A Tactical Tag Tourney
This week I participated in a really cool event at Tac Ops Tactical Laser Tag in Fairfield, NJ. They hosted their very first tournament (which was actually more similar to a competitive members night) and it gave me a chance to experience a wide variety of Battle Company game formats, many for the very first time, along with this awesome group of local players who came out for a well-executed night of tactical laser tag competition.
When I first heard about this event and learned there would only be 16 spots available to be booked online I figured I’d have some time to work out whether a mid-week trip to New Jersey was even a possibility. I’d have to leave straight from work, play tag and then drive home the same night. However, while I mulled it overnight, spots started filling up very quickly. The next morning I had a sense of FOMO and decided I had better commit to make sure I didn’t miss my chance. It was a good move because this tournament sold out in less than 24 hours. This was a great approach and I commend the owners of Tac Ops for setting up registration like this. I have never seen a laser tag event sell out that fast! It was a good indicator.
Ok, I was now committed to go. Sure, a quick trip to New Jersey just to play some tactical laser tag sounds reasonable enough…until it’s 1:30 A.M. and I’m still on the road heading home because I have to be at work the next day! However, it was absolutely a worthwhile experience and long drives are what coffee is best for, right?
I was greeted by owners Armando and Mike when I arrived. Shane and Kayla made sure everyone was signed into their CallSign accounts and assigned us Battle Rifle Pro taggers. We got an overall briefing and then things got underway.
We started out with six solo game formats before moving on to team strategy games. The first round was Free For All Deathmatch. What I liked most about this round was that we had automatic respawns, so it could be played without having to repeatedly return to a base. Otherwise, it was a straightforward warm-up game of tagging players and getting acclimated to the arena.
Next up was King of the Hill. In this case the “hill” was a utility box positioned on the tank prop and players would earn points based on how long you were able to hold a position in close proximity in front of the box. This was one of my favorites, although there was a lot of clustering around the tank.
Sniper elimination was up next. You go into this with only two lives. I was positioned by the “fire” (one of many cool atmospheric props) when I lost my second life. That ended quickly!
And then we proceeded to “Gun Game”. The description on the monitor explained that this game you can upgrade weapons with each successful player deactivation. It sounds simple, but this one actually confused me because I did not recall a briefing on it.
With the Survival game you start out with no special “weapon” feature, only the melee button on the tagger. You have to either acquire one by finding a box or deactivate a player to take theirs. Bottom line is find an upgrade and survive!
Our final solo round was another elimination game. I experienced something unusual during this game. I was tucked into an alcove and nobody was around, so I have no idea who took my two lives, but I was out of this one almost immediately! Is Snake Eyes hiding in the arena somewhere? Well, what do you do once you’re eliminated? You chill in the barber chair inside the respawn room where everyone started to gather one by one.
This completed our series of free for all games. This event drew players of all ages, but one of the most heartening things I witnessed was while several players were waiting in the respawn room one of the younger players said “Hey dad, I made two new friends, this guy and this guy!” THAT is what I love to see happen through laser tag. In tactical tag you may sometimes simulate “battle”, but you also get real rewards including new friends and bonding in a real-life gaming atmosphere, which far exceeds what you get staring at a screen. This was a great example to witness.
Next up we’re out team games. The solo scores were in part used to try to balance the teams. I ended up on the red team.
Team tactical games are strategic with specific objectives. Our first game was “Search and Destroy” where it was our job to “plant” the custom prop with a code we were assigned at the start. The other team was tasked with finding where it was hidden and diffusing it with a code of their own.
I really love this custom prop that they incorporated into the game. Nice touch!
Our team won this game. One of my teammates said “Red team wins…wait, that’s us?! Woo!!” That was another memorable moment. Hey, you have to enjoy the little successes along the way. :)
Single Capture The Flag was next with the “flag” at a utility box located in Delia West that we had to return to our base in the conference room. Our team won this game too.
The final team game was Tug of War, which is very similar in nature to Domination. The object is for your team to control each of three strategically placed utility boxes and keep them under your team’s control for as long as possible while defending it from being taken over by the opposing team. Boxes were located in Delia West, at the hot dog cart and in Delia East. I know we captured the Delia West box for quite awhile and eventually we took the box near the hot dog cart. Personally, I never got close to the one at Delia East and am not sure if any of my teammates did either. Our opponents on the blue team took the win.
When all was said and done, before seeing any final results I can tell you the whole group was smiling.
I think this was a very successful event, enjoyed by all. I can’t say it felt like a typical tournament, but if the goal is to cultivate a community of competitive returning players this kind of event is perfect! I hope they continue to do more nights like this. Congratulations to the top players in the event:
This was a really nice opportunity for me to experience a lot more of what the Battle Company system has to offer.
And I appreciated getting to take home some cool tag swag. Staff shirt? Awesome!
I left Tac Ops feeling like it had been a really worthwhile trip. However, I also made a beeline for Dunkin’ to get some coffee to keep me focused for the drive home. As tired as I was by the time I arrived home at 1:30 in the morning, it was a great time and I am happy I got to be part of this first tactical tag tourney at Tac Ops.
Comments or Questions?
Websites: www.tiviachickloveslasertag.com and www.photonforever.com