Meandering the Maze
One of the laser tag systems I enjoy playing is Laserforce. So when we started to plan our Canada trip I was enthused to learn that there was a center running the Laserforce system in nearby Vaughan. I figured if it was anything like the place where I play locally that it would be packed on a Saturday night and I was ready with my membership card in case it could be used to get my standard games number up while playing on vacation. Meanwhile, the friend I was coordinating the trip with agreed that playing in Vaughan sounded great...but he did his internet research separately and we discovered that even though we were planning the arrangements together we had independently been looking at websites for two totally different laser tag centers in the same town! So we explored them both, starting with the one that ran Laserforce, which was Lazer Maze.
We pulled into the parking lot and were surprised that there weren't more cars there...on a Saturday night I typically expect at least 30-40 people where I play locally. But this was Valentine's Day, a very cold Saturday and a relatively new facility in the area, so we walked in and found that our little group of five would be it (unless we waited for a group that was expected to show up later in the evening). OK, this was different from what I expected, but laser tag is always fun even with only a few players, so we decided that this would be a good starter game, especially as one of the guys in our group had never played any laser tag before. We figured this would ease him into it.
Unfortunately my membership card did not scan in this system, so I was unable to adopt my preferred code name and get my scores added to my stats record, but that was ok. We went in, game for the experience nonetheless. They showed a short video in the briefing room that appeared to feature members of the staff. A quick tutorial on the equipment got everybody in our group up to speed and we entered an arena that was a combination of a rainforest/lost civilization theme on one level. It was a smaller arena than what I am accustomed to, but since we were a small group of adult players the game master gave us some leeway in having a more custom experience. She let us enter the space for a few minutes before turning on the smoke machine and turning out the lights, so the atmosphere was enhanced and the game was a bit more challenging. We played as a free for all and Pau was definitely making an active effort to hunt me down throughout the game. Meanwhile everyone was maneuvering through the maze and doing well...although TJ may have mostly been searching the maze for a tiki bar to try and exchange his phaser for a cocktail :)
Playing in a smaller space makes me appreciate the vastness of the arenas I get to experience every week by comparison. Although smaller arenas have their assets as well and one of those benefits is being able to tailor the game experience when you have a night like this. I really wish that my score would have gone towards my stats, but since it was free for all it's probably just as well that we played as we did. It's nice to take a group with you as an assurance that you can play a round no matter what. It was a good time and I wish this new facility lots of success as their business continues to grow. If you have comments or questions please visit my website at www.tiviachickloveslasertag.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.