggles.
3) If you are struck by an airsoft BB then you are hit and for purposes of the game are considered "killed". This means that you are out of the current game unless you are using special rules (see below). Most times when you are "killed" in a game you have to go to a safe-zone where you wait for the next game to begin. Hits to your weapon do not kill you. If you think that you might have been hit, but aren't sure then you ARE hit and you should call yourself out immediately. This eliminates silly arguments during a game. Whenever you are hit during a game you must announce loud and clear, "HIT!" and then walk to the designated safe-zone with your weapon held high over your head with both hands. Be sure to keep your hands and weapon in the air so you aren't mistaken for a player that is still in the game. A player that repeatedly causes problems with calling himself out should not be allowed to play any more.
A Special Note:
Eventually everyone is going to experience getting shot after they have called themselves out for a game. Deal with it. The #1 reason people get shot after they are out is because they dont readily identify themselves as being hit. If you don't want to get shot after you call out then be sure to do the following; 1)LOUDLY call out "Hit!", 2) Immediately stand straight up (If you werent already) and hold your weapon above your head with both hands, 3) Begin walking towards the designated safe zone ASAP. If you follow these simple steps then you will greatly reduce (although not completely eliminate) getting shot after you call out.
Optional Airsoft Rules:
The Following Rules are optional ones that you may or may not want to use in your Airsoft games.
One player on each team can be designated as a medic and this person has the ability to "resurect" players once during a game, allowing them to return to play. When using medics in your Airsoft games it's important to remember to stay lying on the ground where you were "killed". The medic has to get to you and touch you in order for you to be "resurected". If you are standing in or on unsafe terrain such as water, mud, broken glass, etc. then you are allowed to lie down near where you were hit so that you don't hurt or endanger yourself.
Sometimes it's beneficial to allow players more than 1 life when playing games. This allows a larger variety of scenarios to be played with fewer players present. For instance a few players with 2 lives each could be defending a bunker/structure from 6 or more attackers that have only 1 life each for the game. This allows the defenders to stay in the game longer. When a player that has multiple lives gets hit he calls himself out as normal but instead of just saying "hit!" he should say "first hit!". This lets everyone know that he isn't dead yet. This player now has 30 seconds that he cannot shoot or be shot at. Any shots at this player at this time do not count. The player can use this time to get to better cover but he cannot use it to run towards an attacker and he is only allowed to get behind the nearest cover avaliable to him. This prevents unusual situations from occuring where a player with multiple lives gets hit and during his 30 seconds decides to run directly towards his attackers and to use cover behind them, etc.
Some people prefer to play that if a weapon is struck it cannot be used for the rest of the game. This prevents people from pointing just their weapon around a corner and firing blindly, which can be VERY dangerous to those playing the game. Obviously, if a player that only has a single Airsoft weapon gets his weapon hit then he is considered "killed" because he has no further use in the game.
If you are playing with people that you trust (ie. good friends) then you may want to try this slightly more involved system for damage. Instead of a player being considered "killed" if he is hit anywhere on the body this optional rule allows players to remain playing in a 'crippled' capacity as long as they aren't hit in a Vital region. Hits to the Head, Neck, Chest, Stomach, or back are cnsidered vital areas and you are "killed" as normal if you are hit in one of these areas. Hits to the arms or legs force you to not be able to use them until the end of the current game. A second hit to an already damaged arm or leg means you are considered "killed" as normal. A hit limb CANNOT BE USED FOR ANYTHING AT ALL. This means that if your leg is hit you must hop or crawl, if your arm is hit you aren't allowed to brace yourself on it, open doors with it, hold your gun with it, etc. It must hag limp or be tucked against your body. You can see why this rule can only really be used with friends that you trust because it's very difficult to enforce.
No Head hits
Some groups play that head hits don't count in order to disourage players from shooting at each others faces. This is mostly for safety reasons.