Friday, September 23, 2005

Laser Tag, Part 1 - Introduction

After more than 6 years, I've started playing indoor laser tag again. But this time, I actually have an arena in my city. I went last weekend and enjoyed myself to the max. Excluding sex, it's probably the most fun I've had in quite some time. Though I hate to admit it, it's probably the most exercise I've had lately too.

Regardless, I'm now hooked. I'm going to try to strap on that vest and phaser every weekend and I'm going to try to become El Paso's ultimate laser tag champ. To that end, I googled for information on laser tag tactics and didn't find much. Most of the available information is for outdoor paintball or laser skirmish, not indoor laser tag.

Because of this, I'm going to create my own guide to kicking ass at indoor laser tag. I'm combining my own knowledge of the game with what resources I can find. I'm reviewing military and SWAT tactics for close quarters battle (CQB) and modifying those tactics to fit the realities of laser tag.

This is difficult as indoor laser tag is by far the least realistic of all mil-sim games. For example, your enemies don't die but are simply deactivated for a brief period of time, at my facility it's 4 seconds. During that time the enemy can move freely but not fire or be tagged. Also, the environment itself is unlike any building ever encountered in the real world; tactically far more three-dimensional and maze-like, it could never be anything but a laser tag arena.

This lack of realism probably has something to do with the lack of tactical information about the game online. Most people who would care about such things are apt to move onto paintball or laser skirmish.

So why am I interested in indoor LT instead of one of the other more realistic mil-sims? Firstly, I find the sci-fi theme and dark environment appealing. Secondly, the lack of detailed guides for game play gives the impression that in some ways, the field of indoor laser tag tactics is an unsolved problem, which I can't resist. Lastly, it's just plain good fun which is both clean and safe.

With that out of the way, let me get started with some basic information:

I'm playing at Bob-O's Laser Odyssey on El Paso's West side, near Sunland Park.

This arena uses Zone Systems equipment and is moderately sized with 2 levels and 3 bases on the ground level. Although I didn't count them, it seems to be a 30-vest system split into three teams (red, yellow/orange, and blue).

Until I finish my next post with my own tactical insights, I'll close with a link to a site with some introductory information on CQB.


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