Friday, July 1, 2011

Halfway Point

The OLCA has successfully made it halfway through their 6th Summer Season of Laser Tag.  With 7 games under their belt (would've been 8 had it not been for Mother Nature), this Season is shaping up to be another great one!  Average attendance has slipped a little bit from last year, but I think the strangely warm temperature that happen to fall on Mondays has put a bit of a dent in turnout.  The highest attendance this season has been 28.

A new element to this season's games has been the increased use of LTX and LTTO blasters.  In the past, we have simply integrated this gear into our Laser Challenge games.  However, from a few donations, eBay auctions, thrift stores, and LTXs in general being restocked at local stores, the OLCA now has a sizeable LTX and LTTO collection as well.  We have used this gear as an alternative to LC when conditions call for it.

Because the LTX and LTTO gear doesn't require a vest to be worn, this gear has been a good choice to use when temperatures are less than pleasant.  4 of the 7 games this season have seen temperatures into the upper 80s and 90s.  During these warm games, we often see a slump in attendance (lowest this season has been 12 players).  As long as we have enough equipment to outfit everyone with an LTTO or LTX blaster, we use it as an alternative to LC.

Additionally, there's the issue of sunlight.  The OLCA used to hold their games from 8-11pm, due to the park closing at 11.  A year ago, the park changed that to 10pm, and the OLCA shifted it's play time accordingly.  However, with more of our games taking place with the sun out, there have been a few issues with Sunlight Hits on LC gear.  Because LTTO and LTX gear do not take sunlight hits, it has been helpful to utilize this equipment for the sunlit games.  Often times, when the sun has gone down, the switch is made back to LC.

Why operate with two systems?  Why not just go with one?  There are a few reasons for this.  The OLCA, by it's namesake, is a Laser Challenge group.  With such a large assortment and investment in Laser Challenge, and with almost all of the neat customized blasters built FOR this system, it's tough to get away from.  It also represents the largest portion of the collection the OLCA has, with over 40 sets available.  This isn't counting the numerous personal sets that the players own themselves.  In total, the OLCA can only support a game for 25 people for LTTO/LTX.  This means that EVERYONE who owns that gear has to be in attendance as well.  The other main issue is that our players still prefer a front/back sensor system to the dome on the LTTO and LTX gear.  The ability to shoot a retreating opponent in the back as they flee is a key reason why it's preffered over LTX and LTTO, which tend to promote retreats.  There have been many times when the last pleyer remaining on one team survives much longer because they simply run away every time opposition is met.  This has been a frustrating element to deal with, when players are essentially running in circles around the park, unable to end the conflict.

So that's halfway through the OLCA's 6th Summer Season.  On July 3rd, they'll have their annual "Independence Eve BLAST" event, which has become quite the tradition.  A cookout followed by games with fireworks soaring overhead is a setting that's tough to replicate at any other game.  I personally look forward to this unique game every year.  Perhaps we'll nail some sweet Fireworks pictures with our games going on.

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