Paul and I recently visited some friends in the Toronto area. In addition to all the fun things we wanted to experience while in Canada, top of my list was getting a chance to try out as many different laser tag centers as possible. That seemed easy enough since there are quite a few in close proximity to where we were staying. But I had the itch to play even before arriving at our final destination, as I had mapped out a few options I found on www.wheretoplaylasertag.com before we had even left. So upon crossing the border into Canada we headed towards Hamilton where Lazer Mania was our first blast of the day.
I was intrigued by what turned out to be a typo...on the website listing where it identifies what system the center uses it listed the system as "Lazer Mania" which I was unfamiliar with. There's a good reason I was unfamiliar with it...it's not a laser tag system at all. I didn't connect the dots that the name of the facility had inadvertently been listed here in error. They actually play Laser Blast using the Hyper Blast game. By a happy accident this turned out to be a perfect place to start as I had never played this system before and we were intending to go to another Laser Blast facility later on once we connected with our friends. So a practice round seemed like a good idea to get familiar with the format.
We entered a game with two small groups including a party that had already been playing earlier (and were vocal about their dismay to have to watch the briefing video again with us "newbies"), then we were randomly allocated to three teams by the game master...who wisely separated Paul and I from being on the same team (we get competitive). I played on the blue team this time.
The vests had a large triangular target on both the front and the back, along with shoulder targets. The phasers were two handed (my preference) and the equipment would rumble if someone registered a hit on you.
There were two levels to the arena and some unique features within including multi-colored flashing targets...I'm not sure I had grasped the technique of smartly utilizing these even though it had been touched upon in the briefing video. The arena had a bit of an unusual feel, from the compact briefing area to the maze that appeared to have a cross between a space age theme and an island flavor (as all the bases were located under huts). The easy shots were those taken from the top level above while targeting down on the players below...and players had to make their way down because if you wanted to score a base you had to be on the lower level as that's where they were all located. As with the games I play at home you could rack up big points by tagging the bases from both opposing teams. However, I picked up on something important during the game that was not addressed in the briefing video...unlike in my local arenas where a base can only be tagged one time per game, here the bases could be gotten more than once for a major point advantage (I confirmed this with the game master during the round). Sometimes you just have to experiment a bit while in the game :)
With that piece of useful base knowledge coupled with the points acquired from tagging my opponents, I walked out of the game and found my player name at the top of the rankings (I am Batman). This center did something that I really like...at the end of the game they passed out individual score cards with stats and results of your individual performance in the game. Upon analyzing my score sheet, while pleased to have gotten the top score by a pretty good margin, I was not sure why the additional base hits I know that I got while playing did not appear to register on this paper. It identified two base hits on the green base and none for red and blue? Well, obviously I wasn't going after my own base, but am quite certain that I got the red base more than once. So before playing this system again I may want to get some further clarity about multiple base shootings. Regardless, it was a fun round on a system that was new for me. I decided it would be interesting to compare and contrast this experience with the other Laser Blast facility, so more details to come on my second LB experience.
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