Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Giveaway: 2 Days Left!

I love Laser Tag and Nerf.  It's what this blog is about, from mods to reviews to games to whatever.  While I don't claim to be an expert on reading fan reactions... it always seems like when I do something to get folks' attention, it's something with Nerf.  I get it, there's more Nerf fans out there than there are Laser Tag.  With that said, I thought I'd give one last push for the Facebook Page and the Giveaway slated to end on July 31st at 11:59pm CST.

Here's where we're at

  • 200 Likes = N-Strike Elite Triad EX-3 ::ACHIEVED::
  • 250 Likes = N-Strike Elite Alpha Trooper CS-12 (almost there)
  • 300 Likes = Well, you'll just have to watch the video.
I've really been focusing on making the Facebook Page more than just a mirror of this blog.  There's Facebook-only content on there, announcements for local events, and shout-outs to some of my Nerf and Laser Tag friends for their projects, news, and games.  

Head on over to the Facebook Page for Tactical Tag if you haven't already and check it out.  You'll also get to see what I'm planning if we manage to hit 300 likes before the month is over!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Paint-adjusted RapidStrike

Less than 24 hours into owning my very own N-Strike Elite RapidStrike CS-18 and that orange stripe was bugging me.  According to my fans on Facebook, my feelings were more than confirmed about this subject.  So I quickly taped up, repainted, touched up, and finished what Nerf should've done in the first place.

That's a "Paint-adjusted" RapidStrike CS-18... the way it SHOULD be!  More photos of the RapidStrike on my Facebook Page for Tactical Tag, too!

So I've purchased, done some pic spam, made a quick video review, and already repainted part of this blaster.  Just having a good ol' time with this new rifle!

N-Strike Elite RapidStrike CS-18 Review

I don't want anyone to miss out on one more second of fun they could be having playing with their Nerf blasters, so I've made a habit of making quick-yet-informative reviews.  The RapidStrike CS-18 from the N-Strike Elite lineup has a lot to cover, but if you can manage to give up a mere 2 minutes of your time, you can know all you need to about this full-auto flywheel-driven clip-fed dart blaster!

Video is after the jump!

RapidStrikes have Landed

They're blue, they're full-auto, and they're STATE-SIDE.  Nabbed a N-Strike Elite "RapidStrike CS-18" off a local retailer's shelf!  Stay tuned on the blog and my Facebook Page for further updates!  There's several great reviews on this blaster already, so I'll likely just do a quick overview video and then focus on all the devious plans I have for the RapidStrike.  From an "Amped" test to pic-spam to simple modifications and complex recasings, there's a lot in store for Nerf's first Full-Auto Flywheel-driven dart-slinging blaster!

Facebook Album

Oh, and while I'm at it... I'm ALWAYS open to your suggestions as to what I should do with this blaster.  Lemme know what you wanna see!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The Switch to Friday!

So the Midwest Laser Tag Association (MLTA) that I've been organizing outdoor games with for the past 8 years made an unprecedented change last night.  Every Summer, for our regular season "Fight Nights", we decide what night to hold our weekly games on and then things go from there like clockwork.  Some years it was Monday nights, others on Tuesday or Wednesdays.  This year was our first year hosting them on Thursday nights.  We polled the group to see what night would work best and supposedly Thursday was our night... but our average turnout per game has been some of the lowest in the MLTA's 8 year history!  Last night we tried something out: move to Friday.  20 players later, it's clear that the switch is going to be a keeper for the rest of the season!

We've never made a switch mid-way through the season before, but it's just proof that if you want to succeed, you've gotta adapt.  This year, that meant changing nights... and if it means more people can join in, we've accomplished our mission.  Providing fun and free laser tag to the Omaha Metro Area.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Urban Taggers: Among the Best

After reading Pocket Esq's departure from his outstanding blog, Urban Taggers, I realized one thing very quickly.  I would actually be more upset to see someone try to fill in/replace what he established.  On the one hand, Urban Taggers' continued contributions to their loyal fans will be missed.  However, it's an irreplaceable part of this community for a reason.  Pocket always had great content, from reviews to news to rants to features of other fan's stuff.  His support for the hobby, from the gear to the folks behind it, is something I'll never forget.  He inspired me to start my own, gave me a higher standard to follow, and encouraged me to do things for fans instead of do things for recognition.  For 3 short years, there's so much great content in this one blog.

Long story short: I just want to thank Pocket for his contributions to everyone.  Nerf, Laser Tag, and everything in-between.  I personally wish him the best of luck in future endeavors, whatever they are.  A blog about toy blasters is just a small part of someone's life, but Urban Taggers has certainly left a mark on this hobby in the best way possible.

Facebook Giveaway for TT

I started things out on Blogger with Tactical Tag back on April 15th, 2011.  Since then, this blog has reached over 500,000 people in over 50 Countries!  The United States, Australia, The United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, and Singapore all have well over 10,000 views contributing to those statistics.  The Facebook page for Tactical Tag was added on March 29th of 2012 and has been a great way to reach folks via social networking and connect them to the blog.  Recently, the Facebook Page has sort of become it's own thing as I add "FB Exclusive" content to it.  It's easier for me to add things on the fly through mobile updates on Facebook whereas the blog tends to take a little more TLC to get an article published.

As we approach a seemingly endless sea of new releases (Centurion, RapidStrike, Rebelle products, ZombieStrike products, etc), news is going to be flying all over the place.  I figured what better way to help reach more people than to plug the Facebook group with a bit of a giveaway!

Currently, the Facebook Group has 189 "Likes". 19 more... and we'll have 200 "Likes" for Tactical Tag! I get the feeling some of you know folks that have been reading the blog that don't know about the Facebook Page that goes along with it. To help spread the word, I'll do a Facebook-Exclusive giveaway once we hit "200 Likes". If we get there, one lucky fan will receive an N-Strike Elite Triad!
To sweeten the deal, if we hit "250 Likes" before the end of this month (July), instead of giving away a Triad... I'll be giving away something a bit... bigger. So spread the word!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

TagFest shows off New Gear!

While it's not likely to hit shelves, I'm always excited to see new developments for Laser Tag.  One of the best annual events to showcase these is always TagFest Northwest, hosted by 1 Source Laser Tag.  It's an event that, while I've still not been able to attend one in my years of laser tagging, I always look forward to.  Many of my "heroes" of laser tag attend and have customized gear on hand to show and share.  This "Shotgun Prototype" LTAR pictured to the left is likely that of TagFerret (who is responsible for LTTO, LTX, and LTAR development).  

Young and old, folks show up each year to the Pacific Northwest of the United States to play a full weekend of outdoor laser tag.  Often times, custom gear is specifically built to debut at this star-studded event to maximize exposure of whatever is "new" in the Laser Tag world.  Last year, the LTAR made it's unofficial debut while this year showcased some great fan creations.  From the NOMAD to the Turreted LTX setup, there's a lot of neat devices and customized gear that turn heads.  While not nearly as active/publicized as Nerf modifications, Laser Tag modifications certainly have their own level of complexity as far as electronics are concerned.

More news should trickle in about this event and I hope to learn more about the new gear unveiled at TagFest!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Keep Cool and Have a Soaker War

Winston Churchill once said "Keep Calm and Carry On".  Well, with the summer heat, and all the parodies of this phrase, I thought it was appropriate to share a little tactic I use to stay cool during the summer without the use of a public pool that the 3-year-olds have peed in.  These days, it seems like the only press that Super Soakers get from fans is that "They don't make 'em like they used to".  While the truth of that is up for debate, the fact is that at least they still make 'em!  I tend to take advantage of that fact when the temperatures push 90 degrees...

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Vortex Diatron Review

I wasn't sure how I felt about this blaster when it first came out.  It was just... odd.  It's too bulky to really be a pistol, but it's not large enough to really be a rifle.  It's got 8 disks, but has a 10 disk capacity... which with the reload trick turns into a 12 disk capacity.

I still can't say for sure if I'm "on-board" with this blaster.  The priming system is odd and can be clunky/annoying, the stock attachment is not nearly as sturdy as I would've liked, and the 10 disk capacity is a little more tricky to reload than the Vigilon's in-built ammo storage.  I tried to be as bias-free in this video, as I'm still deciding whether I like it or not.  There are things about it I didn't think I'd like that I do, but there are also points on this blaster I was looking forward to that have let me down.  You be the judge!

Friday, July 19, 2013

ToyShop has Centurions

Thanks to a tip from a reader, we've got Nerf Centurion pre-sale from the Hasbro ToyShop.  Pick up yourself the newest Nerf blaster for early August release instead of checking every local store in town only to find they've got a sale on Super Soakers and some Retaliators.

Price: $49.99
Availability: This product will begin shipping on or about 08/01.
Estimated Delivery Dates
Standard (7-10): 08/12 - 08/15
Priority (3-5): 08/06 - 08/08
Express (1-2): 08/02 - 08/05

More ZombieStrike Repaints!

This time it's not a photoshop.  To the right is a photo from the San Diego Comic Con courtesy of my friend JetCell of the NerfWiki.  There's a whole slew of photos taken from this event that can be seen <here> too.  Several fans have pointed out how many of these blasters look like they were designed as N-Strike Elite or Vortex blasters first.  You can clearly see an "N-Strike ELITE" logo on the handle of the SideStrike for the ZombieStrike lineup that's been unveiled recently.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Plans for the Centurion

The N-Strike MEGA Centurion is coming to store shelves late summer/early fall of 2013.  With this blaster, we have new ammo, new color scheme (unless you remember the Red Strike series), and new ranges to aim for.  If you've missed RS09's video review and firing test of the Centurion... you start to wonder... is this blaster worth it?  What kind of work would be needed to fix it's accuracy... consistency... or even push those Reverse Plunger internals further?

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Buncha Goons

You know, every time I get a little frustrated about the lower-than-usual turnout we've been experiencing this season, I snap out of it and realize the great set of people that DO manage to show up.  Every Thursday, when I leave Mission Park West, I'm left with a great feeling.  It doesn't really matter how many games my team won or how much I may or may not have dominated a few memorable shootouts... I just am so happy with the bunch of folks that have been making each week a delight to host games for.

From a numbers standpoint for turnout, this season compares much more to our earlier days.  Game 1: 12. Game 2: 10.  Game 3: 17.  Game 4: 15.  Game 5: 18.  Game 6: 14. Game 7: 13.  Game 8: 14.  Game 9: 26. Game 10: 14.  Our highest turnout was on our Independence Eve Blast event... which was the only event held on a Friday.  It makes me wonder if we should've been hosting these games on Friday nights instead... but I've always been of the mindset that there's too many other things going on that might conflict with weekly turnout.

Forget all that statistical mumbo jumbo, though.  I keep having fun every single week and folks keep having an equally good time.  It kind of reminds me of a post I made a little over a year ago about Nerf games being social... that we can so easily get caught up in modifications or statistics or heated debate on a forum or chatroom... we forget it's the PEOPLE you PLAY those games with that make it worth it.  I'm guilty of sometimes forgetting this fact, so I figured we could all use the reminder.

I suppose it'd be nice if we had more folks showing up for games, but I'm just fine keeping these games in a "Quality over Quantity" mindset.  We may not be breaking any attendance records this season (not yet, at least) but I couldn't be happier with the great people that make these games worth organizing each week.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Moving Operations!

Recently I've stayed away from doing any heavy-duty labor-intensive modifications as I've been in the hunt for a new home.  Not only has it been time consuming, but it also has meant that my workspace is preparing to relocate, not create more fiendish blasters!  Big projects like my Elite Longshot Ver 2.0 and Laser Tag M41A Pulse Rifle are on hold until I can get things re-established at my new home.  That being said, this new place might encourage some "backyard gaming", thanks to the fact that there is a gigantic park that backs up to where my new base of operations will be.

Literally, my backyard has a wooden gate that opens into a 1,600 x 650 foot park.  There are many features similar to our tried-and-true park that has served for the MLTA's 8 summer seasons of outdoor laser tag games.  It's technically two parks that meet in the middle with quite the lush set of cover that connects the two.  I envision this mid-point of the park helping consolidate fighting to this portion of the park.  There's a dried up creek bed that runs through the middle of these conjoined parks with lots of dirt paths that criss cross through this mid-point that should make for some interesting encounters between both teams.

That being said, this is a very different approach to games than we've had before.  With the old park, there was a nearly impassable swamp in the middle that forced us to play around the edges and along the path that went around it.  This new park, however, sort of forces you into the middle if you plan on not getting picked off by long-range attacks, so the path more-or-less serves as a boundary around the edge with most of the good accessible cover in the middle.  I expect it will create more direct combat situations instead of the runaround that the old park had us doing.

Either way, plans still aren't completely final.  If all goes well with the home inspection, I'll start moving in at the beginning of August.  We'll likely play a trial game or two in this park before making any sort of  "switch " from our home at Mission Park West to my new backyard, but I am excited for the potential ability to have a base of operations like this.  It also means I'll have a much better place to work on my projects, so either way... this blog is about to get a whole lot more fun! ;)

Friday, July 12, 2013

N-Strike Elite Crossfire?

Before I could attempt my own photoshop of this idea that MyLastDart planted in my head yesterday when news of the ZombieStrike Crossfire hit the interwebs, one had already popped up on MLD's Facebook Page.  I tweaked it just a little more, but the fact remains that most of Nerf Nation is looking very closely at these new ZombieStrike blasters and thinking "did this blaster really start out in this lineup?"

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Hasbro Floods the Nerf Aisle

Holy undead cows, Batman... the ZombieStrike lineup for Nerf has exploded!  I got my info from MyLastDart and I figured I'd weigh in a bit on how this lineup effects Nerf overall.  Not just in the hands of players, but their marketing strategy and flooding of the market with new products.

I'm curious how the rest of you feel about my take on it too, so feel free to weigh in on this!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Double Dart Stryfe

Toys R Us has another "Double your Darts" campaign.  While it's nothing really out-of-the-ordinary on the surface, it looks like there's custom Elite darts included with it.  The blue Elite darts look to have white printing on them that looks pretty nifty!  Check your local stores/online for availability!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Food = More Players

If you feed them, they will come.  Actually, that's irrelevant since we've had cookouts before during our regular laser tag season... but MAN did we have great turnout at the MLTA's 8th Annual "Independence Eve BLAST!"  We almost depleted our armory with 26 people in attendance.  Not only does that make this the highest turnout for a game this season, but it also is the highest turnout for this event in it's 8 year history!  Usually this is a tricky game to plan since folks are out of town and busy with other stuff, but apparently things worked out and we had a great mix of new and old faces show up to celebrate with us!

As usual, the evening started off with our cookout.  Folks brought Hamburgers, Hot Dogs, Chips, Cookies, Drinks, even some AA batteries to help our armory out!  We had a few veterans show up that hadn't played with us in ages, so we caught up with them and met some new friends along the way.  From high school freshmen to Masters Degree graduates, it was an all-ages show!  I feel like we've got a whole new generation of players getting hooked on this, so it's good to see the group grow with some younger players.

We had some gear break down last week and my LTX EF5 was among the casualties.  Didn't get it fixed in time, so I just used the CTDYNE LTX.  I forgot how great of a blaster the stock LTX is when it's got a good Red Dot and shoulder stock mounted to it, so the CTDYNE Combo mount attached really helps bring out the blaster's full potential as far as accuracy and comfort are concerned.  We've got more gear to work on this summer, but most of the veterans (myself included) have been incredibly busy this summer.  We do have newer players asking for a Mod Night, so I guess we'll have to do one soon!  From simple repaints to modifying stock gear to full-on recasings, there's a lot we'd like to get done!

In general, I'm excited to see this growth of our group continue.  Weather has been against us this summer, but with a little push and some promotion, we've managed to get some great new faces at our games!  We'll see if it continues into our game next week, though... fingers crossed!

Friday, July 5, 2013


Well, it took Hasbro long enough, but the Zombie Fever has caught on.  Humans vs Zombies has grown to be incredibly popular and, even though they've technically been beaten to the punch, no-one does foam dart blasters like Nerf.  From the Hammershot to the Sledgefire to these new Zombie-themed Elite Darts, Halloween certainly looks to have arrived early!

Admittedly, I'm excited.  While I don't play HvZ (not out of disinterest, mind you), having blasters themed like this is aesthetically pleasing to see.  That, and having hammer-controlled priming has always been something I've wanted to see on new blasters.  The ooze/slime themed darts I could care less about, but the blaster's design and function should be a home-run regardless of what game it's aimed at.

Here's a higher resolution photo of the SledgeFire than most of the ones I've seen out there.  The 3-round cartridge system is cool to me.  I almost wonder if, with the larger diameter of this blaster, if you could turn this into some sort of Grenade-launcher looking thing firing those new Mega Darts.  Don't ask me why I'm thinking about mod potential already on a blaster I haven't even seen in person!  Just the tinkerer in me thinking about possibilities with this, especially since I've never really been fond of cartridge-based systems on Nerf Blasters.  To me, it's just another plastic part to mess around with... and eventually lose or misplace.  Still, I haven't seen the Nerf brand do a cartridge-type firing system recently, so it'll be nifty to see how they work it in.  Expect to see the HammerShot, the SledgeFire, and the new darts hitting shelves late summer/early fall in the US.

Soaker War!

It's been awhile since I've managed to get a good Soaker War going, but we had a great one on at our Annual 4th of July party!  Just a couple of the newer Nerf-brand ones that have come out in the last 4 years or so.  The Shotblast is still one of my favorites, but I ended up loaning all 3 of those out and got stuck with reloading the massive Hydro Cannon.  Also introduced two new ones from the '13 lineup that I'll be reviewing soon.

There's really no rhyme or reason to our game... just SHOOT at whomever you want until you're out of water and need to reload!  The magazine-fed blasters, while not quite as powerful as the Shotblast, had a longevity advantage since we had a few spare magazines lying around pre-filled.  On their own the Shotblast has great internal capacity, but the versatility of the magazine-fed blasters is much higher, especially now that Super Soaker has expanded from their normal 10 Ounce Magazines that were standard in pretty much everything.  With the Banana Clip and the Drum Mag, as well as the optional backpack version, there's a lot more to choose from.  There's just something about the power behind the Shotblast that still makes it stand out.  I still feel like it's got the most punch of the newer blasters... although that mass of water launched by the Hydro Cannon isn't too bad either!  If only it didn't take so long to load in-between shots!  I could only get about 6-8 full power shots out before I had to reload, anyways!

There are two new Soakers in my arsenal that I'll review soon.  It's at least nice, for Nerf fans, to know that now there's a white shoulder stock WITHOUT the lightning bolt in the middle of it like the LightningStorm had.  It's quickly become my favorite stock just for that reason.  Anyways, stay tuned for more updates!  Hope you all had a great 4th!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th of July!

Wanted to wish all my friends in the US a very safe, fun, and happy 4th of July!  I mean, you're allowed to have a good day tomorrow on the 5th too, and maybe even the 6th, but there's just something about the 4th of July that always makes folks want to be happy.  Something about celebrating independence?  Either way, there's lots of grilling, explosions, and whatever else you manage to do!

My Independence Day celebrations started yesterday with a bunch of friends and co-workers over at my buddy's new house.  Then today with more friends and family at our home with a pool party, lots of food, and fireworks in the street.  Friday, after I've managed to wash all the gunpowder out of my hair, we've got the Midwest Laser Tag Association's 8th Annual Independence Eve Blast (although it's not on the "eve" of Independence Day this year)... so I'm in the middle of a 3 day event!

When Saturday Hits, I'll hit the ground running with photos from the IEB, working on some reviews, and getting more projects underway.  So keep an eye out for that!  In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the week!

Monday, July 1, 2013

July 4th Traditions

Been getting ready for what I hope to be our best event yet for our annual Independence Eve Blast, or "I.E.B." for short.  Every year, right around the 4th of July, we have our usual weekly laser tag game in an unusual setting... that's kind of chaotic!  We start off with a cookout, then we start up the laser tag games.  Fireworks are legal in our area, so as the evening progresses, neighborhoods start lighting up the sky with bright sparkling lights as a thick cloud of sulfur fills the air!  The lights from the exploding fireworks overhead light up our park like a battlefield at night... and it's really a fantastic setting!

This year, the IEB is on July 5th, which still leaves plenty of time for other festivities.  We usually have quite the pool party on the 4th and break out the Super Soakers.  We even have Soakers on fire control duty to dowse any fireworks that don't go off/get out of control.  The Hydro Cannon was the big favorite last summer for annihilating whatever fiery blaze was getting out of hand.

There's a bunch of stuff going on this week, preparations for the IEB, getting the pool ready for another round, picking up fireworks, and planning what food to bring to what events.  It's a busy time, so I'll be posting up stuff as it happens!