In the 20 years since my first game of Laser Tag, I’ve gone through the 3 demographics of players that I know to exist.
I started as a child whose primary attendance was for parties, and I loved it, it was super fun.
At 17 I transitioned to the second demographic, the teens – young adults who enjoy playing regularly: The member demographic.
It was brilliant to encounter others who enjoyed playing Laser Tag enough to the point that we had evenings dedicated to playing all the different game settings that just aren’t appropriate to the casual demographic. There was fun, camaraderie, and a sharp spike in the average skill level.
Part of the reason that members play on members nights is because playing against the public is unfair, and unless both public and members have the right attitude, isn’t fun.
At 21 I attended my first dedicated tournament event, http://www.ukarmageddon.com/. It was a superb weekend of play visiting different arenas across the weekend, and it was the same kind of community: distilled, and there was a commensurate skill spike.
The Huddersfield team were delightful, and invited us the Scots to their Hallowe’en all-nighter event, that they run annually.
All-nighters are magnificent bridges between the tournament scene and the members scene, allowing a huge variety of games that anyone with familiarity with the system can play and enjoy, whilst also allowing time for tournaments. Hallowe’en in particular is fun as roughly half of people will turn up in fancy dress of some description or another!
Huddersfield (and their sister arena in Bradford) run three tournaments over the course of the evening, a standard team tournament, a solo tournament, then an advanced team tournament.
For players knocked out of the solo tournament (generally more members than tournament players) they run casual games in the intervening time.
The choice of games is brilliant, and the semi-random draw of the teams by the organiser who is familiar with most peoples’ skill level means its not going to be an uncompetitive tournament dominated by a stacked team.
- Members are going to be familiar with the basics of team games, and get to play alongside tournament players
- Tournament players get a competitive environment where they are met by teams with at least one member of equal skill
The solo tournament is also handled incredibly well. After the 3 qualifying games, It’s a knock out format, dropping the number of players from the top 40, to the top 30, top 20, top 10, top 5.
In the games between the solo tournament games, 1-off games are played by the players who didn’t make it through, providing a huge variety of enjoyable members games for participants.
The advanced tournament toward the end of the night is generally a quirky one. We played SM-5, a role based team game with things like Medics, Ammo carrier, Heavy Weapons, and more. It’s a really hard format to master but pretty easy to pick up.
I love it because its one that really promotes communication and team synergy. A heavy weapons unit can’t tear up the enemy without proper resupply, and scout support, resupply will get destroyed without cover from other team members: and in amongst all that you have to negotiate the arena to ensure everyone destroys the enemy’s base! I was super delighted by how quickly my team picked up the complexity of the format, given that despite several of them being members, none of them had played it before.
A well run all-nighter caters to the two player groups, members and tournament players equally, giving opportunities to members to sample the fun of semi-competitive play, and reminded tournament players of the fun and variety that laser-tag systems can offer, and Laser Zone as a company has consistently delivered for the last 8 years I’ve known them.