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Sunshine, Fresh Air and Laser Tag

What could be better than soaking up some sunshine and fresh air outside on a beautiful day? How about adding some outdoor laser tag! That was how this group and I spent an afternoon out at Peterpaul Recreation Park in Rome, NY.

This place is a summer tradition in the town where I grew up. It has been part of the community for over 40 years. Although I must admit the last time I had been here myself was when I was still in high school watching my boyfriend being “so cool” hitting (and missing) pitches in the batting cages. But a LOT has changed since then, including the owners. Last year the business was taken over by Sean and Tammy Arnold and their family. This outdoor fun park was already known for bumper boats, go karts and those very same batting cages, but this year they decided to add Battle Company laser tag to their line-up of summertime amusements.

They were able to facilitate a mid-day game that I was able to join with a group of players ready to try out the new laser tag gear and we had about ten people enjoying some tag on a gorgeous afternoon. Everyone wore masks, but we also kept a very appropriate distance apart during the game since the outdoor field had plenty of room to spread out and move around.

Sean Jr. gave an equipment briefing and explained the first game format before passing out the gear. They are using the Battle Rifle Pro model here.

This is a vestless system using only a phaser and headband with sensors and each player kept the same set for the duration of all the games in our session.

He told me the gear is sanitized in between groups/sessions. My headband fit easily around my hat.

Each team began behind a fence at their designated respawn/base station.

Our first game was Deathmatch. It has been awhile since I last played using this system, so I had forgotten that you have to get several tags in before you deactivate a player, so at first I questioned why more of my shots didn’t seem to be landing. Then I started to realize that in fact they were hitting the mark, but it is a little more difficult to see in the sunlight, so it was just tougher to tell what was connecting until a complete deactivation occurred. For the Deathmatch game I was the MVP, meaning I was the highest scoring player, however another player actually had the most deactivations (aka “kills” in tactical, but that’s just a matter of semantics).

The next game was King of the Hill. Lots of systems have variations on this, but I had never before experienced Battle Company’s version of this game. Essentially the goal is for your team to “hold the hill” for as long as possible. In this case the hill was the round black platform in the middle with a Ubox on top that served as the hill sensor.

When you are near enough to the sensor it emits a sound (almost reminiscent of a digital piggy bank) every few seconds to reward you for the accumulating amount of time that you have been able to hold the position without being deactivated yourself. Of course, you are a wide open target when you are near the hill.

I played this one pretty brazenly, heading straight for the hill and fending off opponents with a firing sequence where I’d focus on tagging one player, shift to another, then immediately cycle back to the first to deactivate. This back and forth strategy worked well. I held my position there longest. I was deactivated once or possibly twice, and had to return to base to respawn, but those interruptions didn’t outweigh the amount of time (and points) I was able to accumulate while holding my position.

After having scored the most points (256) during King of the Hill, I was asked to be “it” during a game of Infection. Now, this is a game format that is popular across many systems, but it goes by a myriad of names and I made the suggestion that for the time being they might consider calling the game “Vampires” instead. It’s exactly the same person is “it” and as that person tags other players they are converted to the other team. This is another instance where it’s just about the semantics. The game itself is a good option, although I personally prefer the other two formats.

The final game was Boss Hunt, which is essentially Infection in reverse where everyone is targeting one player who is “it”. These to me are more novelty games, meaning they are not the main format I would look to play regularly, but they are enjoyable as an occasional change of pace. Deathmatch and King of the Hill were definitely the games I enjoyed the most.

This was such a nice way to spend an afternoon. I had arranged my day to be able to join in with a scheduled group (as sessions are booked in advance online) and I’m so glad I did. This was absolutely the best part of my week! I look forward to the next opportunity I have to play some tactical laser tag out in the fresh air at Peterpaul Recreation Park.

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