I had the delight of being invited to play at a competition in Bradford (UK) this weekend. Bradford’s LaserZone has been a hub of laser-tag activity in the UK, a nexus for multi-system tournaments and in particular Quasar. Over the years their members have hosted and played in multiple tournaments.
It was very well attended from 7 different countries, including players from as far out as Russia and the United States.
Two days of round robin competition to determine the winners was an excellent experience, and the pacing and grouping meant that there was good amounts of free time versus time enough to play games. I was asked to play with a group of multi-system players from the Yorkshire area, many of whom I’ve played with in multi-system tournaments, and single system Zone and Blast tournaments.
Quasar is a very different beast from multi system, and one of the oldest systems still competitively played, with it first being manufactured around 1988. The learning curve for dedicated quasar players is incredibly high compared to the other systems I’ve played. The flip side is watching skilled players in conflict is incredible to watch!
Physically the packs have no shoulder sensors, a deviation from modern convention that has a significant impact on the types of stance and motions required for an effective defence. Similarly, where most packs these days have a fabric base with electronic modules attached, the Quasar packs are entirely comprised of moulded plastic plates.
In terms of Play style, Quasar competitions have 4 aspects that contribute to a incredibly fast and intense game format.
1. Shot rate is limited to one shot per second, making ever shot count
2. After being shot, players have 0.97 seconds to take a single avenging shot, referred to as the Reflex Shot.
3. For roughly 50% of the time between being hit and reactivating you can be hit again, restarting the process
4. Unlike most formats, taking positions that completely cover and obscure sensors are both allowed and the norm.
The combination of the above, and the length of time down of the players have been competitive in Quasar tournaments means that this kind of event attracts some truly amazing players, with levels of capability that I simply don’t have the opportunity to climb towards. This year the team I played for came second last of the 12 teams, quite far away from the medals and trophy that were for the winners!
At the time of writing I have 12 years of mixed system experience, including 8 years of tournaments. Despite that in a straight duel against almost everyone in this tournament I would be confident in my loss!
It is a thoroughly enjoyable and humbling experience that really highlights the difference in skill between the competitive single system players and the multi system players.