I’ve been attending and working MSW events since 2014 and have since done 29 events across the years. In the world of military simulation, there are a plethora of event hosts for players to choose from.
One company, in particular, offers a unique experience that others do not, and in my humble (and biased) opinion, MilSim West is the best.
So, below is my guide on what to expect at a Milsim West event.
What Makes Milsim West Unique
So what makes MSW unique from the rest?
Set in a military narrative where war has broken out between NATO and Russia, MilSim West offers forty-hour non-stop events that start on a Friday night and continue on till Sunday noon.
MilSim West’s special use of Cadre, resupply, and rucking combine to offer a great event.
MilSim West prides itself on the Cadre, staff with backgrounds ranging across many sectors of the military. Many of whom have served or are currently serving within the special operations community.
Josh Warren, one of two business owners, himself served with 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. Cadre will take on the roles of the Commanding Officer (CO) and Platoon Sergeant (PSG.)
The Commanding Officer will come up with an Operations Order (OpOrd) and brief the faction on their scheme of maneuver throughout the event.
The PSGs will be at the platoon level acting as the second in command focusing on player safety, accountability, resupply, and ensuring people are following the TACSOP (more about this later.) PSGs are also a guide and mentor for the Platoon Leader (PL) and Squad Leaders (SL.)
At MilSim West you don’t bring ammo, it’s issued to you. In fact, bringing your own BBs to this game will get you kicked out. Every player is issued 500 BBs, 1500 for light machine gun platforms, and 3000 rounds for medium machine gun platforms.
This means you have to pick and choose your fights, can you keep pressing the attack if you’re not sure when you’ll be resupplied with another allotment of ammo? Know the enemy is low on ammo? Time to stage your assault.
With MSW, transportation comes few and far between. Everything you need, you pack and bring with you.
There is no going back to your car to get a new gun or battery, no breaks to go to a nearby restaurant for food, no halts for players to go to a hotel. Picking up your ruck and moving throughout the area of operation will happen more than once as your forces push or repel each other.
How To Sign Up for an Event
So, you’ve made it this far. You’ve seen a few youtube videos and are up for the challenge. Now what? How do you sign up?
Choose Your Faction
While registering you’ll be asked to join a faction: NATO or Russian Forces (RUSFOR)/ Militia.
The easiest and simplest way to think about this:
- NATO wears MultiCam and uses M4s
- RUSFOR wears whatever rainbow of Russian camouflage is available with AKs.
- Militia wears M81 Woodland with AKs.
There’s a lot more we can dig into on the factions but keep it simple for now. After you’ve picked your faction and have registered you’ll join a FaceBook group page specific to your faction established by the Cadre.
You’ll be divided into squads and platoons by the Cadre as well. If you are registering with a group of your friends, MilSim West provides an affiliation tab where you can place a team name to ensure you are all grouped together.
Preparing for your event
Now, how to start prepping prior to the game?
Once you’re on the Faction Page, Cadre will make regular posts to keep you updated on what to expect and bring. Do yourself a favor and be as active as possible getting to know your fellow squadmates as this will help you significantly more during the event.
MilSim West will email you waivers and “Orders” that you’ll need for the event.
Expect to be Challenged
Prepare to be challenged.
Attacks can and will come in the middle of the night while you try to sleep. At some point, you will be woken up to stand your turn of security or fire watch.
The vast majority of players who drop are because they do not prepare themselves physically or pack accordingly. At MilSim West, a good ruck, sleeping bag, and warming layers will pay far more dividends than some fancy pouch or plate carrier.
To emphasize this point, MilSim West and the Cadre take pride in this. The event is meant to be challenging, there’s no issue or love lost at all in losing a few people because they couldn’t keep up on a hike. So do yourself a favor and get some cardio in.
What Your 40-hour Event Will Look Like
When it comes time to the event, be prepared for controlled chaos. Your 40 hours can be broken down into:
- Check-In Process
- Friday Night
- AAR (After Action Report)
Arrive at the venue around two or three pm and immediately begin to prep your things for the check-in process.
At MilSim West check-in goes through stages similar to how troops deploy overseas. You’ll start with a gear check. That nice and tight ruck you packed – dump everything so Cadre can ensure you have brought all the red lined items on the TACSOP and are not bringing in any contraband.
Once cleared with the gear check, you’ll move to a chrono station to ensure your airsoft gun falls within guidelines. After that is a medical and final validation station where you will receive your supply of BBs and a tourniquet.
This all takes some time so be ready to hurry up and wait, the military simulation has already begun.
After the check-in process has been complete, a safety brief will be given by Josh Warren who is quite theatrical, what would normally be a boring announcement is instead turned into a brief moment of comedy.
Following that the CO will give the faction the OpOrder with game start following momentarily.
Friday night, you can expect three things: hiking with your ruck, participating in chaotic bb combat, and staying up late.
You’ll immediately be given action and, though not a requirement, night vision goes a long way for your experience. Expect to either be assaulting through an area or to be on the defending end.
Where the players sleep is entirely dependent on how well they do their job. The same goes for how long they are able to sleep, take too long in clearing and you can easily be up till two or three in the morning.
Now, MilSim West isn’t all chaos and uncertainty. Friday night is meant to be that way, but going into Saturday, the reins are tied in a bit closer. Instead of company size movements, Saturday morning turns into squad-sized patrols.
This allows the Cadre to demonstrate what went well and what needs improving and to teach and advise players on what they can do better. Or this time can be taken for players to simply rest and socialize.
Later in the afternoon, the squad size patrols ramp up to the entire platoon stepping out as a team for a few hours.
Then in the evening, you can expect another company-sized movement and engagement.
Going into Sunday and the final hours of MilSim West, there will be the big finale. At MSW the events always end in a bang and never a whimper. The two factions will duke it out to see who can establish control over key terrain or overrun the other’s patrol base.
Upon the EndEx (end exercise) call, the event is over and the war ends. No winner or losers are declared, each player must simply reflect on themselves to see whether or not they have accomplished their goals.
At the end of every MilSim West event there is the AAR, or After Action Report, where Josh Warren gathers all the participants and takes notes on two things: Sustains and Improvements. Here is where the customer can voice their opinion on things that worked or didn’t work for them at the game and are taken into consideration for follow on events.
Inevitably, someone will complain about having to walk so far.
Expect A Challenge & Expect to Have Fun
MilSim West events are a challenging choose your own adventure game where your enjoyment will entirely depend on your attitude and participation.
Players looking to face obstacles and overcome those while willing to work closely with others will get the most out of the event and MilSim West welcomes you with open arms.
It is for these reasons MilSim West stands head and shoulders above the competition and I highly encourage you to try.