While I was in Kansas I looked forward to the
opportunity to visit with my friends Miranda and Elaine and also return to play
some tag with them at Laser Trooper in Topeka. At Laser Trooper Kip and his
staff operate using a LaserMaxx product line that can only be played in a few
select locations and the last time I was here I enjoyed trying this system out in
their arena in the West Ridge Mall. Since then they have moved their arena…and
yet, they are still in the West Ridge Mall, now on the downstairs level.
We arrived on a quiet day so Miranda and I had
the whole arena to ourselves for a 1v1 game (Elaine sat this one out).
With this system there is no need to “suit up”
as the entire game is contained in the phaser with sensors down the front and on
both sides. So we just picked out our taggers, which are an interesting hybrid
between traditional and tactical laser tag…
…and we headed into the arena.
A simple space is transformed by a movable
arena that Kip plans to build upon and modify every season.
Trooper is such a rarity to get to play I will look forward to returning to see
what they do next.
I debated whether or not to count this site
again (making it my 301st arena) simply because it is the same arena
walls inside the same mall as it was the last time, but ultimately I decided that
I will count it as a new arena because the design, layout and specific location
(i.e. the suite address) have all changed. The general consensus of those I
have asked is the same. How ironic that (at last I knew) there are only five
places in the world where this specific system can be played and I’m now claiming
to have played it in two locations in Topeka, Kansas. It’s a judgement call
because everyone I know who has an arena count into the triple digits maintains
their list a little differently and I want to be consistent with my own
criteria, which is predominantly leaning towards only counting actual physical
location once…but going from upstairs to downstairs in the mall did give me
something to ponder.
In previous posts we have discussed the
various criteria that determine whether an arena is an entirely new site or a
modification of a previous version. The moment to pause on how to classify this
one got me thinking about the last time I shared my list. Actually, there are
two lists I keep. One is a list of all the arenas I have played which is
updated regularly and can be found here on my website…
However, my other list is one I was curious to
update and that is a system count list of how many arenas I’ve played using
each laser tag system. The last time I updated this list was about a year ago
when I played my 200th arena, so I was curious to see how the makeup
of my system count list has changed with the last 100 arenas I have played. So
let’s take a look…
Here is the system count list from when I
reached my first 200 arenas side by side with how it looks after 300 arenas.
So here’s what this data comparison tells me…
The systems I had already been playing the
most like Zone and Laserforce continued to stay highest on the list. Can this
be attributed to personal preference, proximity during my travels or overall
volume of sites available?
Laser Quest, not surprisingly, made the biggest
jump since I’ve been making a deliberate effort to play them all.
Final analysis of the results? I just play a CRAZY amount of laser tag! :)
This weekend something special happened...I
played my 300th laser tag arena at Laser Quest Wichita! This visit to Kansas
also allowed me to count Wichita as my final LQ in America. As of now (unless
any more should happen to open) I have played every currently active Laser
Quest location in the United States. And this was the perfect way to complete
My day began with a 3:00 am wake-up (as most
of my tag trips do) and it was early afternoon when I arrived in Wichita and
was greeted by manager Nate who hooked me up with some tag swag and most
I told him I wanted to play a couple of games
right then and afterwards I planned to travel two hours north to visit friends
in Topeka (and yes, play a little more tag, which is why I had to make this
number official before doing anything else) then I would return later that
night to play the Ironman. So I signed up for the first available game which
included some public players and a birthday group. Fortunately, it also
included a more experienced player, Grant (aka GGGUnit14), who I was told in
advance is one of their regulars who is quite good and mostly comes in to play
for cardio. Perfect! I introduced myself and he asked me if I was “the legend”,
to which I said “hardly...just a prolific player” because even though I’ve
played at a lot Laser Quests I don’t really get to practice often because there
are none in NY. Still, it was flattering that he knew what I was there for and
we agreed to do some dueling against each other in the orange tower and this
was a fun way to get a little more competitive. Such a great time!
The arena is large and a more classic LQ look
than some of the others I’ve played recently.
The fog makes it hard to get good pics inside
the arena, which is a shame because the banner glowed neon bright under the
So once it was official we took a few pics
After a couple of games I left for awhile to
visit with my friends who live in northern Kansas and returned later in the
evening to learn that there was a packed arena for the 9:30 Ironman. This
looked like the start of a great game!
Sure enough, this proved to be a wonderful
time. 33 players made returning for the game really worthwhile and it was a
great way to round out a long, but very enjoyable day.
BTW, the top score was Grant using an
alternate code name. Nice game!
I was only able to stay in Wichita for just
this one evening, but I’m so glad that these are the memories that I will have
to look back on when I think about the completion of my “quest” to play at
every Laser Quest in the USA (truly laser tagging America) and where I played
my 300th arena.
What’s next? Well there are still five more
LQs for me to get to in Canada! ;)
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
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
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? ;)
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.
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
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!