Reaper Ops Airsoft – Fort Borstal [Detailed Site Review]
Looking for a game at a unique and unusual site?
Sitting on one of Kent’s highest hills spanning over 8 acres, a warren of war time tunnels, bombproof bunkers and stunning views over the river Medway, Fort Borstal was once considered a vital part of Britain’s defenses.
Fort Borstal was a Royal Commission Fort, first planned out in 1857 as part of a larger plan to strengthen defenses around the UK’s ports and Royal Dockyards. The Fort was completed in 1893 to defend the inland side of Chatham. During the Second World War it served as a post for military units heading to the western front. After the war, the fort was used as a pig farm attached to the nearby Borstal Young Offenders Institution which is now HMP Rochester.
Since early 2019 the site has been host to Reaper Ops, where once a month you can enjoy sniping at the top of a hill and intense CQB action all at once if you please. I arrived for my first game day here in June 2019 and instantly fell head over heels for this site. Not only did I find the staff welcoming and easy going, the site itself was like nothing I had experienced before.
- The site offers a unique mixture of tunnels, buildings and woods, it’s a very compact site so game days are capped at 40 players or less, this ensures good fluid game play.
- Since it is such a compact site, you are never far from the opposition, so you need to stay switched on, which in my opinion ensures the gameplay is never dull and always fast paced.
- You are never far from a respawn point so you can get back into the action quickly.
- All hot drinks are offered free, I am a massive coffee lover so I was happy to see Reapers Ops have partnered with One Shot Coffee Company and Tactical Tea, companies which are military orientated and taste great.
Is there a car park?
The fort provides a level gravel car park which is accessed immediately off the main road and is easily located by the large Reaper Ops sign on the gate; if you arrive before 8:30 am you can open the gate yourself and park up to save sitting on the main road. It’s a very short walk to the main fort gate and into the safe zone. Try not to arrive in full kit and definitely don’t walk around outside of the site with holsters and guns as there is a functional Prison opposite to the site.
What is the safe zone like?
There are two parts of the site which are used as Safe Zones, the first is a bunker to the very right of the fort main building with plenty of space to prepare for battle. The second is a room in the main part of the fort where you will find sign in desk, site shop, coffee and snacks. You can also set up outside on a warm day but leave your eye pro on as every part of the site except the designated safe zones can be in play.
What is the cost of a Game Day?
- £20 when you pre-book on their website
- £25 walk on
- £25 (+game fee) for rental
Can I book on as a Rental?
Reapers Ops offers a comprehensive rental package, provided by Platoon Stores and includes a Valken or ASG brand AR15 Carbine, 2 high capacity Magazines which boast a 400 round capacity each. You will receive an Assault Vest, Face Protection, Rifle Sling and enough BBs to last you the whole game day for £25 plus the cost of the game day. You can book your slot for their next game at reaperops.com
Is there an on-site shop?
There is a pop-up shop provided by Platoon Stores, who can be found in the second safe zone room, they stock a selection of BBs and gas, plus a wide selection of airsoft gear and equipment.
There is a small plumbed in toilet block on site, however I would advise you to visit in between games as it’s placed in the central section of the game zone, unless you want your bum shot!
Dan & Alex provide an extensive and comprehensive game day briefing, the site limit is 350fps for all weapons and 500fps for bolt action sniper rifles with a minimum engagement distance of 30 metres.
Also with the site being small there is a rule of semi-only so no going full Rambo on anyone. A full list of the rules can be found on their website and a hard copy will be provided on the game day.
A range of snacks and drinks can be purchased from the on-site shop including soup on the go, however with the site being small a hot lunch cannot be provided so always bring your lunch along if you need something more substantial.
The field is a mix of woodland, hills and stone built tunnels, so you really get a work out from running up hills, down stairs and into pitch black dark tunnels, it truly makes for an exciting game play! One important point to note – please ensure you have the correct footwear, i.e. decent pair of boots, especially if you are one for speed and getting into positions quickly, we wouldn’t want you injuring yourself whilst wearing trainers.
The site is primarily used as a filming location for TV productions with airsoft being the secondary usage, this means there are no permanent structures or installations in the game zone, there is a limit to what can be provided to expand on the existing fort and the network of tunnels, so there are various portable builds which are assembled and disassembled for each game day. Reaper Ops will be developing and adding more of these temporary structures over time to improve the experience.
In my opinion, I’ve found that although there is only a small amount of structures, the fort itself provides many hiding places and areas to play in, you can duck into a building and pop up somewhere else, this makes for a fun experience as you have to have your eyes everywhere, you never know where the opposition is going to pop up from or where you may surprise the enemy next.
At this site, Reaper Ops provide a selection of interesting and engaging games, which is not your bog standard set of games you play at most sites. From transporting the VIP (The General in this case) to the enemy respawn, hunt for the gold to Battle Royale style games and pistol & shotgun games. Clearly real heart and passion is put into these well thought out games, I have rarely witnessed anyone getting bored or frustrated during a gameday!
The game rules are always made very clear and well explained, with there only being 20 players or less on each team I’ve found that players generally work well together and over the course of the day everyone gets to know each other.
I was also pleased to see that there are constant checks made throughout the duration of each game to ensure no team is overpowering the other too much and adjustments are made to ensure that both teams get the best experience. If there are any issues, the Marshalls ensure solutions are quickly provided to ensure all players are happy.
In terms of negatives, I can only really think of two: the site is very overgrown and has not been maintained for some years so as I said before, decent footwear is very important.
I would also like to see more of the tunnels and indoor rooms opened up and used for game play as I personally enjoy lots of low light indoor CQB.
From the second I walked on to this site, I was impressed with not only having the opportunity to play at such an unusual site, but the level of care and attention given to very aspect of your game day at the fort. I have loved playing here and I’m proud to call it my regular home site. I feel the site is for every level and every type of Airsofter, try it for yourself regardless of whether you like CQB or not, you might find yourself hooked and wanting more!