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Asomodai

SE Tour Review: Dragons Lair (Essex)

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Site Name: Dragons Lair Airsoft

Contact details: 07703530189

Website Address:  http://www.dragonslairairsoft.co.uk/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/dragonslairairsoft/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/129808267105240/

Site Address: Kelvedon Hatch, CM14 5TL

 

I went and visited Dragons Lair Airsoft (08/03/2020) when I realised that COVID19 might be somewhat of a problem in the more immediate future. Whilst it being one of the closest sites to where I live, it is a nightmare getting to on public transport (Re: Impossible without Uber). 

 

The entrance is very well sign posted with a huge display opposite the entrance. Dragons lair shares a driveway with the Kelvedon Hatch Nuclear Bunker. I believe Airsoft games used to run in the actual bunker years ago. Alas not anymore. 

 

The site has been established for quite some time, the existing reviews I have found online have been very polarising. Many taking issue with it's size and how it run by the owner. I believe it used to be a certain Youtubers home site before being banned a year or so back. The website and official Facebook page does not get updated, but the group Facebook chat has some recent activity.

 

The site runs every 2nd and 4th Sunday during any given month. 

 

This is a small sized woodland site, situated within a shallow valley. There is very few flat surfaces, Streams and some boggy areas throughout, with a lake at the far end of the site. There are man made structures everywhere! Though none of particularly good quality. (Some two storey towers, but mostly just single sided bits of cover.) Short, Medium and Long engagement distances are in play here. There are some CQB opportunities due to the Bunker, Tower and village section. However because of the site being in a valley, there are some good long distance vantage points. 

 

The vegetation was mostly high trees, with the structures essentially taking place of any meaningful low level natural cover. So Ghillie suits have limited uses. 

 

Good:

 

Clientele: Really lovely people. Hardly any issues throughout the day, slight grumbling on the last game as it was quite frustrating for the attackers to take the last section. But otherwise, really friendly in and out of the safe zone. No issues. 

 

Hit Taking: I can say this hand on heart, the first day of Airsoft I have played where every player called their hits 100% of the time. Dead honest bunch, each hit taken with grace and humour. 

 

Marshalling: Spot on. Plenty of marshals on hand during the day and they were always in the thick of it keeping a close eye on hit taking, encouraging people to move forward. Reminded me of how Zed Adventures Marshal. It's so nice to see such positive and good humoured people running a game day. 

 

Safe Zone: Walled in on all four sides, compact but plenty of space for those who turned up. Most areas were covered with a roof.  

 

Chrono: Was mandatory and rifles were marked. Standard limits on the Facebook page were 350FPS for AEG, 450FPS for DMR and 500FPS for bolties. They use their own .20g bbs to Chrono. 

 

Average:

 

Parking: A grass verge next to a gravel track right outside the safe zone. 

 

Playing Area: It was interesting. It was a compact site that has lots of things going on inside. Lots of effort has been put into the site as somepoint in the past. As described before, it has plenty of structures and earthworks, but a lack of low lying vegetation. Even though it is quite uneven terrain wise, because the site is quite small I did not feel particularly tired at the end of the day. I quite liked the site. I just feel to get a "Good" mark, I would maybe remove some of the superfluous structures and maintain/add to the more interesting ones! Maybe a trench system to mix it up a little bit? 

 

I do love the lake area, it would be nice to include that as part of the day (Maybe they do on occasion?). 

 

Value for money: £25 is fairly good for the experience you get and cheaper then most places around (Though no where near as cheap as Skirmish Billericay). 

 

Shop: Supplied by AirsoftZone, plenty of gas, bb's of different weights and personal protection. It was good enough for your average skirmish.

 

Safety Brief: Short but covered just about enough to not leave people questioning things. 

 

Turn Around time: I felt that turn around time could have been slightly better, even very short games ended in going back to the safe zone to reload even though there really wasn't a need to. However the breaks were pretty short and you are never that far from the safe zone, so this escapes being in the bad category by a hairs breadth.

 

Bad:

 

Food: Just chocolate bars and fizzy pop from what I saw. Bring your own lunch!

 

Update!: I do recommend that the site advertise and present themselves slightly better. Update the website and Public Facebook page. Create a new event per skirmish just to confirm the game dates, FPS and general information every month. Maybe a regular photographer would be a great addition. 
 

 

Conclusion: 

 

This site surprised me as I didn't experience most of what the poor online reviews stated. I really did enjoy my day here. The wind was a nightmare (Bit of a wind tunnel effect through the valley). But I got some pretty good kills. The site owner and marshals were all very friendly and up for a chat about various things. It differentiates itself just enough from the bigger local sites to be relevant. 

 

I would definitely come back once I get my drivers license as it's so local to me. It reminded me of Ultimate Wargames in Fawkham, where there are many regulars and new players where everybody knew everybody else's name. Family style. 


If they could just rearrange the playing area structures to be a bit more coherent and a bit less reliant on man made cover, this would be an excellent bit of skirmish-able woodland. 

 

All in all. A good low stress, low effort day. I was satisfied that my money was well spent, I had a laugh and I would like to go back soon. Definitely one site that I could become a regular at when I hang up my reviewing boots. 

 

Dragonslair.thumb.png.7c4ecc5fe6714e665c89b34b3f398bb2.png

 

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9 hours ago, Asomodai said:

 

They use their own .20g bbs to Chrono. 

 

 

Nice review dude!

 

I think passing chrono with their own 0.2g BBs is a great idea if you are organised enough to pull it off, though I have never been anywhere that does this.

 

I can see why sites wouldn't want to as it could end up taking far longer, however with a little bit of organisation it's doable.

 

If I had to arrange this I would probably ensure we have high caps loaded up for the common variants M4, AK, G36, Mp5, probably 75-80% of players would be able to chrono off of these.

 

In the safety brief inform people with anything other than an M4/AK/G36/MP5 to leave some space in their midcaps or have any empty high cap ready. 

 

You'll always take those hits on the day, from a pretty standard range that sting more than anything else - could be DMRs ofc, but sometimes it just makes you think <_<

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They used to have a wicked burger stand, The guy used to take orders and cook up all different types for you, double, bacon bbq etc. Was decent.

 

I havent been in a couple of years though as it got very cliquey with the regulars pretty much running the site and hit taking was a joke but glad to hear that seems to have changed now.

 

 

I think I would still rather head to AP if I were going in that direction though, but thats just me.

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8 minutes ago, Albiscuit said:

They used to have a wicked burger stand, The guy used to take orders and cook up all different types for you, double, bacon bbq etc. Was decent.

 

I havent been in a couple of years though as it got very cliquey with the regulars pretty much running the site and hit taking was a joke but glad to hear that seems to have changed now.

 

 

I think I would still rather head to AP if I were going in that direction though, but thats just me.

 

AP does offer a lot more in many ways, but for someone who cant stand overcrowding then this site is on my level :)

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Fair point, the safe zone does get very crowded, but at least you don’t really notice it on the field.

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