Airsoft Gun games are a great way to have fun, realistic war games without the expensive ammo, guns, CO2 canisters, painful welts and playing field rentals. Powered by compressed gas, hand-cocked springs or electric motors, airsoft guns fire small, 2-3mm plastic balls at muzzle velocities ranging from 220 feet per second (fps) to more than 500 fps. The following games complement the accuracy, range and firing speed of Airsoft guns and will work for several kinds of environments (e.g. wooded, house, urban, school yard, apartment).
Write every player's name on a separate scrap of paper. Toss them in a hat. Shuffle. Have everyone draw a name, keeping it to themselves. If they draw their own name, then they throw their name back in and choose again. The name you draw is your target.
To "kill" someone, you have to shoot the person with no witnesses. Once you successfully kill someone, you adopt that person's target as your own.
Capture the Flag
Divide the group into two equal teams. Each team's "flag" is an upside-down plastic drinking cup set on top of a box. The goal is to shoot the opposing team's flag off the box. Unlike the unarmed version of "capture the flag," there are no "sides" or territories. Rather, anyone can be killed at any point on the entire field. Also, the flag can be hidden anywhere on the field, so long as it does not make the flag more difficult to knock off. For example, you can't bury the flag or wedge it between two rocks or hang it from a tree.
A Fistful of Dollars (or "Yojimbo" for Film Purists)
This game is designed for a group with an odd number of players. One player is selected to be the "traitor" and the rest of the group divides into two equal teams. Each team wears its own color of bandanna while the traitor wears no bandanna at all.
The goal of the game is simply to "kill" all of the opposing team's players. One shot kills, anywhere on the field. The game begins with the traitor sitting out. After the first player is killed, the traitor automatically replaces him on Team A. If he and Team A then kill a player on Team B, thus evening out the bandanna-wearing players, the traitor sits out again.
The general rule is that the traitor joins the team with the fewest players until either the teams equalize or the traitor himself gets shot. If the traitor gets shot, he can't come in until after another player (from either team) "dies."
(Inspiration: the Japanese film "Yojimbo," which was later adapted into "A Fistful of Dollars", is about a wandering warrior who cleans up a town overrun by bandits by turning both gangs against each other).
The Manchurian Candidate
This is a modification of "Capture The Flag." First, divide the group into two teams. Next, get a deck of cards and remove two queens. Put each queen card in a separate envelope. Then, get enough non-queen cards to account for the rest of the group and put each in its own envelope. For example, if there are 14 players total, you'll take two queens and 12 non-queens out. Finally, divide the envelopes into two equal groups, with one queen envelope per group. Mix up the envelopes and let each player pick one and stick it in his pocket without opening it.
Set up and begin the game just like "Capture The Flag." However, at some point during the game, either a referee, alarm clock or team captain can yell "Manchurian Candidate." This forces every player still alive to open his envelope for the first time. If he has the queen card, he automatically (and secretly) switches teams. So, if the person chosen to guard the team flag ends up having the queen, he could simply turn around and shoot the flag, ending the game.
To keep players honest, it helps if the game is played for money. For example, every player puts $1 in the "pot" before the game and the winning team gets the pot. If no one yells "Manchurian Candidate," then the pot goes to the original team members. If someone does yell it, then the pot goes to the original team members, minus its queen carrier, plus the queen carrier from the opposing team.
(Inspiration: In the film "The Manchurian Candidate," an American POW from the Korean War is brainwashed by Communists to become a sleeper assassin. The "trigger" that zaps him into the assassin trance is the queen of yearts playing card).
Silence of the Lambs
One player sits in a chair blindfolded and with a gun that shoots far. The rest of the players are unarmed and lined up across the field, roughly 60 meters away. When the chair player says "Go," the unarmed players move toward him (walk, run or crawl). When the chair player says "Stop." The unarmed players must freeze exactly where there are. If they fall over or take a step after "Stop," they are out. Also, at any time during the game, the chair player can shoot his gun. If he hits you, you're out. So, if an unarmed player runs, he will make more noise, becoming easy prey. But if the unarmed player gets close enough to tag the chair player, he wins. (Inspiration: the scene at the end of "Silence of The Lambs" where Buffalo Bill turns the lights off on Clarice).
One player (unarmed) hides somewhere on the playing field while the rest of the players (armed) close their eyes and count to 50 or 100 or whatever you like. Once this is done, the armed players (let's call them "bounty hunters") spread out and try to find the unarmed player -- essentially a game of hide and seek. When a bounty hunter finds the unarmed player, he has to escort him back to a predetermined "base" zone to win. If the escorting bounty hunter gets shot by a competing bounty hunter, then he's "out" and the competing bounty hunter gets possession of the unarmed player, whom he can then escort back to the base zone to win. If the escorting bounty hunter shoots the competing bounty hunter instead, the competing bounty hunter is "out" and the escorting bounty hunter can go on his way. (Inspiration: the 1988 movie "Midnight Run," where a bounty hunter has to transport a fugitive mob accountant cross country while the FBI, mob goons and rival bounty hunters try to intercept him).