A Tour of Battle Company
I love a behind the scenes look at what’s going on in the laser tag industry, so my thanks to the team at Battle Company for hosting me for a tour or their headquarters in Oak Creek, WI as well as a chance to play a few games with the staff in their on-site test arena.
Upon my arrival at the office building, I was met by Brian Sytkowski, the director of sales, who I have met numerous times at the various industry trade shows. Brian told me that he and Aaron Fischer (founder and CEO of Battle Company) have known each other since they were four years old and played laser tag together for the first time in Madison, WI, which was one of the experiences that got the ball rolling for starting the company (originally known as Laser Tag Pro). We chatted a bit with Joe McGeorge, chief of operations, who shared some fun stories about those early days including the behind the scenes adventures of appearing with Aaron on an episode of the TV show, Rooster and Butch (which can be streamed in several locations if you want to go back and watch).
I remembered seeing that episode and playing the equipment when it went by its former name, however the company has grown significantly and now offers pro level indoor and outdoor equipment, home laser tag options and even sword fighting challenges! I was most excited to learn about the different laser tag options, so Aaron walked me through their core laser tag product line.
I also got to try the new ratcheting headset design.
You almost never see me in an arena without my Photon hat, so I love that these headsets feel very secure around my head while keeping the hat on. And it was great to get the rundown of all the products I have been able to experience at various arenas during my travels.
We visited for a bit with chief engineer Zach Dickerson from the research and development side who graciously let me check out his personal, tricked out tagger!
And it was cool to hear about some of the things they are working on. They told me their entire team plays video games, so they are incredibly in-tune with the gaming community and put that into their products, which is why they consider themselves “modern” laser tag (as a terminology other than simply tactical or traditional).
Brian told me one of their main goals is to bring their customers quality laser tag, from home level to business. Different models are of course best suited to the customer’s needs, but if the consumer is looking for a home laser tag product, they have affordable options with the SWAPTX line that starts with a base Evolver tagger and then additional option to add a headset and choice of “skins” to change up the style of weaponry that is emulated. This was my first time seeing this gear up close.
I got a tour of the shipping and maintenance areas where they have a huge stock of supplies to be able to build and deliver the laser tag equipment. Brian told me they have grown every year and “the volume of the Battle Rifle Pro has sold more than any other laser tag unit worldwide” and the company website notes products have been sold into 40 countries. With a core staff of about 15 people that is a tremendous accomplishment!
A fair number of those team members were right there at the 12-acre property where Battle Company has an on-site, two-story arena of about 9000 square feet. Brian told me it was built as a test arena, but people book games there every weekend. How lucky was I to get to play with the Battle Company staff who took a break for some games in the middle of the week!
Time to play! We started with a Star Wars inspired game of Team Deathmatch playing Empire vs Rebels. This was a good warm-up and refresher for me as it has been a few months since I’d held a BRX.
At the end we all gathered in the center to check out our scores on the monitor.
Next up was a game of Domination. Almost every manufacturer has some version of this, but I think this might have been my first time playing this game format with Battle Company. We had a quick strategy session where Brian and I went upstairs to take on the role of snipers.
Meanwhile, our teammates went after the Domination target positioned inside this bell prop that was hanging from above.
Next up was Lone Survivor (aka Team Sniper) where I found my groove and had gained familiarity with the arena space. I have always felt I played best in a sniper position and this was a really fun round where we took our second of three wins.
Our final game in the arena was Infection. As the “zombie” I took Matt by surprise with a pretty quick tag and the game was rolling until everyone had been “infected”.
After that we took some time for a game on their outdoor field where I got to experiment a bit!
By the end of my visit, I felt much more familiar with the games and products Battle Company offers and I thank the whole team (including Aaron who was busy in the office, but took some time to chat at the end) for a wonderful tour and game experience at the headquarters of this completely modern laser tag manufacturer.
Comments or Questions?
Websites: www.tiviachickloveslasertag.com and www.photonforever.com