Sunday, November 10, 2019

RVA Solo

The RVA Solo tournament held at LQ Richmond was actually my very first Laser Quest tournament. I looked forward to seeing what this experience would bring and I’m really pleased to say I met some great people and had a wonderful time.

Playing at this site gets me a step closer to a hitting a significant milestone when I play my next arena, but at this point I was simply appreciating the how impressive the arena in front of me was and looking forward to the rest of the night. This LQ was built on another former Ultrazone site and is also very distinctive as a result. I walked around taking in the full scope of the maze even though the tournament would only be played on the ground level.

I asked about the one souvenir I was most interested in taking back with me…the magnet!

And as I adopted a spot at one of the tables I started to meet the other players before the competition got underway.

The evening began with eight regular games being played with the entire group. After each game we would rotate to the next sequential pack so that nobody would play with the same pack twice for the obvious reasons.

As I recognized I was in the presence of much better players I adopted a strategy based on my own strengths. I know I am not good at dogfighting, but I have always done well as a sniper, so I hung back and took my shots while the more experienced players were distracted with each other. However, this was just enough to keep my head above water. It was more of a learning experience for me to be in midst of this kind of competition as the only times I have played competitive Quest in the past were at multi-system events like Armageddon. I learned a lot simply from observation and implementation.

At the end of the regular games the cumulative scores were tallied and we were broken into groups to play in the ladder ascensions leading towards the Triple Quest finals. I was not surprised to be in the lowest group on the ladder, but for me this was simply about the experience so I went in ready for whatever would happen playing a four-man round against Aigis2000, The Hand and TrixR4Kids. Now, I’m not suggesting that this was a spectacular showing, but I was pleased that by placing in the top two of this game I was a wild card and got to advance to the next round.

Unfortunately, that’s as far as I made it in the main comp, but I was actually heartened to have done that decently. I was a rookie here and also glad that I would have a chance to play in the Rookie Double Quest later in the night.

I’ll cut to the chase, I took second in the rookie division behind Kristin (aka Lucky Charm) by a scant 29 points (heartbreaker!), but I congratulate her on taking first. Between us the scores were 675 to 646, so it was pretty close and resulted in me taking home a nicer souvenir than my magnet!

Now, to be honest, I really have no idea what happened in the Triple Quest. I say that for two reasons…first, I was in this part of the arena playing Rookie Double Quest while it was happening…

…and second, I am not sure I am reading the spreadsheet correctly, so rather than report it incorrectly I’ll just refer to the final results Travis announced.

First Place with 931 points – The Fiesta

Second place with 792 points - Juggernaut

Third place with 781 points – DJ Puppy

Congrats to them all. I especially shout out DJ Puppy for playing through on an injured ankle which occurred in one of the final three rounds.

The Fiesta takes home a belt worthy of a WWF wrestler…I’m not quite sure the significance of giving belts as awards, but I guess it makes as much sense as a trophy, lol! And the rest of us took home some great memories and for me a bit more of an education about this facet of competitive Laser Quest. For as many LQs as I’ve been to I generally only get as competitive as playing the Ironman. Perhaps I’ll get to do that on my next adventure which will mark another laser tag milestone. You see, LQ Richmond was my 299th arena and my second to last LQ left to play in the United States. That said, can you guess where I’m headed next? ;)

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Tagging Before the Tourney

Even though we were going to be playing laser tag all night long in the competition, a few of us decided to play some Helios Pro at Launch Richmond before the tournament began.

I met up with Travis, Eric and Gambit and we took some time for a warm-up game in a small, but nicely done two-level arena. This is the third Launch location I have played and I liked the layout of this arena with long wraparound ramps on each side leading to the upper level and a lot of extra targets all throughout.

The base housings were quite open, so defending from above was easy.

We all destroyed the bases fairly quickly, so from there it was just a two on two team game, but it’s always much more enjoyable to play with others who have experience. This was a fun way to start the evening out before gearing up for the rest of the night.

After we left Launch we decided to stop over to Applebee’s where Travis demonstrated what tournament Quest players call “practice”. As for me, I needed a bite to eat for energy to power through as I looked forward to our next stop, the RVA Solo event.

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It's Tagtime!

It must be time for more tag since my next stop was at a place called Tagtime!

I drove about an hour north into Newport News to pay a visit to Tagtime Tactical Laser Tag and join in the next hour-long session using their Adventure Sports HQ gear.

Upon my arrival I met the owner, Brad, who told me they do a lot of outdoor mobile business and had intended to build an outdoor arena when the opportunity presented to build this 10,000 square foot urban battlefield to add more entertainment options within the plaza where they are located. Laser tag sessions start on the hour and several game formats are played within each session. I got a look around the space between games. There are several “rooms” constructed including a home base on opposite ends of the arena for respawning.

Themed obstacles including barrels and vehicles are strategically placed throughout the space and there are two sniper towers in opposing corners.

There were a few bright glowing elements accenting the field as well.

But the games are so immersive that these elements become secondary to the objectives.

As the session got underway with about forty players we were randomly divided into teams by being asked to select a headband from the “bag of destiny” where you would pick either a red or blue headband to determine your team. I liked this method for breaking up the groups and it seemed to result in a pretty balanced separation of players. I was on the red Alpha team.

The next stop was the armory to get out taggers and velcro head sensors.

I picked the one called “Radio” since it seemed appropriate for me… :)

Our first game was Domination. I think at this point I have played Domination on almost every major system. I enjoyed this game. The goal was to press the button for your team’s color on each of these Domination boxes and maintain control of the color for as long as possible.


My team held it down well and we won this round quite easily.

The next game was “Protect the Commander” where a random player had to be kept “alive” and untagged for the entire game. Once again, my team did well and won the round. Next was Team Deathmatch where each player has one life and once you are tagged you are out, so it’s really about who has the most players left on the field in the end. I stayed in the game for the majority of the time, but ultimately I did get tagged out. The blue team won this round. After that we played Search and Destroy where one team presses down two buttons to activate a two minute countdown during which the other team has to find and disarm the box with a code. This format seemed a little unbalanced to me as it appears one team has a natural advantage. I’m not just saying that because my team failed to disarm the box in two minutes time…but that’s how it went and the blue team won again. At two wins per team this final game format would be the tiebreaker.

Our last game was called “Smoke ‘em” and the objective was simple…the team with the most tags wins. This is how I enjoy tactical tag the most. Personally, I am far less interested in strategy games and just love to tag. I think the rest of my team felt the same way because we did in fact “smoke ‘em” with 153 to 117 tags. This hour just flew by!

I took home a couple of souvenir t-shirts. If I had more time I might have tried my hand at the other attraction they offer…axe throwing (have I mentioned I’m a former Lumberjack Princess? I think I could have done some damage there!), but I had to continue on my way back towards Richmond. However, if I find myself back in Newport News again Tagtime Tactical Laser Tag is definitely a site I would love to play again!

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Flipping Out Over Flipper McCoy's

I headed down toward the beach to a little tourist stop arcade called Flipper McCoy’s. All I knew about this place was that they had a Delta Strike system, so I walked in and went up to the counter looking to get into a game. The employee behind the counter was a little…low-key (ok, so no flipping out there exactly). But since there was nobody else playing tag he agreed to do a 1v1 with me in what they describe as their interactive laser tag arena.

There is an unusual lack of flow to this arena, but an abundance of extra elements. It’s a single level space with a backwards L shape and a familiar theme, but what really makes this arena unique are the added targets. There are three interactive targets to shoot, but when they turn red they will target you as well.

There is also a portal that you can tag to change it to your team color making it safe for you to walk through as long as it stays your color. Power-ups like rapid fire and shields could be earned by hitting the targets below the screen stations. And two satellites can target players in the game as well, so there were plenty of elements to keep track of during this game.

Although it looks to me like the arcade is the main focus of this site I enjoyed take some time out just off the beach to enjoy a light game before moving on. Many thanks for a fun side trip while in Virginia Beach!

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Beautiful Day and Beautiful Arena in Virginia Beach

The RVA Solo event in Richmond, VA was the catalyst to my making another trip this past weekend, however this really just gave me an additional reason to do what I probably would have done anyway. Truthfully, I was planning to make a trip to this region regardless so that I could visit two LQ locations in reasonably close proximity to each other. So I used this tournament as a great excuse and first drove down to Virginia Beach and then decided to tag my way back up to Richmond for the events later that night. What a beautiful day for a drive down to the beach!

My first stop as I made my way into southeast Virginia was to Laser Quest Virginia Beach, a location that is only a couple of blocks away from the site of the former Photon Virginia Beach. I know that because as soon as I walked into LQVB one of the staffers noticed my hat and commented on it with a nod of respect to the old school laser tag system. The other employees didn’t seem to recognize it, but I always think it’s cool to encounter someone who does. He thought a business called Surge was located at the old Photon site and I was tempted to try to find it, but figured my time was better spent playing the laser tag right in front of me, so since I got there just in time for a game I put on my pack.

I’m told this LQ was previously an Ultrazone arena which made it particularly distinctive in a few ways. When I entered and headed to my left I found myself walking around and through a pyramid structure and my first thought was that it felt like something you’d find in Zone even before I learned that my assessment was correct. There were several other really unique elements to this arena including a tall cylindrical (or maybe octagonal) orange structure in the middle. I found a ramp to get me up into it…and then another…and another. The ramps kept going up higher and higher and I followed them into a separate alcove at the top of the highest tower in the arena. The way these areas are attached is quite interesting and the structures were very cool to explore. It was not they typical three tower layout that I see most often. This arena was something special for sure!

There were a couple of guys getting WAY into it and I wondered if they might be competing with me later that night. Time would tell, but for now I was pleased with the outcome of this game and had a beautiful day in Virginia Beach ahead of me, so it was time to move on with one more LQ checked off my list!

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Saturday, October 26, 2019

Tagging to Make A Difference

I returned to Gameworks in Denver to tag in support of a great cause and play in the third annual laser tag tournament fundraiser for the Doreen Katz Memorial Cancer Foundation. This foundation raises money to help the children of cancer patients and it is a cause that really hits home with me not only because I lost my own brother to cancer, but also because Doreen was from a town very close to my home in New York and I want to support her husband Adam in his efforts to continue helping kids. It’s also such a fun night and as Adam says “what could be more fun than laser tag?” Of course, he’s absolutely right!

I saw a few familiar faces from last year as soon as I arrived. I teamed up with Brian and Tara, Alex from The Final Word sports radio show (because we radio types flock together!) and Dale to build our team for the night, “The Walking Dread”.


We had some practice time in the arena, a familiar space I played a year ago with a double level design and three bases plus the generator.

Towards the beginning of the event I met a few players who were new to the event, but certainly familiar with Laserforce as they are members at the Loveland Laser Tag site (aka Phil’s Vangaurd…I’m told that spelling of their team name is intentional). I had actually met Trinity (aka Goldfish) on a previous trip to Denver area when she was game master during my visit to Fort Fun…I remembered her because she’s the only game master I have ever seen walking the arena in high heels!

What’s great about this event is that the “teams” are very loosely structured (as the final results were based on individual cumulative scores) so we got to play with several four-man variations of our team all night. During the first game we welcomed Dominick to swap out for a spot and we went back into the vesting room to suit up in the Gen 7 Laserforce gear.

These games were fast, furious and fun as we played team supercharge games all night long. In between we enjoyed a delicious buffet dinner with thanks to Legends of Aurora and had a strategy session during dessert.

46 participants came out to play laser tag while others showed up to enjoy the dinner and the social time, plus there was also a silent auction in support of the foundation and free arcade cards for the all who attended which were enjoyed by all ages! Adam’s main goal for this fundraiser (and every fundraiser the foundation does) is for people to have fun. He lets this be known in everything he does including dyeing his beard pink for the month of October to show his support.

Over the course of the next few rounds we continued rotating players so that everyone had a chance to play as much as they wanted. Josiah (another Loveland player) joined us towards the end.

And at the end of the night awards were given to the top four players based on cumulative score from throughout the night. I came in second place. Congrats to Troy Meissner for first place, Ben Carney took third and Joseph Lee took fourth place.

I thank the foundation for the prize package I received with over $100 worth of gift certificates.

And a very special youth award was presented to Austin, who did such a great job in all the games he played during the event and is a wonderful young man!

This was such a fun night and it’s a very worthwhile cause. This event was the main reason I decided to travel west on this particular weekend and the whole trip afforded me so many great experiences. I can’t wait to return to Denver again next year!

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