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Baltigeddon 2016 - Day 1

Woke up in Rockville with an hour drive ahead of me for day 1 of Baltigeddon. This journey took a few turns along the way and I was the only one left from the original Ascendance group who was able to make it out to the event happening in Maryland and Virginia. I didn't know my other teammates before arrival, but had faith that things would work out (as they always do) and when I got to XP Lasersport in Owings Mills I started looking around to see who I recognized and who might be joining our Ascendance hybrid team.

The first person I saw and recognized from her online photo was Irina. She was one of the three Russian Qzar veterans who had flown in to join us from Seattle. She introduced me to her husband Pavel and friend Eugeniy and the four of us set off to check out the arena space.

Shortly thereafter we found Aztec (aka Nathan) and Gary (Perceptor)and finally met our newest players, Mike and Nikki from Manhattan. It was great to have an alternate player so we could swap out when necessary. And it was a pleasure to meet everyone and get day one of the competition underway.

First up we went in for two back to back games of Qzar. Although this is not a format I am able to practice outside of these tournament events, I felt like I was doing better at it this time around. Having played some Photon emulation last week, at least I had the return shot concept ingrained firmly in my mind and was ready to do my best to implement that. I enjoyed the Qzar matches much more during this event and appreciated that we had some experienced players with us.

Next we moved right into two more back to back games of Storm.

The "remote control" style phaser feels very odd to me and I am not very comfortable with this format, although I think I am improving a bit every time I get the chance. Unfortunately, I only get to play this about twice a year, the same frequency as I play Qzar. But I did my best and seemed to be faring a little better than my last experience with it at Snowmageddon.

We went back and forth alternating Qzar and Storm matches and in the end we had won four games of Qzar (second place, only one less than the team leading in that format), but we fell way off with Storm. I was appreciative to have about a half hour break in between while they switched out the arenas for the next two formats. During that time we got some Tron tutorial from Aztec who seemed to be the most experienced with the format.

I believe it was in one of the early rounds that at the end I heard my pack ding with the indicator announcing that I was the top score fairness, I'll say I was the top score player that round just on my team, not the entire game, but it was still a boost to achieve that in one of my less favorite formats. We had a couple of back to back successes in both Tron and amazingly also in Tactical. Now, I had never played tactical like this ever before. Forget about "tactical" (a real misnomer) in my local Tron arena and forget about the single experience I had at Armageddon last year playing outdoors on a wet and muddy field. This was completely different. First, I was handed a phaser that in my arms felt enormous and unwieldy, but I figured that was just because it was new to me. I attached the three sensors to my blue headband and prepared to give this a go.

Then we were instructed to go to the back of the arena to begin at our respawn station with the objective to make it to the other side without being shot and press down our team color on each of three ipads. I had a vague recollection of the concept of tactical, but playing in this arena was completely different.

Still, by the end we seemed to be doing much better with it and I was pleased to have contributed a few decent shots while protecting those ipads. I did much better after switching to a slightly smaller phaser that I was able to handle more comfortably and actually use the red dot for targeting.

I want to thank Marc for hosting us at his facility. I had previously only played at XP Lasersport in Laurel during Phocon, but would definitely love to return to Owings Mills on my next trip to Maryland.

After the first day's competition was complete most of the players went to RNT's house for a BBQ, but I had other plans for my evening. In fact, I went the polar opposite direction from BBQ and opted for sushi!

Here are my two favorite things to come out of Japan, sushi and Photon...

...and this is not the time to split hairs and say that Photon originated in Dallas. :)

Then I decided to seek out some redemption at Darklight. I went back to the Shadowland facility in Frederick and purchased a single game, determined to earn a victory in one try because I had other places still to visit before the night was over. So I went into the game and felt quite at ease playing just for fun. There's nothing like playing in a competition (like earlier) to make you appreciate what it's like to play casually just for fun and enjoyment. And I wanted to get more Darklight in before I left because it is yet another system that is not accessible to me back home. I played with moderate intensity (having already played 24 games of laser tag this same day) and accomplished the first place achievement before venturing off to my next stop.

I thoroughly enjoyed day one of Baltigeddon.

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