The flag waited patiently—a mere 10 feet away but in the shadow of a 50-caliber gun. I sensed yells and flashing lights as the enemy team swooped across the landscape. Finally… the enemy manning the gun went down. This was my chance. I ran! My fingers grabbed the flag. I ran three whole feet before my headset screamed my death- Man down! Man down! I dropped the flag and was forced into the medic building.
What real life Call of Duty was this?
Last Monday the new CQ Tactical Laser Tag facility hosted members from Yelp Tampa. As we waited, we stuffed ourselves with catered pizza and cookies (not a good idea as you’ll soon read)
After getting a seemingly encyclopedia’s length of instructions from a staffer (it’s actually very simple once you’re out there), the attendees were split in two groups to alternate using the indoor and the outdoor courses. I was already familiar with Laser Tag arenas and Paintball fields, but the most notable difference here used lights on a headband to indicate your death as well as deliver a surround sound of effects. And instead of simply ‘last team standing’ we were given missions to complete.
Unfortunately my entire group of friends (plus two others) were left out of the initial equation. Not enough guns to go around. We were mostly confined to the lobby where we could hear the nervous laughter of the other teams transform into thrilling yelps amidst gun shots. A pitying staffer allowed us to peek into the indoor course: much larger than I thought! It was a maze of small rooms, dim lights, flashing strobes, and many large containers to break up the line of sight. Zombie containment warehouse was my first thought. Here and there we saw frustrated participants with flashing red headgear on their way to the medic station.
Eventually a handful of participants were ‘forced’ to trade their guns to us. Finally! We were marched to the outdoor course- similar to paintball fields except with simple, roofed buildings. Compared to the indoor area, we now had space to run but also faced humidity and mosquitoes. Our first mission involved one team securing three hidden briefcases while the other defended. Then came the laser tag equivalent of ‘capture the flag.’ Stakes were upped as the defending team earned use of the giant 50-caliber gun.
Between sprinting from post to post then squatting to hide, my body got a workout. After deciding it was pointless to be cautious (the medic station technically offered you unlimited lives and ammo) my personal strategy became running into missions guns blazing.
It worked… kinda. My gun kept screaming “Man down” causing my hasty retreat to get healed. At least I’d help nudge the missions forward. Unfortunately I could feel those cookies I ate rising up during most of my sprints. Yikes!
I wished there was a way to see my stats. I’m sure they were horrible especially with my strategy, but it’d be nice to see my kill ratio. As my group waited at the beginning, the manager (?) chatted with us and mentioned his hopes to add that effect. CQ Tactical was still evolving in adding missions and themed events.
I learned later the Yelpers who’d given their guns to us never got to return to the game despite assurances they would. This led to obvious frustrations towards communication and planning. Despite this, I give my thanks again to the Yelp team as well as CQ Tactical for this experience.