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From Zone To Dome

My first night out in Orlando following a full day at the IAAPA trade show was a Thursday evening...not the ideal night for tag, but I was intent on finding some anyway.

Ultimately a very full day ended with me getting to play some excellent tag with this awesome group celebrating a birthday...Happy Birthday Brandon!

However, before we got to this point in the night I started by taking a drive up to Ocoee to visit the Ultrazone that had recently been taken over by new management.

If this were a Friday or Saturday evening I'm certain this place would have been packed. It's a good size arena with an upper level overlooking the whole space.

However, since it was a Thursday night I knew it would be hit or miss (like most places on a weeknight), so when I arrived during a quiet time I was appreciative that game master Matthew was willing to go in for a 1v1 so I could still experience the arena.

I circled around the arena once, checking out the top level view and I could tell that this is the area that a lot of people would find the most interesting. It's an upper level corridor on only one side of the arena. If there had been more players this could have been a place to find some excellent vantage points. However, with a one on one game it was better played on the lower level where Matthew and I played a pretty solid cat and mouse game. I found cover throughout the maze of walls.

With only one opponent to seek out I focused my attention on trying to predict his patterns. He was quick and I was quiet on my feet...until my leg brushed against something unexpected. For a moment I jumped thinking that I might have brushed up against a spider web, but it quickly became apparent that what had actually touched my leg was a string of holiday garland. That didn't make much sense to me until the next day. You see, after the game the employee at the counter invited me to come back for a busier game on one of the weekend nights and was kind enough to give me a free game and the new owner's card.

The next day when I was at the Zone booth at IAAPA I got to meet Jeremy (the owner) and tell him I had a great time visiting his newest site. That's when he shared with me that they were still working on it and part of their transition including clearing out some Christmas decorations...a-ha! So THAT explains the holiday garland! Even though it was quieter evening, I definitely enjoyed my visit to Ultrazone Ocoee and really hope to get back there to play again.

Once I was done with Nexus in Ocoee I headed back to Orlando to get in a game at Whirlydome.

These were the two sites that I found that were open on a Thursday, but similarly it appeared that they were having a slow night. Unfortunately the staff at Whirlydome were not able to accommodate me with a one on one game (which I always find a little dubious if there's actually nobody there), but I accepted this and left to do some shopping. After getting my fill of Florida souvenirs to take home with me I decided to swing back around to see if anyone had shown up for tag in the meantime. I was lucky to find that in fact a great group came out to play tag and celebrate Brandon's birthday, so I got to join them in the arena upstairs above the bumper cars and the bar.

The vesting room was across the hall from the ocean themed arena. They were also using Nexus at this site. When I entered the arena I found that it was narrow, but quite long with bases at each far end. I liked the fish decor hanging from above.

We had a couple of false starts (the game master restarted the game twice), but when we got into the game this group definitely played hard. I was really impressed! A couple of the guys were quite good and one especially stood out as being a top player. I later came to find out he plays a lot of tag and is usually the top score, so when he got to the scoreboard before me and asked "who was Krieger?" I knew that I had taken him by surprise by pulling the top score. However, we left that game giving each other mutual props for being good competition. I was really glad that I got into a couple of tag games on an evening like this and it was a great way to end the first day of my trip to Florida.

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